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ROI is the first question to answer when deciding if cloud computing is a good platform for your enterprise. Three others involve compliance, infrastructure, and a strong business case.
January 9, 2013
3 Min Read
I’m a big fan of cloud computing and always enjoy seeing it done right. This means good planning, a solid infrastructure, and a use-case that directly fits what the cloud can deliver.
Today, almost every organization that uses the Internet is utilizing some element of cloud computing. The differentiator is the cloud model and the extent to which that model is deployed. In my experience there are instances where a particular cloud platform is a great fit. On the other hand, some companies absolutely do not need this type of solution.
One of the most important first steps to take when you are deciding whether or not to adopt a cloud platform is to establish a solid use-case that can generate ROI. From there, you should look at the investment your company will need to make. In some cases, migrating to the cloud just won’t make sense. Here are three examples.
1. Compliance and regulations
Unless you are planning a very secure private cloud solution, many cloud computing platforms will leverage some element of a public Internet infrastructure. This might mean sharing bandwidth or utilizing a datacenter to host your solution.
Think twice about the cloud if you’re in an industry heavily monitored by compliance rules and regulations. Only a handful of enterprise datacenters are able to manage PCI compliance for organizations that use them as hosts. Also, PCI compliance may come at a high cost. Remember to always take regulations into account prior to committing to a cloud provider.
In some cases, the business plan is there, but the environment is not. A good cloud solution often means using pieces from storage, LAN/WAN, servers, virtualization, user control, and putting them all together. If some part isn’t there or something isn’t ready to handle this type of new load, there’s a good chance you’ll experience some performance degradation.
This situation is where analyzing ROI and the actual business investment is critical. Be sure to ask key questions like how much additional hardware will you need to buy and whether it actually makes sense to host infrastructure off site. What’s more, having infrastructure doesn’t only limit you to hardware. You also have to have the right people to support your cloud environment. This means employing engineers who are cloud-ready and managers who understand the vision of their cloud model.
3. Poor business-case
Developing a strong business case means identifying a set of challenges and finding a way to overcome problems with an intelligent piece of technology. Unfortunately, unexpected events can slow down the cloud migration process and cost companies a lot of money.
To avoid a cloud budget-buster, it’s important to develop a business-case that utilizes technology that will perform for current and future needs. That means that datacenter managers and architects have to consider how their business will evolve and be flexible and forward-thinking in developing a cloud strategy. For example, if administrators provision hardware that can’t support users after a year or so, it’s quite possible that the initial planning was flawed, and the results will be disastrous.
Like any technology, cloud computing starts with a well-conceived plan and an infrastructure that will endure. Processes like testing, maintenance, business continuity, and even personnel training are all very important to weigh when considering the pluses and minuses of migrating to the cloud. With the right model in place and a good infrastructure, the cloud can be a powerful platform to leverage. However, with the wrong mindset and a poorly planned deployment, a cloud model can quickly become a cash-drain.
This article originally appeared in The Transformed Datacenter on 1/9/2013.
About the Author(s)
Executive Vice President of Digital Solutions, Switch; Writer/Speaker
Bill Kleyman brings more than 15 years of experience to his role as Executive Vice President of Digital Solutions at Switch. Using the latest innovations, such as AI, machine learning, data center design, DevOps, cloud and advanced technologies, he delivers solutions to customers that help them achieve their business goals and remain competitive in their market. He was ranked #16 globally in the Onalytica study that reviewed the top 100 most influential individuals in the cloud landscape; and #4 in another Onalytica study that reviewed the industry's top Data Security Experts.
He enjoys writing, blogging and educating colleagues about everything related to technology. His published and referenced work can be found on WindowsITPro, Data Center Knowledge, InformationWeek, NetworkComputing, AFCOM, TechTarget, DarkReading, Forbes, CBS Interactive, Slashdot and more.
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