David Richardson is a Senior Product Manager of Emerson Network Power’s Avocent business, where he manages the DSView 3 Data Center Management software product line.
Cloud computing can introduce new stress points that demand great robustness of the IT infrastructure.
In order to prepare, it’s important to first evaluate the viability of a cloud deployment and conduct a thoughtful cloud planning analysis. Once this legwork has been completed, cloud may be an excellent choice based on the problem you are trying to solve and the opportunity cost. For potential cloud adopters, I believe there are several key focus areas that must be accounted for as part of any effective cloud planning analysis. To narrow it down, network connectivity, security and infrastructure capability and capacity are three areas that will need to be assessed as part of a thorough analysis in preparation for the cloud.
Network connectivity and performance can be an issue in some regions of the world, and this issue should be considered as part of the planning and analysis conducted to determine if cloud is a viable and beneficial option. The notion of a cloud, or a utility based computing model, is that the heavy computing required to achieve a strategic goal is completed in the data center hosting the cloud infrastructure. If the users to be served using cloud struggle with poor or slow network connectivity, then tying users to a solution that may be network IO intensive may not be the best option. Those evaluating a cloud deployment should keep the end user in mind, and specifically the resources available to the user population to determine the viability of a cloud solution.
Also, security is always a concern for any IT project, cloud or otherwise. In my experience, I have not found a single instance of a security issue or breach that has been any different than the issues we all face in the non-cloud world. Again, responsible enterprises that engage in the process evaluation of cloud opportunities will need to evaluate internal as well as external security standards of a would-be partner or provider. Until the various councils develop additional standards for adoption, we have what we have regarding security.
Infrastructure capability and capacity must be assessed regardless of whether the project under consideration is a private, public or hybrid cloud implementation. Enterprises reviewing an opportunity to engage in private cloud should complete an infrastructure assessment across the entire data center operations and facilities space from the moment power enters the facility until the power reaches the server processor. Additional assessment and understanding the impact of the initiative on all environmental capacities is key, as well as being able to use this data to determine the costs associated with the initiative. It is also important to note that those engaged in such an assessment can obtain support for these types of assessments from their existing vendors, or third party firms that provide these assessment services.
For those firms interested in exploring public or hybrid model cloud initiatives, the homework entailed is a review of the cloud vendor’s infrastructure capabilities as well as a review of the internal infrastructure to ensure security and performance levels are adequate to meet project objectives.
These three focus areas above just scratch the surface of the assessment activities that will need to be conducted as part of a thorough analysis. The good news is that there are a variety of resources available on the web or through the various cloud computing forums that will provide the listings of requirements or questions that should be addressed as part of a cloud ready self-assessment. There are also third party firms that provide assessment services for hire.
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