Recommendations and Considerations for Companies Migrating to the Cloud

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1 Recommendations and Considerations for Companies Migrating to the Cloud White Paper May 2012 Colocation Connectivity Cloud Communications

2 Introduction As organisations think about moving to the cloud, some are left unsure as to whether these new technologies will benefit their business practices, whilst others adopt an inherent distrust with matters surrounding cloud technologies. SMB cloud computing spending alone will reach $100 billion by AMI Partners Contemplating cloud computing services with incorrect information can have disastrous effects for an organisation, both financially and with regards to business functionality. By better equipping yourself with the knowledge to make the correct choices, you can save your business both time and money which will evidently result in a smooth transition to cloud services. As cloud moves into the mainstream, it is important to be able to make informed decisions when considering cloud technologies. As a result of this, we have compiled a collection of tips for organisations to consider when migrating to the cloud and we have highlighted issues to contemplate during the uptake of new technologies. Example of an organisation s cloud infrastructure Public, private or hybrid? The financial gains of outsourcing your IT services to a third party cloud provider are reflected in which cloud model you select. The benefits of public, private and hybrid cloud models are further reinforced by the pricing options available within cloud computing. Options of a pay-asyou-go pricing structure are available which will further reduce your overheads. The public cloud, which generally takes advantage of the pay-as-yougo pricing model, offers applications, resources and storage to the public via an internet connection. This model does not offer a direct connection between the service provider and your organisation, which is why many financial organisations choose a cloud which can offer a dedicated connection to their provider. 1

3 The private cloud offers a more dedicated model of cloud computing. Although avoiding the less hands-on approach that accompanies the public cloud, organisations will need to buy, build and manage their cloud infrastructure. However, the private model does guarantee a cloud that is solely used by your organisation and additionally provides hosted services from behind a firewall. 7 out of 10 companies using cloud services will move new applications to the cloud - Mimecast The hybrid cloud is a model that combines two or more cloud types. The central benefits to using both public and private cloud models within your organisation are the options that are available to you by managing some resources in house, whilst directly outsourcing other aspects of your IT infrastructure to your cloud service provider. Ultimately the primary draw to the hybrid cloud is the scalability options that the public cloud can offer, whilst protecting applications and data that could be vulnerable to third parties. Calculate the cost Calculating the total cost is a good place to begin for any business considering a move to the cloud. With serious cloud service contenders aiming to gain market share both in the present and moving forward, various pricing structures are available which seem to be mirroring mobile phone contracts. Be aware of the hidden costs before locking your organisation into a contract which may well deliver you with continuous unforeseen expenses. This being said, distinguishing between the cost and the value of moving to the cloud is advised. The total value of moving to the cloud could far surpass the cost savings you could receive from cloud computing. A true indication of the value of cloud computing can be directly attributed to the ability to meet the needs of the end user. Benefit your business practices It is imperative to identify the business practices that could benefit from a move to cloud computing. Cloud can benefit many areas within business, including lower costs, business agility and service level agreements. Bandwidth capacity Ensure that both your organisation and your providers bandwidth can cover your cloud needs now and in the future when dependency on cloud computing increases. There is no use having the best cloud solutions for your business if your connectivity is poor. Consider your connection to the cloud, and your provider s connection to the internet. Ensuring that the bandwidth capacity is sufficient so that your connection to the cloud remains constant means you can avoid the prospect of packet loss from occurring. 60% of server workloads will be virtualised by Gartner 2

4 Cloud security With increasing amounts of both personal and professional information being placed in the cloud, there are rising concerns about just how safe the cloud environment actually is. The global cloud computing market will grow from $40.1 billion in to more than $241 billion in Forrester Example of threats in the cloud It is advisable to consider various issues when looking to secure your cloud. Firstly if you require the upmost security levels, you need to ensure that you have a dedicated private connection between your desktop and the data centre your cloud infrastructure resides within. However, site to site virtual private network (VPN) can offer a similar level of security, without the costly overheads. This network consists of a firewall in both your organisation and at the data centre to ensure a similar standard of cloud security as seen with a dedicated private connection. Secondly, all reputable cloud providers should offer you a disaster recovery and business continuity plan. This plan can guarantee that you will be back up and running as a business should a disaster occur within the data centre. Dependent on your agreed period of loss, you can ensure that your data is backed up in real time, meaning that any change that you make is automatically backed up. It is advised that you should not have more than a 15 minute interval between each data back-up, as the longer the time between these, the more data you may lose should a disaster take place. Make a cloud plan Before all else, compile a cloud computing plan that is tailored to your business. Assess how your IT staff spend their time and their budget and choose a cloud service that will benefit your business across all areas whilst taking the pressure off your IT department! Migrating to cloud computing can allow a shift of focus within your IT department, meaning you no longer have to worry about server updates and computing issues, and can concentrate on improvement and innovation within IT. 3

