By now you're probably hear about a cloud solution opportunity and are aware that the cloud is no longer an “if” for your business, but a “when”. Moving to the cloud may present some difficulties within your organization as you assess migration options. It can certainly be an overwhelming task, however, now is the time to take advantage of this significant IT moment. It cloud never be a better time to modernize your data center.

Cloud First Strategy

While you consider your options, it's important to keep in mind that more and more companies are moving to a “cloud-based” IT. Whether its moving Exchange and SharePoint Servers to Office 365 or extending infrastructure to Azure – a cloud model presents a compelling solution. In fact, 70% of CIOs will embrace a “cloud first” strategy in 2016 (IDC) and 45% of total IT services will be spent on cloud services by 2020 (Forrester).

Transition Assessment

1. Cloud options on demand: you'll need to be able to extend to the cloud when it makes sense for your business and according to your own company's needs. Your datacenter is configured to meet the needs of your business, and your cloud solution should meet the same standard. Think about consistency across clouds, management of heterogeneous resources and workload mobility.
2. You'll need to reduce cost and complexity, in addition there is a misconception that moving to the cloud is going to increase the burden on IT. You need to take advantage of innovation in the right way, real-world solutions to old problems.
3. You have to deliver a rapid response to the business. Transforming the datacenter has to make you faster. Whatever resources you add or whatever changes you make, the standard is: has it enabled IT to deliver services more rapidly?

Now you know the questions to ask, let's take a look at some general guidance that can help you determine whether a cloud solution is right for your business.

Categorizing Your Workloads

Assessing whether the Cloud is right for your business, specifically as an end destination, starts with a business-level evaluation and categorization of workloads. Consequently, this categorization should be based on the lifecycle and goals of workloads. There are two key dimensions to consider at this stage:

  • Strategic value: indicates whether the workload is a core (a competency or a source of competitive differentiation) or content (a critical function but not a source of differentiation).
  • Operational flexibility: indicates the complexity of the workload, how dependent a workload is on other applications or infrastructure, and how much it requires in terms of resources.

Examining all of your applications and understanding how they are deployed and whether to move them to the cloud is a critical step in the migration process. You may decide to keep some business-critical applications in dedicated, application-based silos. These applications can be good candidates for virtualization and the cloud. Many organizations have a hybrid datacenter model, in which the IT organization maintains some applications in dedicated infrastructures, embraces virtualization for other applications, and evolves over time toward a private, public, or hybrid cloud.

Cloud Solution | Which Cloud Type?

Now that you've categorized workloads and selected possible candidates for the cloud, you should begin to consider which type of cloud will be most efficient and cost-effective for delivering that specific workload. Especially relevant are three primary cloud types:

  1. Private cloud
  2. Public cloud
  3. Hybrid cloud

Cloud Solutions

Public Clouds

Applications and workloads that are generally most appropriate for public clouds typically have low strategic value and high operational flexibility requirements. As a result, these workloads may not be core to your business and they must adapt to demands such as peaks in usage.  They can be easily consumed in a self-service, pay-as-you-go model.  Also, they are readily available from cloud service providers. In conclusion, using public cloud services generates the types of economies of scale and sharing of resources that can reduce costs and increase choices of technologies

Private Clouds

Applications and workloads that are most appropriate for private clouds tend to have high strategic value and high operational flexibility requirements. Most of all, these workloads may be core to your business, provide a source of differentiation for your company, and contain confidential and sensitive information. This particular model of cloud computing involves a distinct and secure cloud based environment in which only your specific organization can operate. As with other cloud models, private clouds will provide computing power as a service within a virtualized environment using an underlying pool of physical computing resource. However, under the private cloud model, the cloud is only accessible by a single organization providing you with greater control and privacy.

Hybrid Clouds

Applications and workloads that have low or high strategic value and high operational flexibility requirements can be good candidates for hybrid cloud. As a result, these workloads may have unpredictable requirements that require flexibility and scalability for spikes in demand. Furthermore, the hybrid cloud integrates cloud service using both private and public clouds to perform distinct functions within your organization. Also, public clouds tend to be more cost efficient and scalable whereas private clouds ensure greater privacy.

Evaluate your options and decide on the most appropriate cloud type for your workloads.  Then, you are ready to plan and prioritize your cloud projects.

Prioritizing Workloads for Initial Projects

The decision on which cloud model depends on your organization's specific business needs. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Prioritize less-critical or smaller workloads.  Move to a private cloud so you can grow your cloud footprint gradually over time.
  • Consider moving non-production workloads.  That includes development and test to a private cloud.  You will gain the benefits of a cloud environment with less risk exposure.
  • Evaluate well-known and trusted cloud services from third-party service providers for workloads that are appropriate for public cloud. Consider setting a high priority on moving these workloads; this would enable you to begin to offload less strategic, non-core workloads and to free up IT resources.

It's important to consider all options before making the move to the cloud. Take the time to formalize a strategy.  It will pay off in higher cost savings, better efficiency, more agility, and more innovation. End of life for Windows 2003 provides an opportunity to innovate your data center.  It also allows you to consider the cloud as a destination for some applications and workloads. Should you need additional information on how to tackle migration from 2003 Server, download this free survival guide. It breaks down the process into five stages.  Those are strategize, identify, understand, plan and transform.  As a result, you'll ensure you have the right solution for your business needs.

About Oakwood

Since 1981, Oakwood has been helping companies of all sizes, across all industries, solve their business problems.  We bring world-class consultants to architect, design and deploy technology solutions to move your company forward.   Our proven approach guarantees better business outcomes.  With flexible engagement options, your project is delivered on-time and on budget.  11,000 satisfied clients can’t be wrong.

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