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Author: Bruce Younts, Director of Infrastructure Services

Are you overwhelmed with the hype around the cloud, or frustrated that vendors keep pushing your business to the cloud when you aren’t ready?  I have been a skeptic as well, even as a consultant, of the value that the cloud can bring to some companies out there.

Lately, I’ve noticed some trends that have begun to change my perspective.These trends have mostly evolved around dealing with issues at customer sites tied to one or more of the following factors:

  • Aged hardware and slow refresh cycle.
  • Overload of resources and inability to expand quickly.
  • Complicated server, storage and network design causing issues when changes occur.
  • License challenges with the expanding core count on processors and how vendors license virtualized workloads.
  • Loss of data center expertise due to employee turnover. The resulting knowledge gaps lead to longer outages and costly downtime.

If you have dealt with any of these issues, you understand how this can impact your business and the revenue stream, especially when critical systems are involved.  If you are looking to solve any of these issues through a hardware investment of any type, you should consider putting cloud into the ring as an option. It’s important to weigh all the pros and cons to see impacts on timelines, scalability, security and performance.

When you start down your cloud journey, all of the unanswered questions can be overwhelming.

“How do I choose the right vendor? Do I just do a “lift and shift” on IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), or is it better to implement a PaaS (Platform as a Service) option?  How should I design my virtual network in the cloud and how do I make sure it is only visible to my company? How do I ensure it is secure?”

The answers to each of these will vary by the cloud provider and for your specific needs.

The best way to begin is to either dedicate a resource, or find a partner to work with to begin the following:

  • Put the focus on solving business problems and looking at the details of how to leverage different cloud technologies to provide the best solution for your business needs.
  • Ensure a review of your business challenges to discover the best place to start. Perhaps a proof of concept around a PaaS tool, or testing out a simple lift & shift on IaaS.
  • Review security implications of the cloud implementation, and take that into consideration when you are dedicating a resource for this work. Ask about their knowledge on inbound access, encryption, VPN and other security concerns.
  • Finally, put together a detailed strategy around moving to the cloud to ensure it is leveraged properly for your business.

Ultimately, your goal should be to have the cloud provide additional ways to enable your business to meet overall goals.

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