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Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Making cloud computing work for you

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Cloud computing promises unlimited capacity at a very low cost as well as infrastructure that is managed by a highly dedicated staff, and even the technical challenges that surrounded compliance and security are not suspect any longer – so why not put absolutely everything in the cloud?

Of course, there is a lot more to cloud hosting than just tossing out your existing plan and then solving all of your problems by bringing in a “magic cloud.”  After all, some apps might benefit more from a private cloud or in some cases from no cloud whatsoever.  The best fit environment for a number of apps is not always the same throughout the whole of its lifespan either, which makes the question of precisely what someone should put in the cloud that much more complicated.

The success of cloud computing comes down to strategy.  If your only success metric is cutting the cost of your IT budget but the rest of your team are all worried about what’s happening, perhaps the cloud is not the best place for you after all.  Just swapping the old infrastructure for new is not the way to reap the benefits of cloud computing, and nor is trying to use the old way of thinking to manage that new infrastructure.

If, on the other hand, you have a strategy that involves a reduction of the cost of managing your IT infrastructure and taking on the project with the intention of changing your way of thinking, then cloud might just be the right fit for you.

A strategy to make the cloud work with your existing infrastructure is not the only thing you need.  You will also require a strategy for each workload or application that you are evaluating.  One of the most popular strategies when it comes to the optimisation of the cloud is to cast your eye over specific workloads and applications in order to work out which placement will be able to assist with achieving the highest ROI at any one particular moment.

An application has a dynamic life cycle.  At the start, when the application is brand new and not as well understood, educated guesses can be taken as to the kind of storage memory and bandwidth it will require, but new workloads can behave in unexpected ways, which is why the cloud is so perfect for them, as it is low risk.

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