The benefits of cloud computing are crystal clear: The cloud allows companies to flexibly meet business demands; increase efficiency; quickly deal with disaster recovery; and provide 24/7 access to data and applications.
While CIOs and IT leaders see the benefits of the cloud, many still have reservations, particularly from an emotional perspective around infrastructure ownership. After all, there is a perceived notion that you give up a level of control with the cloud, which remains a struggle for many traditional companies.
But times are changing. A company might not use the cloud for every aspect of its business. Nor will it have every application and workload in a single cloud. Perhaps some applications will be delivered via software-as-a-service (SaaS), while others will be housed in a public cloud or private cloud. There will be a variety of working parts and disparate pieces that will have to ultimately come together for the business.
IT departments need to become comfortable with these shifts in order to leverage the significant capabilities of the cloud for their businesses’ benefit. One important step is to make the right decisions about where the elements of your applications and infrastructure belong in the cloud and how to integrate all areas together from a multitude of different locations.
There are two main factors to consider in order to determine which aspects of your infrastructure go where in the cloud:
You can determine the cost of investing in the cloud by first considering what applications and infrastructure you’d like to target and then mapping the data flow of those pieces throughout the business. Ask these questions: What skill sets and hidden costs are required to maintain the data flow of these targeted systems for the entire business? What are the performance requirements? What security and compliance measures are needed to support the applications or data? Have any large investments been made toward internal infrastructure that should be considered? This will ensure you target applications and infrastructure with a successful outcome toward the cost objective.
The other issue to delve into is which applications and infrastructure require on-demand expandability. The cloud can create flexibility and lay the foundation for your applications and infrastructure to grow and shrink dynamically. Additionally, you may have applications that you don’t want to handle the myriad of infrastructure maintenance and update requirements for on your own. For those, outsourcing into the cloud can be the perfect solution.
Ready to get started in the cloud? Here are three steps we recommend as you explore the possibilities:
- Determine the scope. Trying to take off too big a project bite is a mistake. Instead, define a scope to gain a win. Once you can see a level of success, you can move forward. It could be as simple as outsourcing a single application or infrastructure function. Whatever you decide here, make sure you define a rigid scope for success. Don’t expand beyond it.
- Evaluate the level of control you do need. Are you truly concerned about security, or is it more of an emotional attachment to your applications and infrastructure? The bottom line is that the culture in your business must evolve to treat the issue of control differently.
- Start mapping. Create a map of the data flow through your applications so you can visualize and identify where dependencies exist. What applications need to consume data from other applications? This way, you won’t be surprised when something is moved outside the organization to a cloud model. Processes will stay intact as data moves with the application.
Adapt to the Cloud with Clear Wins
As digital business has moved front and center, IT leaders have had to adapt to the new realities of the cloud. That doesn’t mean you have to go beyond your comfort level. By limiting your project scope to get clear wins under your belt, as well as examining what aspects of your infrastructure should go into the cloud to reduce costs and increase flexibility, you can leverage today’s exciting and evolving cloud capabilities.