Why Cloud CompuTing ThreaTens midsized enterprises and WhaT To do about it

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1 The Cloud Threat Why Cloud CompuTing ThreaTens midsized enterprises and WhaT To do about it This white paper outlines the concerns that often prevent midsized enterprises from taking advantage of the Cloud. It also describes how a new, unique five-phase lifecycle approach is helping midsized enterprises get to the Cloud.

2 The Cloud Threat Why Cloud CompuTing ThreaTens midsized enterprises and WhaT To do about it introduction The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines Cloud computing as convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. In addition to the benefits identified in NIST s definition (convenience, on-demand implementation and minimal management), Cloud computing enables businesses to achieve substantial improvements in agility. Using Cloud-based computing resources eliminates the need for a business to deploy and maintain networks, servers and storage systems in its own data center, and makes it possible for the IT staff to more quickly deploy strategic applications that are critical to the organization s success. The minimal service provider interaction part of NIST s definition can be a problem, however, for many small and mid-sized businesses. Some Cloud-based offerings are entirely self-service, leaving it to the customer to provision, configure, maintain and otherwise manage the various resources. The effort can be equal to deploying the same resources in the organization s own data center, thereby undermining the potential benefits of Cloud computing. Large businesses normally have a sufficiently large and knowledgeable IT staff to handle the various self-service tasks. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal 8 in 10 large businesses are already using Cloud computing today. This creates a distinct disadvantage for mid-sized enterprises where CIOs know they need to take advantage of Cloud computing, but don t have a plan to get there. This white paper outlines the concerns that often prevent midsized enterprises from taking advantage of the Cloud. It also describes how a new, unique five-phase lifecycle approach is helping midsized enterprises get to the Cloud. The Cloud gap It is not unusual for the CIO at a mid-sized enterprise to see only storm Clouds on the Cloud computing horizon, leading to more questions than answers. Just how secure is the Cloud? What applications should we consider moving to the Cloud? Will my staff be able to handle the migration? What will we do if something breaks or goes wrong? Is it possible we could exceed our budget during the migration? How do we even get started? The Armada Group, an IT advisory service that specializes in midmarket computing trends, conducted a survey of over 200 CIOs at midsize organizations. The results revealed that while 92 percent of them understand the business value of Cloud computing only 20 percent have a plan for how to realize that value. HOSTING refers to this disparity between desire and reality as the Cloud gap, and has identified seven common concerns that prevent many midsize organizations from being able to take full advantage of Cloud computing: 1 Strategy After spending years to get the data center infrastructure and all applications to the point where everything is working well, along comes the Cloud with yet another new generation of technology that affords some compelling advantages. But without a How-To manual to help create such a strategy, the path to success is often unclear. 2 People The existing staff has been optimized for the existing infrastructure and may lack the talent and/or bandwidth for a migration to the Cloud. Where or how can the organization get the expertise needed? And will additional staff be needed before, during or after the migration? 3 Budget With the budget already consumed by the existing operations, how will the Cloud be funded? In fact, how is it even possible to determine how much to budget for a migration of some or all applications to the Cloud?

