Traversing the Journey

Moving to a cloud is a journey and at each juncture there are questions to ask and critical decisions to be made. The chosen path will depend on organizational needs and goals, customer expectations, and industry demands.

Step 1: Investigation

Is your organization gathering information to determine if and how to get started with cloud?

For an in-depth understanding of cloud computing, a shared learning experience for the executive staff and IT team is a useful beginning as moving to a cloud environment is a strategic decision and the business brains and the tech brains need to start from the same set of information.

Step 2: Experimentation

Many companies start with a pilot project in a public cloud, to explore the benefits without making a capital investment. Whatever you choose, the first step should be to create a strategic plan for using cloud computing since the
options are varied, careful planning at the front end can pay off in cost savings, and efficiency down the road. A good place to start for creating a strategic plan is a thorough assessment of your current environment.

Cloud assessments provide CIOs with a customized roadmap reviewing business, operational and IT objectives, and can help businesses decide which applications can move into the cloud, and which cloud platforms are most suitable.

Every business requires a unique implementation plan but there are 3 main considerations.

  • Security and compliance requirements of the business
  • Is an environment that responds rapidly to fluctuating workloads required?
  • Are on-demand features that deliver resources to end users quickly essential to the business?

The IT assessment examines which model best fits the businesse needs and aids in personalizing the IT strategy. One way to conduct a thorough assessment is to use a consultant, do a detailed review of application workloads, dependencies, and all related infrastructure and operations, as well as a customized plan for moving to the cloud.

Step 3: Adoption

Once the business needs have been assessed, there are 3 types of cloud service models to chosen from. SaaS, the most widely known and most mature type of cloud service can be used if the daily business operations depend on large custom applications where the infrastructure needs to be purchased and then routinely maintained.

PaaS, a software development and hosting environment enable businesses to free up their IT staff to innovate on demand, without the complication and expense of acquiring the required hardware and software on-site. Finally IaaS offers flexibility and reliability with virtually no up-front investment.

Evolutionary or Revolutionary

There are 2 different approaches when planning to migrate to the cloudthe revolutionary approach and the evolutionary approach. The revolutionary approach makes use of new world applications written and deployed in the cloud. These applications are designed from the ground up for greater scalability and used across a multitude of servers, providing an efficient and responsive end-user experience. Three factors in favour of revolutionary route are:

  • If there is no legacy infrastructure in place
  • If the business needs to support scalable cloud web 2.0 applications
  • If the requirement to build such a scale that resiliency and availability are architected into software rather than handled by physical infrastructure

The evolutionary approach is a much slower adoption of cloud computing. For many businesses, building a private cloud is simply the next step on the evolutionary path, which began with data center consolidation. If the business has a large virtualized environment and is working with traditional applications, an evolutionary approach to cloud computing makes perfect sense. With this approach, a company gradually builds its private cloud by layering capabilities such as automated provisioning, usage based billing, resource pooling, and a self-service portal on top of virtualized infrastructure as it adapts processes and policies to the new model.

Once the model is chosen, how to decide which applications can be successfully deployed in the cloud? This can be addressed using consultancy services but for businesses that have already deployed cloud services, determining which applications to place into public, private or hybrid clouds, requires careful consideration.

Applications in the Cloud

Private clouds are best suited for those concerned about privacy, security, and management implications while public clouds require no capital investment, enabling agility, and efficiency with vast scale. Pay-as-you-go solutions give businesses the flexibility and affordability that IT departments require in this changing landscape.

A hybrid cloud is useful if extra processing capacity is required or if businesses have periodic spikes in demand. The private cloud can reallocate resources to the public cloud, aiding slow systems, and preventing bottlenecks. The hybrid model allows businesses to maintain considerable control over security and gives the option to move into the public space as and when the resource capacity is needed.

Cloud computing is a service that needs careful consideration but with a good strategy in place, there are multiple benefits. Cloud services enable customers to access ready-to-use software, hardware, and infrastructure quickly and cheaply and with careful planning its possible to create a customized solution. Itll be worth it to have a successful and future proof implementation that will take your company into the cloud.

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