November 22, 2014 | Written by: Bruno Diegues
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One of the most widely discussed topics in IT today is moving workloads to cloud. The process of deciding whether or when to migrate to the cloud can be daunting. In order to make the process easier for you, we have come up with five things that you should consider before you make your decision.
1. Private, public or hybrid?
One of the first things to decide when migrating to cloud is whether you will go private, public or hybrid.
On a private cloud, you will have a dedicated infrastructure for your business, managed either by your teams or third-party providers. Your organization will have its own dedicated hardware, running on your private network, and located on or off premises.
A public cloud provides its services over a network that is not your private one and it is available for others to use. Usually it is off-site and provides a pay-per-usage billing model that could result in a cheaper solution, once it efficiently shares resources over the various customers.
Hybrid cloud combines your private or traditional information technology (IT) with a public cloud. Usually it is used to scale up and down your infrastructure systems to meet demand needs for seasonal businesses, spikes or financial closings, or to handle the application apart from the data storage, such as setting up the application layer in a public environment (for example a software as a service) while storing sensitive information in a private one.
This post from Erik Anderson provides an easy way of understanding the different cloud types.
2. Current infrastructure utilization
This is definitely one of the things you want to evaluate when considering a move to cloud. In traditional IT, businesses usually purchase their hardware based on utilization spikes in order to avoid issues when these scenarios occur. By doing that, organizations may end up with underutilized equipment, which could result in a huge waste of money.
Taking a look at your performance and capacity reports can help you address these workloads on cloud and decide whether to release unused capacity for other workloads or simply move them over and avoid new investments. Why buy a race car if you only need to go 10 miles per hour?
3. Compatible operational system
Clouds are all about standards, and you need to keep versions of your operating systems and middleware up to date when you aim to migrate them to a cloud provider.
You need to take into consideration that cloud service providers (CSPs) do not support end-of-life operating systems or those that are being phased out. The same likely applies to your middleware and databases.
4. Infrastructure availability
When choosing a CSP, you need to check if the infrastructure is ready for your workloads. Most clouds use open standards for backup and recovery and other infrastructure services. Tools used there may not support online backup of your database or middleware software, or your advanced monitoring functions.
Also, cloud data center location is an important thing to take into consideration. If you have some data location restrictions, or if most of your users reside in a specific country or geographical region, there are CSPs like IBM SoftLayer that can provide a presence where others might not. Make sure the proposed availability service level agreements (SLAs) meet your business requirements.
5. Backup policies and disaster recovery
How are your backup policies running today? Do they fit with your cloud provider? This is also an important point that organizations have to carefully consider. Cloud providers can have standard backup policies with some level of customization. It is worth it to have a look at those and see if they are suitable for your company before they become a potential roadblock. You’ll want to pay attention to retention frequency, backup type (such as full, incremental and so on) and versioning.
Disaster recovery and business continuity are important even for the smallest companies. Recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) are important values that define how much data you are willing to lose and what amount of time you are willing to allow for the data to be restored.
CSPs may have different RTO and RPO considerations than what you have in your current managed services provider or on-premises environment. That’s a thing worth noting and checking into, before you end up in a situation where your recovery from backup isn’t sufficient to ensure your company business continuity.
Hopefully this post will help you make decisions about your cloud migration. Do you have other considerations or thoughts to add? Share them below or reach out to us on Twitter @_BrunoDiegues and @MichalNasiadka.