3 4 Security Security is often a significant concern about using Cloud computing. No CIO would ever want to put the organization or its customers at risk, or create any additional vulnerability. Compliance with security or privacy regulations may also be an issue. The strategy will clearly need to address security. 5 Legacy Systems Most Cloud computing services do not support so-called legacy systems. If an organization depends on these for at least some of its critical applications, is the Cloud even an option? And if server-based applications that must work with legacy systems are migrated to the Cloud will these continue to interoperate? 6 Vendor Management Midsized enterprise CIOs already struggle with having too many vendors to manage. Is moving to the Cloud going to require a new set of Cloud specialist suppliers that will make this relationship management burden worse? 7 Results CIOs get measured by their impact on business results not their ability to implement cool new technology. Is this Cloud architecture really going to increase revenue, reduce costs, speed up time-to-market, improve customer satisfaction or achieve any other business benefit? The Risk To Midsized enterprises These storm Clouds being seen by midsized enterprise CIOs pose a real threat to their organizations. Midsized companies have traditionally competed with much larger competitors by taking advantage of their relatively small size to be quicker, more nimble, and more agile. In fact, a popular business book concisely captured this advantage in its title: It s Not the Big that Eat the Small It s the Fast that Eat the Slow. Increased agility is a primary benefit of Cloud computing. So, here is the really bad news for midsized enterprises. While they struggle with the Cloud Gap, their larger competitors are not having this problem. Some surveys show 8 in 10 large companies are now using Cloud computing. As large companies become more agile, how can their smaller competitors hope to compete with them? Perhaps there will be a new book called While the Big Don t Always Eat the Small, the Big and Fast Do Eat the Small and Slow. Five-phase approach To closing The cloud gap Fortunately for midsized enterprises struggling to deal with storm Clouds, a new breed of managed Cloud hosting service provider is emerging. These providers can provide the necessary capabilities to help companies close their Cloud gaps and regain their agility edge. These providers combine four capabilities previously only available from multiple vendors: traditional Web Hosting, Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Managed Service Providers and Professional Services. A new breed of managed Cloud hosting providers combines capabilities previously only available from multiple independent vendors. 3 This convergence allows managed Cloud hosting service providers to offer midsized enterprises a lifecycle approach to implementing Cloud computing. The Cloud adoption lifecycle has five phases: Design, Build, Migrate, Manage, and Protect. Together, these distinct phases enable midsize enterprises to close their Cloud gap and successfully implement and operate Cloud-based applications. Depending on the service provider, the organization may be able to outsource all five phases of a project. Alternatively, if internal capabilities and resources permit, the current IT staff may wish to handle one or more of the phases directly. Most projects involve cooperation between the organization s IT staff and the service provider. It is also important to note that the use of five phases does not complicate or delay the implementation of Cloud-based applications. Quite to the contrary, following a proven and methodical set of best practices is the best way to ensure a project s success and timely completion. Managed Services Providers (MSPs) Expertise Labor Capacity Traditional Hosting Geographies Recovery Cloud IaaS Infrastructure-as-a-Service Agility Economics Redundancy Professional Services Projects Methodologies

4 Phase 1: Design Every successful project begins with a solid design. Although particularly important for a complex and/or mission-critical application, a good design inevitably proves its worth for even the simplest and most routine of applications. The Design Phase begins with a discovery process where the service provider develops a thorough understanding of the business, technical, and resource requirements of the application(s). All three requirements must be met by the design, and an experienced service provider can use the experience gained from similar projects to draw up a detailed plan. The Design Phase should culminate with a comprehensive proposal that outlines exactly what the project will entail including what the customer s IT staff will need to do, what the service provider will do, a schedule, the total monthly operating cost, and possibly one-time project costs. Such a comprehensive proposal can become, in effect, the organization s strategy for migrating applications to the Cloud. Also, most organizations choose to pay for their monthly fees out of OPEX budgets, eliminating the need to make major CAPEX purchases. Phase 2: BuilD Because building a Cloud computing environment from scratch can introduce risk into a project, the better service providers have developed automated provisioning capabilities that apply certified configurations to the customer s business, technical, and resource requirements identified in the Design Phase. These certified configurations are specific allocations of resources that work well together and can be supported without extraordinary effort. Automated provisioning engines minimize risk while simplifying the migration to a Cloud computing environment. By combining the customer s unique set of requirements with proven resource allocations, automated provisioning is able to produce a configuration purpose-built for each application. In effect, the result is the best of both worlds: a configuration that is highly customized, yet also fully proven. In some applications, particularly where legacy systems or unusual configurations are involved, it may be necessary to provision special equipment. To accommodate this need, some service providers employ a hybrid network architecture capable of supporting not only public Cloud and private Cloud resources but also dedicated servers and even colocated servers. The service provider can choose from any or all of these options knowing the final configuration will run on a single local network segment and be supported by a single customer service organization This optional is particularly useful for incorporating legacy systems that cannot be virtualized into a Cloud architecture. 4 Phase 3: Migrate Once the design has been built, it is ready for use. The next step is often to migrate existing applications and data into the new Cloud-based environment. There are essentially four types of migrations for most applications: data, SQL database(s), virtual machine (VM) image(s) and Linux. While it is often overlooked, migration is actually the most risky phase of a Cloud deployment project. After all, if the needed applications and data can t get implemented in the Cloud environment, the entire project will fail. To manage this risk, some service providers have developed comprehensive methodologies for use during the Migrate Phase. The migration involves a cut-over of the application from the organization s data center to the Cloud environment. As such, the timing must be planned carefully and it is not uncommon to conduct a test in advance of actually migrating the production application to the Cloud. Because the effort involved to migrate systems creates additional (albeit temporary) workload for the customer s IT staff, some service providers offer the assistance needed to ensure a timely and successful migration. Phase 4: Manage Once migration is complete and the cut-over occurs, the next challenge becomes management of the Cloud-based environment. Like the basic Cloud computing architecture, management also exists in layers or levels. At the first or direct level of management, interaction is likely to be a customer portal with basic monitoring tools that can be viewed from an ordinary browser. Customers normally receive technical support from a professional services team of engineers to address any problems that might occur and receive business support from a customer relationship manager who gets involved for some of the more strategic aspects of the relationship. Backing up this front-line of support is a staff with

