Creating a Cloud Readiness Assessment

Are you moving to the cloud? Have some questions? It's time to create a cloud readiness assessment.

Bill Kleyman

May 20, 2014

4 Min Read
Creating a Cloud Readiness Assessment
Another price cut for AWS, this time for data transfers out and CloudFront

It’s a lot easier to move your infrastructure into the cloud than have to migrate everything back into a private data center. The idea is to make sure you deploy the right workloads and have the correct deployment methodology throughout the entire process.

When cloud computing started getting popular, organizations began pushing more of their environments into a public or hybrid cloud model. Although this was absolutely a great move by many of these businesses, some began to feel the pains of putting the wrong application or database into a public cloud. User, data, and workload proximity are critical, as is deploying the right workload against the proper type of cloud model.

Before you migrate a workload into a colocation or public cloud provider space, there are some key infrastructure aspects to consider. One of the best ways to prep your entire organization for a potential cloud move is to utilize a cloud readiness assessment. Working with a cloud-ready partner can really help this process along. Here’s the challenge: every business and every data center is unique. However, the methodology around a readiness assessment can be standardized to some extent.

That said, here are some key points to consider in a Cloud Readiness Assessment Project:

  • Your business model and goals. It’s hard to narrow this down in just one article, but the first thing to understand will be your current business model and where your organization is headed. Are you planning aggressive expansion? Are you planning on taking on additional users or branches? Are you deploying a new type of application or product? Are there core reasons to move an application, data set or entire platform into the cloud? Through research and working with cloud and industry professionals, you’ll be able to create a business model that will scale from your current platform into the cloud. Here’s why this is important: ROI. Through your use-case and business model analysis, you may very well find that moving to a cloud platform is not financially conducive. Or you might require a different approach.

  • Your user base. In today’s ever-evolving technology world, the end-user has become even more critical. The always-on generation is now demanding their data anywhere, anytime, and on any device. How capable will your cloud platform be to deliver this rich content to your end-users? How well can you ensure an optimal user experience in the cloud? During your assessment, take the time to do a very good user survey. Find out how they compute, which devices they use, and what resources they are accessing. The last thing you want to do is build a cloud platform without direct end-user input.

  • Your existing physical infrastructure. Are you sitting on new gear or are you overdue for a hardware refresh? All of this is part of the cloud assessment process. Your ability to replicate into the cloud will be directly impacted by your current underlying physical environment. The reality is simple: if your gear is extremely outdated, you may need to fix some in-house issues before moving into the cloud. A workload running on a certain type of physical system now may behave very differently in the cloud later. If your environment is pretty much new, consider various cloud options. In some cases, organizations ship their own servers into a cloud provider’s data center. The need to upgrade or implement new hardware requirements can definitely add to the bottom line of any cloud migration project.

  • Your existing logical infrastructure. We operate in a virtualized world. Software-defined technologies, advanced levels of virtualization, cloud computing, and mobility are all influencing our data center and business models. With that in mind, a cloud readiness assessment must scale both the physical and logical aspects of your environment. Are you already virtualizing your applications? How old are those apps? Can pieces of your environment even run on a cloud platform? For replication purposes, do you need to upgrade your own virtual systems? Even beyond the physical aspect – working with the data side of your environment is going to be the most challenging. Applications, their dependencies, and the data associated with it all are important considerations during an assessment.

  • Selecting the optimal cloud option. The progression of cloud infrastructure offers an organization a number of options. Colocation, various cloud models, and even the hybrid approach are all viable for the modern business. The important piece is selecting the right option. To give you a realistic perspective, in some cases it makes sense to build out your own data center because your business model, user-base, and future business goals all require it. The point is that there are a number of options to work with.

The cloud can be a powerful tool. Already, many organizations are building their business process around the capabilities of their technology platform. As always, any push towards a new infrastructure will require planning, and a good use-case analysis. In the case of cloud computing, running a cloud readiness assessment can save quite a few headaches in the future. Basically, you’ll be able to better understand your current capabilities and what the optimal type of infrastructure would be. Ultimately, this helps align your IT capabilities directly with the goals of your organization.

About the Author(s)

Bill Kleyman

Bill Kleyman has more than 15 years of experience in enterprise technology. He also enjoys writing, blogging, and educating colleagues about tech. His published and referenced work can be found on Data Center Knowledge, AFCOM, ITPro Today, InformationWeek, NetworkComputing, TechTarget, DarkReading, Forbes, CBS Interactive, Slashdot, and more.

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