Cloud computing and IT security remain at the top of the list of key 2015-16 trends identified as top-of-mind by IT decision-makers in Peak 10’s annual U.S. market survey.
The cloud is key to future IT strategies
IT directors overwhelmingly cited the cloud as #1 when asked what their priorities for products and services will be over the coming 12-18 months. The reasons were varied, but expectations for lower costs were high among them. Also, the federal cloud-first mandate is becoming the default preference unless a compelling case can be made for in-house workload deployments.
As one IT manager said “[we will be looking for] any cloud-based service that can be purchased and implemented for a lower TCO over five years compared to purchasing and hosting in-house.”
IT leaders are realizing that many cloud options can increase agility and flexibility. However, cost factors and price ranges must be carefully weighed.
Security was mentioned hand-in-hand with cloud, a concern among all IT professionals — present and future — regardless of where data resides or how it’s transmitted. In 2014 many organizations and citizens were left dazed from a record-setting number of data breaches, including many high-profile hacks such as Target, JPMorgan, Apple, the U.S. State Department and NOAA. For CIOs, security and compliance with regulations are everyday concerns that directly impact their organizations and constituencies, especially for those in healthcare, finance and other heavily regulated industries.
Where does one get started when it comes to the cloud? Speaking at a recent Peak 10-sponsored webinar, Cisco vice president of business development Kunjal Trivedi, advised that “… a good first step is to consult with your current cloud service provider (CSP). Have your CSP run an assessment of your applications to determine which are cloud-ready. Start with something you are comfortable with… [which will] open the path for mission-critical applications and production workloads to run in [a cloud] environment.”
If you don’t have a CSP or are considering changing providers, consult the Gartner 2014 Magic Quadrant for Cloud-enabled Managed Hosting Report, North America. Published annually, the report provides an evaluation of service providers on ‘ability to execute’ and ‘completeness of vision,’ and provides a visual glimpse into the competitive positioning of various providers in the cloud hosting market.
Ronnie Frames, Vice President of Infrastructure at Peak 10, says that you should consider the following when assessing whether an application is ready for the cloud:
- If it’s a non-virtualized legacy application, spend additional time validating. It may be that it cannot be serviced in the cloud without significant re-architecting.
- An under-performing application will work no better in the cloud. Assess the performance before deploying so that the SLA is properly defined, and you can achieve the cost savings you are expecting.
- Applications must be designed to scale out for elasticity and in for cost savings.
- Applications should be designed for resilience in order to anticipate and proactively head off or manage failures effectively in the cloud.
- Application security is enhanced when it is written into the application itself and can be monitored.
By 2017 we expect the cloud will still weigh on the minds of IT decision-makers, with disaster recovery gaining ground. Emphasis will shift to leveraging the cloud to drive strategic business value and designing hybrid cloud architectures, rather than when and which workloads will be migrated. By the same token, we expect that security will be as topical and challenging as ever, although at a much more technologically sophisticated level of engagement than it is today. Time will tell.
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