5 subject matter expertise in various fields such as Cloud computing, server virtualization, network storage, networking, and security. For midsized IT organizations with limited technical staff, the services provided by managed Cloud service providers can be particularly important. The service provider can take full responsibility for managing the infrastructure that operates the applications and the IT organization only has to manage their applications. In other words, the IT company gets all the advantages of a modern Cloud-based infrastructure without adding any additional management burden to their staff. By using a managed Cloud hosting service provider, customers can operate Cloud-based applications without having to manage the Cloud infrastructure themselves. To create a management environment suitable for mission-critical applications, the best service providers utilize the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL). ITIL is a set of proven practices for managing IT systems and services in a way that aligns with the needs of the organization. Many midsized enterprises have long wanted to use ITIL and find working with an ITIL-based managed Cloud hosting provider is much easier than implementing it themselves. Phase 5: Protect The final phase of rolling out Cloud-based applications involves protecting them from system failures and security risks. Adequate security is also essential for maintaining regulatory compliance. High availability requires resilient resources and rapid recovery from any problem whether large or small. High availability for mission-critical applications is provided through redundant configurations that eliminate all single points of failure. As a result, the entire system can keep operating even when a single component such as a firewall or database server goes down. Some vendors offering highly available configurations are willing to offer SLA protection for their entire system not just the individual components that make up the system. Disaster recovery, another critical aspect of high availability, addresses scenarios where something catastrophic happens to an entire data center, such as a flood, tornado, hurricane, fire, earthquake, or other major natural disaster. Some of these disasters involve prolonged outages that leave a data center unavailable for days or even weeks. To provide recovery from such disasters, service providers normally operate multiple, geographically dispersed data centers for production and recovery sites. 5 SAN FRANCISCO IRVINE DENVER DALLAS LOUISVILLE NEWARK, DE A redundant, geographically dispersed data center and network infrastructure can ensure high availability during major disasters. Depending on the customer requirements for the recovery point and recovery time objectives for each application, service providers offer various options ranging from periodic backups (for those applications that can tolerate some loss of data) to real-time replication of data that affords automatic failover with no loss of data. For securing customer applications and data, service providers offer multiple layers of protection. Through a combination of physical security and network security, these provisions prevent external attacks by eliminating vulnerabilities, guard data while being stored and in transit, and detect and mitigate any problems in real time as they are occurring. The best Cloud computing service providers prove the robustness of their security by completing Service Organization Control (SOC) 2 and SOC 3 audits established by the American Institute of CPAs. SOC 3 is a relatively new standard, and is the successor for SAS 70, one of the original standards for Cloud computing security. Some service providers are also compliant with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

6 ConClusion Service providers who adopt this five-phase lifecycle are able to address all seven mid-market CIO storm Clouds : Strategy A comprehensive proposal covering the full lifecycle provides the strategy needed for a successful migration. People Managed service and professional service teams expand the expertise and capacity of the existing IT staff making it unnecessary to add or train people. Budget Service provider s financial models allow their customers to move to the Cloud without making major CAPEX purchases Security Layered security options protect all customer applications and data and comply with regulations such as PCI DSS and HIPAA. Legacy Systems Service providers with hybrid network architectures can seamlessly accommodate any legacy system or other custom configuration. Vendor Management Service providers with full lifecycle support offer comprehensive capabilities that can be implemented on a modular basis for specific projects Results By offering full lifecycle support and specializing in supporting mission-critical applications, managed Cloud hosting service providers can ensure that business-critical applications remain Always On About HostinG HOSTING is a leading provider of managed Cloud hosting services for mission-critical applications. With a unique lifecycle approach and the industry s best team, HOSTING helps organizations design, build, migrate, manage, and protect their Cloud-based environments. HOSTING has become a trusted IT business partner, applying its enterprise solution architecture, deployment, scaling, and management experience to over 6000 organizations in various industries, including healthcare, retail, media-entertainment, financial services, technology, and government sectors. The company provides the highest levels of availability, recovery, security, and performance for ecommerce, back-office, Web solutions, Independent Software Vendor, and Software-as-a- Service applications. Using enterprise-class networking and connectivity technologies, the company owns and operates six geographically-dispersed data centers across the United States under an ITIL-based control environment independently validated for compliance against the PCI DSS and SOC (formerly SAS 70) frameworks. HOSTING is taking organizations further. 6

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