January 17, 2020 By IBM Cloud Team 3 min read

Potential cloud providers should be able to meet the highest levels of “enterprise grade” deliverables and SLAs.

The concept of “enterprise grade” infrastructure is subject to some level of interpretation. What you may consider to be enterprise grade for your web applications may differ from what you would demand for your ERP, CRM, OLTP, finance, or other business critical applications.

Understanding what “enterprise grade” means for your critical applications in the cloud era is essential. In today’s environment, many IT and business leaders are striving to modernize their mission critical applications and move them to the cloud.

This cloud migration can bring huge business advantages—lower costs, an OpEx pricing model, improved agility, simpler scalability, self-service capabilities, accelerated development cycles, enhanced customer experiences, and many more.

But those advantages shouldn’t come at the expense of the characteristics and capabilities that business leaders and customers expect and demand from their enterprise applications. A single data breach or downtime event can have a devastating impact on the overall business.

Therefore, in migrating mission critical applications to the cloud, IT teams must make sure that potential cloud providers are able to meet the highest levels of “enterprise grade” deliverables and SLAs for reliability, security, performance, consistency, user experience, and high availability.

Where do you start in evaluating what you need from your mission critical cloud provider? One obvious starting point is in migrating your VMware environment to the cloud. VMware hosts a large percentage of on-premises mission critical workloads as the primary virtualization platform for SAP, Oracle, and other enterprise applications.

How and where you migrate VMware to the cloud is critical in maintaining enterprise grade capabilities. Not all cloud providers can deliver on the true promise of enterprise grade for VMware-hosted applications, including a high degree of availability or zero data loss in the event of a full site failure.

Key capabilities to seek from your cloud provider for mission critical VMware environments

1. Hardened design and enterprise grade performance.

This should be based on the requirements of global enterprises. Global enterprises have specific needs for performance, security, data sovereignty, reliability, and geo-fencing wherever they do business. You want a cloud provider that offers isolation from the public internet as well as data centers across the globe running on trusted servers and infrastructure.

2. Visibility, control, and operational consistency.

You should demand the same levels of capabilities and confidence in the cloud as you would expect from your on-premises VMware environment. As you migrate to the cloud, you want to be able to use and access the same tools and technologies you use on-premises, including root-level access at the hypervisor level for maximum control and visibility.

3. High availability and business continuity.

Your cloud provider should provide a high degree of uptime availability at the VM level, plus the ability to use stretched vSAN clusters to ensure that data loss is reduced to zero in the event of a full site failure. You should also seek site resiliency across multiple locations, including automated failover at a secondary site.

4. Security leadership.

In addition to a hardened, enterprise grade design, you should look for critical security features to prevent breaches, whether malicious or unintentional. For example, encryption is critical, so you want the highest level of key management encryption with FIPS 140-2 Level 4 and bring-your-own keys. You also want role-based access control to prevent accidental or malicious IT configuration changes.

5. Modernization capabilities.

You want to bring cloud native capabilities to your enterprise applications; otherwise, why go through the time and expense of migrating them to the cloud? With the right solution, you should be able to leverage VMs as well as containers and microservices to accelerate development cycles in building new applications or modernizing mission critical legacy applications.

6. Seamless integration, automation, and management.

You want to use the same tools, technologies, knowledge, and experience in the cloud as you have in your on-premises environment. You’ve no doubt heard the expression “cloud changes everything.” But, in reality, that does not have to be the case. When you are talking about enterprise grade capabilities, you don’t necessarily want to change everything—you want to leverage what you have without sacrificing security, resiliency, availability, or anything else in migrating to the cloud.

Conclusion

In some ways, there has always been some level of compromise between the goals of the overall business and IT. But, when it comes to certain capabilities, there can be no compromise, particularly in today’s environment wherein digital transformation, speed, big data, intelligence, and other factors are driving competitive differentiation and disruption.

As you begin or continue migrating your VM environments and mission critical applications to the cloud, you must ensure that the enterprise grade capabilities you have built through the years are enhanced and improved. This means choosing a cloud provider that truly understands the enterprise and has built a cloud that is hardened, secure, flexible, and designed to meet the specific needs of enterprise grade VMware migrations.

Learn more about IBM solutions, backed by requirements of global enterprises, to support your VMware migration needs.

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