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10 steps to understanding your IT before moving to cloud

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Cloud may not be perfect for everything, but it certainly is applicable for everyone in various ways. I would like to start by saying that most businesses will move away from on premises in the future. Not all workloads from your business fit the cloud, but most companies can and should adopt cloud somehow.

After all, what is cloud?

Bluemix and hybrid cloudWell, there are many different definitions of cloud, and I like to say that cloud is not only virtualization. Cloud is about efficiency, economy, scalability, elasticity and doing things faster and better.

You don’t want to wait for a hardware capital expenditure (CAPEX) process. You don’t want to buy a huge server if you don’t need it now. You don’t need to have available hardware since you just need extra processing maybe two or three time in a year.

This is cloud! Now that the definition is clearer, let’s explore the following models through which it can be deployed:

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS): IaaS is the delivery of components such as hardware, software, data center space, networking and storage.

Platform as a service (PaaS): PaaS is a combination of IaaS and a set of middleware, software development and deployment tools that allow the company to create, develop and deploy on a cloud up to speed.

Software as a service (SaaS): SaaS is a business application created and hosted by a service provider. In this model, users do not have any action on the environment and the vendor or service provider takes care of the entire infrastructure and also the application.

Although the subject of this blog post is about moving to cloud, I would prefer saying that cloud is not only a movement but also a transformation. For successful cloud adoption, you first need to deeply understand your IT environment by identifying those workloads that will best fit your target cloud environment while also giving you a consistent return on your investment.

Where do you start?

1. Business impact. I would not start with an application that is mission critical for my business. If you are from a retail segment, do not put your e-commerce first; get more experience before moving that workload. Try moving the less critical applications like email servers, intranets, departmental applications and more.

2. Production versus development and test. Consider your less critical development and test environment first, but also consider your production. A good best practice is to have your test environment use the same configuration and infrastructure that your production uses.

3. Performance matters. Do not consider environments that have extensive data processing or applications that are very performance sensitive. Issues with application response time can cause your clients to close your application and move to a competitor.

4. Complexity. Complex architecture systems with several points of integration between applications are also not a good fit.

5. Licensing. Make sure to analyze your software vendor’s cloud model and see if it would be costly to change from a dedicated model.

6. Service level agreements. If your service level agreement (SLA) is very challenging, maybe your cloud vendor does not support it.

7. Security. Validate if the cloud vendor supports any regulations or security constraints required from your business.

8. Platform. Running a platform other than Intel? Maybe you can work with a few vendors for that. Also, verify the operating system version required for your application.

9. Data hosting. Depending on your country, you are not allowed to host your data outside your country. Make sure your vendor has a cloud data center nearby.

10. Prepare. Is your application prepared for cloud or do you need to transform it? Depending on your situation, transforming a Delphi application into a web-based application can take several months and be very costly.

Cloud can be simple, but it is not always a piece of cake. There are several points that should be considered before moving to it. Do not worry; vendors are getting better and better at meeting your needs. A support constraint can potentially be fixed in a few months and change things.

Are you ready to transform your IT? Do not be the last one! Comment below or connect with me on Twitter @ReynaldoMincov to let me know what you think.

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