Many organizations are dealing with the decision of moving to a Cloud-based infrastructure. Not because they want to, but because they need to in order to meet the expectations of their management and investors. The lure of cost savings, auto-scaling, and redundancy is far too great of an incentive for most.
So where to begin with this technology? Your first order of business is to know what tools you currently have and how each piece interacts with your network, server farms, and applications. Many organizations struggle with maintaining current documentation of their infrastructures. This includes network layout, server configurations, application details, process flows, backup procedures, disaster recovery, BCP (Business Continuity Plan), etc. You do not necessarily need to replicate the old system in a Cloud environment. However, you do need to ensure that you are covering the functionality and processes that your current environment employs.
69% of enterprises have either applications or infrastructure running in the cloud today, up 12% from 2012. The IDG Enterprise Cloud Computing Study 2014 found that cloud investments have increased by 19% in large-scale enterprises (1,000+ employees) spending on average $3.3M a year. In 2015, 24% of IT budgets will be allocated to cloud solutions, with the highest percentage being allocated to SaaS models.
If you haven’t utilized a Cloud-based solution before, you need to know what is and isn’t possible with the Cloud system. The design of your system will depend on what your business and infrastructure needs. The following sections will help you evaluate if the Cloud environment is the right choice for your business.
What Are Your Options?
As with any commoditized technology, there are many options to choose from when you are selecting a Cloud computing provider. Providers such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, IBM, and Rackspace offer which leverage their own proprietary APIs and supported operating systems. Of all of these platforms, Amazon’s AWS is the most popular and most competitively priced. When making your decision to use one or more of these providers, you need to consider your current and future technology stack and the offerings of each provider.
Types of Cloud Computing Infrastructures
There are three types of Cloud infrastructure options. Depending on your specific situation and need, you can combine several approaches to achieve your desired environment.
Private cloud is cloud infrastructure operated solely for a single organization, whether managed internally or by a third-party, and hosted either internally or externally. Undertaking a private cloud project requires a significant level and degree of engagement to virtualize the business environment, and requires the organization to reevaluate decisions about existing resources. When done right, it can improve business, but every step in the project raises security issues that must be addressed to prevent serious vulnerabilities. Self-run data centers are generally capital intensive. They have a significant physical footprint, requiring allocations of space, hardware, and environmental controls. These assets have to be refreshed periodically, resulting in additional capital expenditures. - Wikipedia
A cloud is called a "public cloud" when the services are rendered over a network that is open for public use. Public cloud services may be free or offered on a pay-per-usage model. Technically there may be little or no difference between public and private cloud architecture, however, security consideration may be substantially different for services (applications, storage, and other resources) that are made available by a service provider for a public audience and when communication is effected over a non-trusted network. Generally, public cloud service providers like Amazon AWS, Microsoft and Google own and operate the infrastructure at their data center and access is generally via the Internet. AWS and Microsoft also offer direct connect services called "AWS Direct Connect" and "Azure ExpressRoute" respectively, such connections require customers to purchase or lease a private connection to a peering point offered by the cloud provider. - Wikipedia
Hybrid cloud is a composition of two or more clouds (private, community or public) that remain distinct entities but are bound together, offering the benefits of multiple deployment models. Hybrid cloud can also mean the ability to connect collocation, managed and/or dedicated services with cloud resources. Varied use cases for hybrid cloud composition exist. For example, an organization may store sensitive client data in house on a private cloud application, but interconnect that application to a business intelligence application provided on a public cloud as a software service. This example of hybrid cloud extends the capabilities of the enterprise to deliver a specific business service through the addition of externally available public cloud services.
Another example of hybrid cloud is one where IT organizations use public cloud computing resources to meet temporary capacity needs that can not be met by the private cloud. This capability enables hybrid clouds to employ cloud bursting for scaling across clouds. Cloud bursting is an application deployment model in which an application runs in a private cloud or data center and "bursts" to a public cloud when the demand for computing capacity increases. A primary advantage of cloud bursting and a hybrid cloud model is that an organization only pays for extra compute resources when they are needed. Cloud bursting enables data centers to create an in-house IT infrastructure that supports average workloads, and use cloud resources from public or private clouds, during spikes in processing demands. - Wikipedia
Part Two of this series will dive in to the strategy of cloud based infrastructures including resources, documentation, budget, timeline and process. Until then...
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