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A successful journey to the cloud starts with asking the right questions
By: Allwyn Sequeira
Mar. 29, 2017 12:45 PM
Four Questions to Ask When It's Time to Modernize Your Data Center
Cloud computing is here to stay. The agility and scalability of the cloud model - as well as its ability to transform up-front capital expenditures into flexible operating expenditures - are too compelling to ignore. For CIOs in organizations of all sizes, the question is no longer whether to take advantage of the cloud ... but how. Unfortunately, that question isn't as easy to answer as it might sound.
Not all cloud providers are created equal. Different vendors offer different features, terms and service levels. And once you engage with one vendor, it can be difficult to change your mind down the road - even if that vendor's offering doesn't fully mesh with your existing IT practices and policies.
While navigating the cloud marketplace can be a challenge, you can successfully formulate your strategy by weighing your options as a successful journey to the cloud starts with asking the right questions.
Here are just a few that should be top-of-mind:
1. How well will your cloud services integrate with your on-premises IT?
This means that a cloud strategy really means a hybrid cloud strategy, where the IT services portfolio comprises a mix of cloud-based and on-premises assets. When choosing a cloud vendor, it's important to consider how well the vendor handles this scenario. Will the applications that are suited to the cloud transition seamlessly, or will they require re-engineering to operate in the cloud environment?
2. Will the cloud support your existing IT practices?
What's more, over-reliance on such proprietary features can lead to vendor lock-in, because the features on one cloud seldom translate exactly to similar features on another cloud. That's doubly bad when you consider that using more than one cloud vendor is increasingly becoming an industry best practice. Consider carefully whether you can afford to have your applications anchored to a single vendor's offering.
3. Does the cloud support true failover?
If your disaster recovery solution requires your IT staff to switch to an unfamiliar set of tools and to support an unfamiliar, proprietary architecture in the event of an incident, you can't have 100 percent assurance. Ideally when disaster strikes, you should be able to quickly spin up a true clone of your infrastructure in the cloud. Not every cloud provider supports this.
4. Does the cloud meet your security requirements?
Ideally, your cloud vendor should offer an environment that supports security policies that are consistent with those you have implemented in your own data center. There should be no double standard; a cloud environment that increases flexibility, but puts the applications running on it at risk, is not an acceptable trade-off.
Plan your journey
Still, choosing a cloud provider needn't be a daunting task. If you approach the market with an eye to your business objectives and how the cloud fits into your existing practices and policies, you can proceed with confidence knowing you've done your homework. You have a wealth of options, so choose wisely.
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Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS - software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
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