Five questions to ask before moving your organisation to the cloud

Gartner’s latest hype cycle confirmed that industry buzzwords that have continued to dominate the headlines over recent years are finally becoming mainstream. Cloud computing for example is no longer just a matter of hype, it is commonplace and will become mature within two to five years.

That said, a number of complexities still exist for a technology that is rapidly heading towards maturity and many are still not clear about just how ready they are to migrate. Whether you’re the IT Director of a company with 100 or 100,000 employees, moving to the cloud can be as simple as working off a Google document or as complex as building a private virtualisation platform with policy-based automation.

Having a thorough understanding of organisational requirements is absolutely critical, be it a private infrastructure that offers levels of security and compatibility or a public one that provides scalability and compute power. Hybrid clouds are also growing in popularity today as they allow for applications and workloads to be moved smoothly and easily from an internal IT environment to a public cloud, and back again if required. Crucially, the workload behaves the same irrespective of where it is located, offering identical levels of security and compliance, management and control.

> See also: 5 critical changes to IT infrastructure usage you should be aware of

Some of the factors that will help to define exactly what type of cloud is needed include: the size of the organisation, the sophistication of the IT department, the budget available and of course, the need to even be in the cloud in the first place. Regardless of which one it is, one thing is certain, being prepared for the cloud is pivotal. To ensure that this nearly mature technology is fully embraced and that any transition into the cloud is as seamless as possible, ask yourselves the following questions:

Are you sure you’re ready?

Is there anything wrong with the existing infrastructure? What exactly is required for the move to be a success? What defines success? Are your teams prepared for the changes? These are just a handful of questions the IT department must consider before migrating. In general, if the questions being asked are technology orientated, it is safe to say that you are not yet there. Before migrating, it is important to have complete understanding of your existing environment, then you can begin thinking about the structural implementations that need to be addressed.

Is it timely?

A common industry misconception is that a move into the cloud is akin to one single leap. In actuality, the cloud is not an end point but a continuum, a series of stages that organisations can choose when, as well as whether, to transition through. There really are a multitude of options when considering a move to cloud, and less heavy duty and easier to implement licensing agreements like vSOM (vSphere with Operations Management) can often act as a stepping stone, to be taken before full scale deployments are considered.

Will it save me money?

There is no escaping the fact that the demands on IT heads are more intense than ever, something that forces many to grapple with a new era of IT, which requires innovation, while simultaneously attempting to reduce costs. As a natural way to keep costs down, many turn away from innovation and instead opt towards maintaining existing infrastructures.

Putting this into perspective, recent research from VMware has revealed that IT departments in EMEA are spending an average of 14 hours a week fixing or dealing with issues related to legacy IT. There is a clear market misalignment between maintenance and innovation, with many failing to recognise that short term investments on innovations must be made today in order to create longer term savings tomorrow. Doing nothing is simply no longer an option.

Is it secure and how can I ensure I’m compliant?

The simple truth is that as we all readily continue to embrace new technologies to work faster and become more productive, many of us are guilty of overlooking the data security challenges this represents. The truth is that transitioning into the cloud needn’t jeopardise security in any way at all and it can actually encourage IT leaders to take a more proactive role in better managing end user behaviours and ensuring that the correct policies are in place across the board.

Integrated security and compliance solutions are today being used to unlock the benefits of cloud computing and ensuring that the data center is secure and compliant at every level: host, virtual server, network, applications and data.

Are you prepared for the future?

Migrating to the cloud is no mean feat but it does allow organisations to be better prepared for the explosive growth in resource requirements that will be needed in the future. The industry is evolving at an explosive pace and IT leaders have a simple choice: to stand still and watch it evolve or to adapt and take control. Transitioning into the cloud is about more than simply reducing IT costs or improving security, it is about delivering business services that help you to stay competitive. With this mindset, IT can once again become the department that defines organisational direction.

The importance of cloud computing to modern business is recognised by organisations in all sectors. But it is the practicalities that are often not as well understood and these questions have been designed to ensure that IT departments can break through the complexity and confusion that continues to surround cloud migration. In an age where IT budgets continue to be squeezed it is important that the correct infrastructure is in place to ensure maximum efficiency.

If these questions are considered, and addressed, businesses stand far better place to demystify any cloud confusion, make business processes more efficient, keep ahead of competitors and ultimately enhance bottom line figures.

Sourced from Rory Choudhuri, Cloud infrastructure expert in EMEA, VMware

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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