By Darryl Vinson, Senior Consultant
Virtualize as many systems as you can. Flexibility is the key to success when moving to any cloud environment. As you virtualize systems, it will give your organization the flexibility to migrate application environments to both Private clouds and Public clouds. This is also a great test for systems that cannot be migrated to the cloud; if the environment cannot perform virtually, the likelihood that it would perform successfully in a cloud environment is very low.
2. Application Delivery Network
An Application Delivery Network (ADN) is a suite of technologies that, when deployed, provide application availability and security by combining WAN optimization controllers and application delivery controllers. This acts as an advanced load balancer, which allows your users to reach their applications whether they are in-house or being hosted by a public cloud partner.
By standardizing configurations, services, and procedures, your company can automate its local and remote virtual environments. Standard configurations and procedures also allow for quick environment deployments and virtual workloads. With valid standards in place, a user could make a request for a SQL test server and have that request fulfilled within 24 hours. This will also allow your organization to record the charge-back to the business unit at the same time.
4. User Environment Ease-of-Use
If your users have a hard time accessing resources it could cause frustration and confusion, ultimately taking away from the value you originally wanted to provide with a cloud solution. Make sure you have a mechanism for your users to request cloud services. Self-service portals are a great way to empower your users with the ability to deploy or request cloud services.
Automation can make or break your cloud computing environments. By moving resources to the cloud, you have taken the first steps in virtualization - but if you do not plan for automation you have just created an environment that is only 10% of what it could be. By automating your cloud environment, you will achieve the following:
- Cloud provisioning
- Capacity management
- Change tracking
- Workload management
- Reduced support cost
- Automated accounting of resources and billback processes
6. Resource Monitoring
By monitoring your cloud environment you will be able to control the performance of your resources, allowing you to provision those resources more effectively. This allows your IT organization to provide more powerful resources where they are needed.
7. Plan for Security and Compliance
Compliance and security in the cloud is basically the same as your traditional IT environment. As long as you follow the same compliance and security guidelines when moving to the cloud, and you find cloud providers that follow the same security principles, you will be successful. It is important to remember that most public cloud service providers that value their clients, also value security as a key success factor.
8. Backup and Disaster Recovery
As you’re building your cloud model, remember to include backup and disaster recovery strategies as well. While there is a level of backup or redundancy involved in most cloud deployments, be sure that the level matches your company’s current backup and retention policies.
A dynamic cloud environment is different than your traditional server environment. Therefore, it is crucial that you add training to any new deployment plans.
The last and most important takeaway is trust. Whether it is a vendor, service provider, colocation site or retailer, be sure to find partners that align with your business model and understand your needs, thus creating the ever critical trusting relationship.