Cloud

To the Cloud – or Not

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Cloud computing is not appropriate for all applications nor all companies. Security, regulations, customers, senior management, existing infrastructure and corporate culture are just some of the factors that IT decision makers must consider when evaluating cloud providers and models. For most mid to large companies, hybrid hosting solutions combine the best of all worlds: cloud, virtualization, hardware and co-location. Following are a few real-world examples of how the hybrid model is playing out and why the cloud may not be the most appropriate solution.

Internally developed applications

Once an application has been developed internally, co-locating the infrastructure enables organizations to leverage the investments made by data centers providers in power, security, and availability. In terms of management, however, co-locating infrastructure to an external data center can create further complexity. Due to the out-of-house location of hardware, IT staff must travel to the physical site in order to perform routine or emergency maintenance.

To alleviate this issue, a common solution is to purchase Managed Services or Remote Eyes and Hands, which require the vendor to diligently monitor and manage your entire environment. If the application is cloud-appropriate, deploying it to a managed virtual machine is another suitable alternative to basic co-location.

Customer-focused, time-sensitive new application

Business-driven initiatives needed on the fly can be deployed almost immediately into an existing virtual environment. Organizations can benefit from the scalability, consolidation and mobility associated with the cloud. If an organization wishes to eventually transition the application in house, there are many implications that must be considered.

First, contractual obligations may result in financial penalties for early service cancellation. Secondly, constructing an in-house environment requires significant man hours, IT resources, hardware provisioning and budget. Furthermore, if a controlled migration is not planned and executed seamlessly, significant downtime is likely to occur.

If cloud is no longer appropriate for the given application, it is often worth exploring a hybrid hosting solution that combines aspects of virtualization, physical hosting and co-location before making the decision to move an entire cloud or hosting environment in house.

Private versus public cloud scenarios

Increasingly, public cloud providers such as Amazon are offering more enterprise-friendly services and features. But how do you determine whether to go this route or opt for a more conservative private cloud solution? The answer to this question lies within the application itself.

Applications that pose a high risk, such as those storing medical records or financial information, should be deployed in a private cloud environment. Low-risk applications designed for development, testing, training and production (all requiring fast deployment and scalability) are fitting for a public cloud service.

Some applications, however, may not be suitable for either a private cloud or public cloud. An organization’s hosting requirements may be better fulfilled by either traditional hosting services (i.e., co-location, managed services, etc.) or hybrid hosting solutions. Enterprise requirements should be carefully evaluated on a case-by-case basis in order to construct the most efficient and comprehensive solution.

Legacy systems

Many legacy systems do not work well in the cloud without significant revamping, since legacy systems are constructed with software that predates current virtualization technologies. Whether to go through the effort of making those systems cloud ready will depend on various factors including existing infrastructure, budget, business risk, internal skill sets and the desire to internally manage IT.

In most cases, the cloud is an inappropriate solution for legacy systems due to compliance, high-speed data access, security and operational limitations. Oftentimes it makes more sense (financially and operationally) for organizations to maintain their legacy systems until they are ready to transition to new virtualized environments. Furthermore, existing end-user license agreements on legacy systems may not allow for virtualization. Once legacy systems have been replaced, organizations can then investigate whether or not cloud or hybrid solutions are applicable.

High-transactional, database-driven application

High-performing computing applications, such as those that rely on rapid access to databases, significantly degrade in performance with even the smallest delay. Since some level of latency always exists in the cloud, these high-performing types of applications will likely require dedicated, non-virtualized hardware.

From the above examples, it is evident that under specific requirements the cloud may or may not be the most appropriate solution. Hybrid solutions are comprised of various hosting elements, including co-location, physical hosting, virtualization, private and public clouds, enabling the customer to decide how, when and where applications and data should operate. With the unique hosting requirements held by many organizations today, the hybrid hosting model enables them to construct a solution involving physical, virtual and cloud elements to efficiently accommodate their needs.

Sylvain Boyer is vice president of Marketing and Product for CentriLogic. He has over 15 years’ experience in engineering, marketing and sales for businesses in the telecom and IT industries. At CentriLogic, he is accountable for the development and implementation of ongoing corporate marketing strategies and is responsible for the company’s portfolio of products and services ranging from hosting to managed services and cloud. CentriLogic is a trusted provider of international hybrid hosting and data center solutions for organizations that gain advantage by outsourcing their hosting requirements. Unlike other hosting companies, CentriLogic uses insights derived from a customer-first philosophy to deliver a broad range of agile and elastic solutions designed to meet evolving IT infrastructure outsourcing needs. He can be reached at sboyer@centrilogic.com.

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