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June 8, 2017: IEEE Computing Now
Many organizations are bursting at the seams with data and don't really know how to manage it all. Sure, you can join the trend of moving all your workloads to the cloud, but is your business ready for that? Do you move every single asset to the cloud? Before you do anything, let's take a step-by-step look at how to navigate the big service in the sky sans turbulence.
Many organizations are moving to the cloud because it's trendy; their decision is not based on true economics or metrics. They have the tools to move to the cloud, but many of them don't have a clue what they have in their data center. Gaining visibility or accounting for every single workload and how it's allocated can be very valuable when migrating data to the cloud. So, it's a good idea to first make a checklist of what you have, and then you can better assess what needs to move to the cloud and what doesn't.
Another best practice of cloud migration is to compare and contrast the cost of keeping your data within your existing infrastructure versus storing it in the cloud. Having visibility into your data centers can also help you keep track of how many servers you actually have. Some companies don't even realize how many servers they are using, which can cause their monthly bill to jump from $500 to $50,000.
Once companies have visibility into the costs, infrastructure, technology, and operational aspects of their enterprise workloads, they can start exploring what needs to be optimized and how and what should be relocated to the cloud.
While it is critical to have a cloud strategy, make sure it is scalable and flexible due to the nature of changing and growing data needs.
Keep in mind that not every enterprise workload is right for the cloud. Enterprise IT teams must balance performance, compliance, interoperability, and compatibility to decide which applications or workloads make sense in the cloud.
Once you have the basics down – visibility, base lining and benchmarking – then you can start looking at how to migrate to the cloud. If you just move everything to Amazon AWSc, for example, you're just moving all your workloads from one location to another. That isn't efficient. The most advanced and efficient way to move to the cloud is to start looking at application-specific workloads and determine whether they can be 'cloudified.'
These include customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP), back office operations. Email is a perfect example of an application that should be moved to the cloud – for about $5 a month for each employee, a company can move its email server to the cloud, as opposed to running costly servers in-house. Salesforce is a perfect example for outsourcing CRM capabilities per user per month. Moving these functions to the cloud enables the CTO and CFO to be on the same page in terms of the cost per employee per month. However, moving internally developed applications or customer-facing products to the cloud without careful evaluation can cause massive disruption to business continuity as well as loss in revenue.
As companies assess their IT environment and determine which workloads they should move to the cloud, they also need to consider the capabilities of their cloud provider. For example, having a comprehensive Data Center Management (DCM) platform allows these same companies to procure, deploy, monitor and measure their IT assets through a web browser. This enables them to retrieve the analytical data and metrics they need to make informed decisions and understand their cost savings. This is a holistic solution to understanding which workloads to move to the cloud.
Whichever cloud solution enterprises choose to use, remember that technology is ever changing. The best approach is to handle the change, understand it and keep it simple. It's all about going back to the basics – know where you are and define where you want to be, whether it's in the cloud or in-house.
Jad Jebara is president and CEO of Tuangru, a next-generation data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software provider. He previously served as senior vice president of finance and administration at Peer 1 Hosting (now Cogeco Peer 1), a hosting service provider where he was responsible for finance, supply chain and IT. For more information, please visit www.tuangru.com.
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