Cloud computing is being adopted at such a rapid pace that it is quickly becoming the preferred method for resource sharing, replacing the traditional server/client method. It provides on-demand network access to a shared pool of computing resources such as storage, servers, networks and other related services. According to a recent survey conducted by Equinix, an overwhelming majority of 659 global respondents (77%) plan to deploy a cloud environment by 2015 and 91% of new such offerings will be deployed in organizations over the coming year as well. Globally speaking, 7% said they are expecting cloud deployments at their organizations within the next three months. This supports the trend that these strategies are becoming an integral part of an organization’s IT investments.
Let us look at some key benefits of migrating to cloud and the key success factors that help organizations seamlessly adopt this trending technology.
Advantages of Migrating to the Cloud
The first and the most important advantage of using cloud computing is the extent to which it reduces the overall IT capital expenditures of an organization. A single provider is responsible for providing almost all the IT related services that organizations require – from managing the hardware installation to installing software, upgrading software, security, backup and data storage. As a result, organization’s IT efficiency is significantly improved as the purchase, maintenance and management of physical infrastructure and other associated services is managed by an external expert.
To avail maximum returns from investments, organizations need to plan and evaluate different cloud deployment scenarios. Begin your planning with a phase-wise migration strategy, starting with the apps that are good candidates for deployment. New tools must also be deployed to monitor the performance of deployed apps. An essential step in the process is also to select the right cloud model, which suits your business needs. Below are four common deployment models to select from:
Selecting the Right Deployment Model
1. Public Cloud
This model is publically available and is owned by a third party cloud service provider (CSP). In this model, an agency provisions computing resources over the Internet from the CSP who shares the resources with other organizations. This is the most cost-effective deployment model and gives organizations the flexibility to procure only those computing resources they need.
2. Private Cloud
With a private cloud, the CSP dedicates specific services and the computing resources to a single agency. An organization that requires dedicated access to cloud resources need to select this model.
3. Community Cloud
This model is procured jointly by several organizations or agencies. The CSP or the agencies manage the community cloud and can keep it off-premises or on-premises. When the organizations have the same set of requirements,, they can combine their assets and share computing resources, thereby saving money and allocating their resources more efficiently.
4. Hybrid Cloud
This model is comprised of two or more different cloud models (public, private or community) with a combination of both externally and internally hosted services. Organizations use the hybrid model to incorporate different and overlapping services to meet their business requirements.
- Finding the Right Framework
Architectural framework designed using the right migration transformation strategy helps ensure a successful deployment. Some key factors to keep in mind while forming the right framework are:
- The right cloud model that is best suited for your organization
- Supporting technology platforms
- Budget for managing and monitoring the deployment
- Responsive and efficient cloud vendors and service partners
- Keenness to migrate from CAPEX (Capital Expenditure) to OPEX (Operational Expenditure) model, i.e. moving into a pay-as-you-go model and willingness of an organization to allocate budget for cloud investments
- Choosing the Right Service Model
Cloud employs three different service models: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Organizations must decide which model best meets their needs. Below are descriptions of each type of service model.
1) Software as a Service, SaaS
In this service model, the associated data and software are hosted in the cloud environment by a third party, similar to a CSP. The organization itself does not buy the software; instead, the CSP licenses the SaaS to the organization, which then enables multiple users within the organization to access the software.
2) Platform as a Service, PaaS
In this service model, the CSP provides an online software development platform for the organization. The developers of this organization then use the CSP’s computing tools to create, manage and host software applications. By moving the development platform to the CSP, organizations can reduce their development cost for application software.
3) Infrastructure as a Service, IaaS
In this service model, the CSP provides all the necessary software and hardware to help organizations build customized computing environment. The CSP provides an unmanaged environment to the organization and the organization can have any resources it needs installed: software bundles, operating systems etc. However, the CSP is responsible for maintenance of all the physical equipment.
- Considering Prospects of Future Growth
While choosing a deployment strategy, an organization must consider its growth plan for next 4-5 years. Proper assessment for determining flexibility and scalability requirements should be performed and an evaluation on the current infrastructure’s capacity to support these requirements must be done simultaneously.
- Choosing the Right Application for Cloud Deployment
It is important to evaluate the application and the systems that make logical sense for moving from current services to the cloud. Some of the systems and apps are complex and their deployment may require rewriting the apps or re-architecting the system. For example, a system that demands high security is not a good candidate for deployment on a public cloud.
- Creating SLA Equally Convenient to both sides
Service Level Agreements (SLA) are necessary and important to negotiate and finalize by both the parties. Various SLA parameters are considered between the consumer and the provider and simulations of cloud infrastructures and services are performed to ensure the proposed model is effective.
- Calculating Economic Benefits from Deployment
The key advantage of cloud deployment is cost efficiency. To evaluate the cost savings, correct calculations using indicators like Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and Return on Investment (ROI) must be done using right tools.
These key factors can help an organization set up the right cloud service, ensure a successful deployment, and obtain maximum value from their technology investment.