Cloud computing offers many advantages, yet businesses contemplating migrating must be aware of the many pitfalls involved. An industry expert details five essential points to ponder as you make the switch.
by Paul Carmody of Internap
The cloud is an increasingly viable infrastructure deployment option for enterprises, but is it the right choice for all of your applications? Before you take the plunge, you need to realize there are fundamental differences between available cloud offerings, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
To determine which model is right for you, you’ll need to evaluate your needs carefully. As you go through this process, consider the top five mistakes today’s organizations are making in cloud adoption, and how to avoid them:
Mistake No. 1: Leaping before you look - CIOs are under pressure from business to speed time-to-market of business critical applications, while simultaneously being squeezed to accomplish this with smaller staffs and shrinking budgets. The lure of the cloud is tempting, but rather than rush in, it is in your best interest to begin with a thorough audit of your IT needs to determine whether a cloud solution will truly help you meet your business goals.
Remember, the cloud is a means to an end, not the end in itself. You don’t want to throw an application into the cloud and not get the performance and cost improvement you are looking for. Moreover, not all clouds are created equal: Public clouds solve different problems than private clouds. Clouds based on open-source hypervisors may have fewer/different features than their VMware-based cousins.
Here are some considerations to keep in mind:
- Can the cloud deliver my applications with acceptable performance? Clouds abstract two key elements of performance -- hardware specifications and network performance. Therefore, it is not possible to prescribe certain levels of performance based on choosing hardware and network elements. Consequently, you need to gather empirical data on cloud performance by testing the provider you have in mind.
- Do I have any compliance considerations that restrict my ability to use shared infrastructure? Certain compliance regimes make it difficult to run an application in the cloud. For example, the PCI-DSS standards for credit card processing are explicit that firewalls must be used for security. Will your auditor permit the firewall to be cloud-based?
- Will the cloud meet my availability requirements? As with performance characteristics, cloud availability is an empirical attribute. Cloud providers offer service level agreements (SLA), but they often do not disclose how their clouds are architected. Therefore, it may be difficult for potential customers to calculate likely availability. In contrast, with dedicated environments, it is possible to specify redundancy at various levels of infrastructure to achieve the availability required.
Mistake No. 2: Thinking that you have found the one - Choosing a cloud provider is not like marriage: You may want to have the opportunity to change providers later on. Thus, it is very important to consider how you intend to manage your cloud infrastructure, and establish a Plan B based on this information. Will you use application programming interfaces (APIs) to manage your cloud infrastructure? If so, will the APIs you use be proprietary to the provider or are they common across multiple providers?
Read the rest about migrating to the cloud at CIOUpdate.