5 Compare the cloud Before you begin applying certain criteria to your feature set, it is imperative to decide how complex the implementation will be, and to then compare various cloud computing services. Once a decision has been made as to where on the cloud spectrum you intend to position yourself, you can more accurately research your cloud computing solution. Example of a cloud infrastructure There are three central cloud service models to consider when looking at virtualisation. IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. IaaS (infrastructure as a service) is a model that outsources the equipment used in cloud computing to a service provider. This includes but is not limited to storage, hardware and servers. PaaS (platform as a service) provides a computing platform and solution stack as a service. This model requires the consumer to create the software using the providers tools, whilst the provider remains in charge of the storage, servers and networks. SaaS (software as a service) is a similar concept to IaaS however, the software is the component that is outsourced to the third party service provider rather than the infrastructure. Often used on a pay-as-you-go basis, organisations are free from the obligations of purchasing licences as these will quite often be supplied by the cloud service provider. 4

6 Preparation An important point of advice when migrating to the cloud as an organisation is to prepare your staff and your systems. Although appearing abundantly obvious, organisations who adopt the cloud often fail to do so. Remember that more complex scenarios often require different skills and therefore training is a criterion to ensure a smooth migration to cloud computing services, both with concern to your workforce and the systems involved. Preparing your systems for a move from the physical to the virtual is a prerequisite to any organisation migrating to the cloud. Gradual adoption It is not advised to move the entirety of your data operations to the cloud. Instead, select certain areas to make the transition to the cloud first, test the waters, and then proceed to gradually shift your remaining data operations as and when it is appropriate to do so. The benefit of cloud computing is the flexible nature of the service which allows you to expand and retract the service with your provider as your demand increases and decreases. Know where you data is stored When your data is stored in the cloud, it is often assumed impossible to geographically locate where in the world it resides. We believe that this is a very important issue within cloud computing and one that should be answered by your cloud provider. Ensure that you consider the following when looking to move your systems to the cloud. Although the data protection act applies to the data irrespective of where it resides, it is in fact the originating source that is covered by the data protection act, and information should not be moved across boundaries otherwise it may potentially violate this. Confirm which country your data is stored within so you can ensure that the right protection laws are in place to secure your information. Conclusion Although cloud computing is fast becoming the most dominant player within the realms of IT, to determine exactly what your organisation needs from virtualisation. Whilst the benefits of the cloud are clearly marked, how it can benefit your organisation is a slightly harder concept to define. It is advised to have a proficient assessment done in order to ascertain your exact virtualisation requirements. Though there is little doubt cast over the financial and practical values that accompany the uptake of cloud services, it is important to remember that each organisation is unique and your cloud solution can be tailored to your requirements. 5

7 Best Business Customer Service Recommendations and Considerations for Companies Migrating to the Cloud About C4L C4L is one of the leading data centre and connectivity solution providers in the UK, with a capacity for 1000 racks of colocation, a resilient multiple Terabit network with up to 100Gbps connectivity to over 40 data centres and hundreds of delighted customers. Throughout our history, C4L s goal has remained the same to provide exemplary reliability across all of our services, ranging from colocation and connectivity, to the newer cloud-based services such as virtual private servers, virtual data centres and elastic cloud computing. Products and services from C4L The Sunday Times Tech Track 100 C4L offers a range of scalable, reliable and unique services: Colocation Connectivity Data storage & backup Hosting Managed services Telecoms Contact Us Corporate Headquarters County Gates House 300 Poole Road Westbourne Poole Dorset BH12 1AZ Tel. +44 (0) Fax The FINALIST Best Dedicated Hosting The FINALIST Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA The ispas Best Business Customer Service The ispas Best Dedicated Hosting The Chartered Institute for IT UK IT Industry Awards Certified Quality Systems Accreditations ISO & ISO Gartner s Top Predictions for : IT s Growing Transparency and Consumerisation (2010) 2. Ferris Research: archiving SaaS strengths vs on-premise solutions (2008) 3. Sizing the Cloud. Understanding and Quantifying the Future of Cloud Computing () 4. Channel Web, Andrew Hickey (2010) 2012 C4L. C4L is a trading of CONNEXIONS4LONDON LTD. All trademarks are the proporty of their respective owners. Colocation Connectivity Cloud Communications WP/BUS/MAY2012/1

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