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Considerations for Moving Workloads to the Cloud

by Scott Feuless

In reality, some applications are a great fit for the cloud and some are not. Moving workloads to the cloud requires some forethought, and charging ahead with little planning or analysis leads to reduced benefits. Here are the ISG Top 5 considerations to keep in mind:

1. Model the resource requirements of each application. If you can, test applications on the cloud platform before you move them. If you don’t know the resources your application requires, then you don’t know how much your cloud service is going to cost and you have no business case. Go back to the drawing board and carefully analyze application requirements so you can incorporate the results into your plans.

2. Build a real business case application-by-application. Each application has different security requirements, workload profiles, performance requirements, availability requirements, transition requirements, elasticity requirements, technology compatibility requirements, bandwidth requirements, and so on. The opportunities to generate revenue and drive efficiency into the business by leveraging the unique capabilities of the cloud also vary by application. The idea that “we’re just going to move everything to the cloud all at once” is naïve at best and irresponsible at worst.

3. Evaluate providers carefully using a comprehensive framework. Each cloud service provider is likely to have their own, very different contract, service level agreements and pricing structure. Comparing them is not for the faint of heart. Get help if you need it. The Service Measurement Index at www.csmic.org, for example, is designed to help organizations measure cloud-based services based on their specific business and technology requirements.

4. Measure success. Make sure you are getting the benefits from the cloud that you projected in the business case. Look into why you are or are not. Use your measurements as a basis for continuous improvement in your cloud sourcing decisions.

5. Stop saying “cloud.” While they are related, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) are different animals. The decision to deliver functionality via SaaS is, to a large extent, a product decision that must figure into your application portfolio strategy and cannot be made by IT alone. IaaS is purely a service decision that reallocates assets and makes infrastructure capabilities available. PaaS is a little of both, incorporating both development products and infrastructure services. All of these have been labeled “cloud,” but each requires a very different strategic approach.

ISG helps clients navigate the cloud as part of creating an optimal sourcing strategy. Contact Scott Feuless to discuss further.

About the author

Scott Feuless is a Principal Consultant with ISG, based in Texas. Scott benefits from 25 years of senior management experience, with a strong background in leading performance improvement initiatives, developing strategy and pricing outsourced services, together with knowledge of many areas of computer technology developed over some thirty years. For ISG Scott provides expertise on infrastructure performance and benchmarking, as well as strategic sourcing advisory. Scott is also a primary contributor to the development of industry standards for cloud computing. His expertise covers multiple architectures and sourcing arrangements, with major studies completed for mainframe, midrange server, storage, desktop and networking environments over his 13+ years with the firm.