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I’ve had a lot of conversations this past year with clients who have wanted to deploy new or move existing workloads into the cloud.
Asking a few fundamental questions about the application’s operational requirements can turn a simple case of deploying code and data to a cloud environment into something rather more complex.
For example, one client wanted to keep legacy data storage costs to a minimum, but was concerned about potential data access costs. Another wanted to move an application with lots of complex, time-dependent and business-critical interfaces. Yet another was looking for some very stringent service-level agreements (SLAs) from their provider.
While a cloud solution can accommodate each of these examples, a different approach was needed in each case. A lower cost for data storage and access could be achieved by deploying to a cloud which was not the client’s de facto choice. Complex interfaces could be accommodated through IBM Bluemix Private Cloud Local. Stringent SLAs could be addressed using a managed cloud service, such as IBM Cloud Managed Services. Each of these cases highlighted a need to be flexible and that hybrid cloud is a reality for many organizations.
These examples were single applications and environments, where fast decisions were not needed. They allowed for a short comparison study to be carried out, but there are companies that need make fast, daily cloud hosting decisions on a large scale. In those cases, some form of intelligent automation is a must, and organizations look to cloud brokerage tools.
The IBM Cloud Matrix is sophisticated brokerage software that enables organizations to gain insight into where their workloads would best be placed. Cloud Matrix will take the required characteristics of a given system and use cognitive processes to determine a score for each proposed hosting environment, be it a traditional data center, a private cloud or a public provider, including IBM Cloud, AWS and Azure among others.
Cloud Matrix can use an organization’s cloud pricing model, too, to ensure that results match up to the correct pricing. Scores for hosting the desired workload in each provider’s environment are presented, and the organization can then make an informed decision based on suitability for the workload’s requirements, along with the costs of building and running the environment in a vendor’s cloud. The report can be repeated as needed.
For organizations that run particularly cost-sensitive workloads, brokerage tools backed with automated orchestration can enable fast movement between providers to ensure that the lowest hosting cost is maintained. This use case highlights the need for open standards in cloud, too.
Determining the right run-time environment for a given workload is important if deployment to the cloud is going to be a success. Find out more about brokerage and IBM Cloud Matrix or contact us to arrange a meeting with an IBM Cloud Advisor.