Are all applications good candidates for the cloud?

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While many companies are considering moving their applications to the cloud, there’s still hesitation in light of some of the following considerations:

  • Agility: The rapid, on demand provisioning of computer resources typically within minutes is attractive to companies thinking about cloud. The considerations might temper this agility as it can be affected by clumsy associated business processes such as an approvals, notifications, escalations and handovers process.
  • Scalability: Increasing and decreasing the resources that the business requires without impacting the current IT infrastructure is the essence of scalability. There is an adverse effect, however, if databases are not optimized in their utilization for a cloud environment (imagine a poorly built SQL query) or when servers reach the point of diminishing returns.
  • Costs: Growing your business without having to put up with the cost of additional investment in your IT infrastructure is often cited as the main driver for moving applications to the cloud, assuming these are ideal candidates. Things to be on the lookout for would be the level of integration between applications from different vendors or what versions of any systems are supported in a cloud environment as well as performance issues.
  • Compliance: The aspect of regulatory compliance is sometimes overlooked by organizations and service providers. These requirements such as the Sarbanes Oxley, HIPAA and others are to be enforced with strict security controls therefore great care has to be taken in evaluating vendors and service providers as to whether their technology, security policies, data handling and other aspects of the compliance adherence elements are in place.
  • Lock in: This is an additional risk factor that needs to be taken into account as any exit strategy will increase the cost. One needs to understand the vendors level of standardization and interoperability and how “Open” the technology is should a move to another provider be required. This will allow focus on why you really want to move to the cloud.
  • Security: Certainly and by far security has been at the forefront of the inhibiting factors for moving applications to the cloud. While non-sensitive data can be considered a good candidate for the cloud. Even if we were to use encryption techniques to secure the data, the additional CPU processing cost induced will have its impact felt. An organization’s most valuable asset is its data. Therefore every aspect pertaining to the information that is being considered for the cloud needs to be addressed. Primarily the impact of the data being compromised has to be evaluated.

Most typical applications would be those pertaining to testing and development where you can develop, test and deploy applications faster compared to an on premises infrastructure.

Applications requiring variable workloads which would require cloud computing to be called when application workloads are peaking and those requiring large amount of data to be processed.

This is by no means a one size fits all so before considering moving your applications to the cloud, ensure you have thoroughly evaluated the potential risks induced by the move and the provided capabilities.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my own.

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