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10 Steps on Move to Cloud Computing


Written by  Sudheer Raju | 09 January 2011
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It is imminent that moving to cloud is not a choice and is a necessity for any organization in coming years, if they have to survive in the competitive world we have today. Thought it would be good to put across few points on where to start if anyone intends to move to cloud. 


Step 1: Initiate Move to Cloud

 

  • Understand that looking out for cloud vendors is not the starting point and understanding in-house systems, applications, infrastructure, operating costs etc is the start point
  • Firstly moving to cloud is a business decision and the first questions to answer will be
    • What is the cost of running current operations
    • What is the cost of running each project

Checkpoint 1: Am i better to take a tactical approach?
a. Leave your existing applications as is 
b. Try to implement all your new applications on Cloud

Step 2: Determine the cost of Operating Applications
While you try to determine the cost of an operating application, be sure to consider the full costs including electricity, space, servers, resources, facilities management since if you overlook any of them maintaining the server could appear a cheaper option compared to moving to cloud. Your entire logic can go wrong to justify properly.


Step 3: Determine the cost of Moving Applications to Cloud
Needless to say your cost to move to cloud not only includes current operating costs but the cost of moving each of your application as well to the cloud. By no means this is an easy task. There are hunderds of parameters that you may have to conisder like   

  • Entire process and data flow (where does data originate, how is it processed, what data is sent back and to how many systems, external interfaces being used)
  • Establish what are those that can be isolated and what cannot be

Checkpoint 2: Am i better off to take a tactical approach as in Checkpoint 1 + the ones that can easily be moved that does not have any dependencies

Step 4: Determine How much virtulization do i have with my applications

  • Analyse how much of virtualization is already done acorss systems
  • Analyse if there are any quickwins to virtualize and how much is pending to be done
  • Identify what virtualization software is good for you on short and long term
  • Defining virtualization should enable you to start thinking on which cloud computing vendors (Lets not jump in at this stage yet into vendor selection)
  • Ensure you cost the virtualization work as much as possible

Step 5: Determine your key requirements for

  • Service Levels
  • Performance Levels (Applications, Networks and others)
  • Cloud Performance Levels
  • A quick analysis of vendors available in the market to meet your requirements
  • You should also be able to determine the current usage, number of applications you run, storage used, storage buffer you maintain, CPU memory usage and DR costs you incur
  • Current resource levels, costs and others
  • Cost all above requirements if you were to implement everything in house

Step 6: Determine current costs

  • Determine current costs (i would assume the above steps to determine costs are very theoritic and limited, you may have to engage professional services to arrive at complete costs. However i would assume this will act as food for an intial thought)
  • Put the costs in a presentable format that determines the weight of cloud computing against running as it is or the other way round

Step 7: Request for proposals from cloud computing vendors

  • Invite vendors providing cloud computing to submit their proposal for your requirements
  • Proposal with an approach to enable you to move to cloud in a phased manner and validation at end of each phase
  • Costs per phase and over all costs to move
  • Running costs for next few years
  • Ensure your vendors include a mix of ones who provide services based on usage/applications/storage and few who cost based on number of users with limits on storage/applications so you can identify which ones work for you

Step 8: Cost benefit analysis based on vendor proposals and vendor shortlist

  • Analyse the propsals and idenfiy your preferred vendors
  • Compare your costs of moving to cloud from vendor proposals against the costs you calculated from Step 6
  • Determine if you are willing to take a decision
  • Determine what competitors are doing with cloud computing


Checkpoint 3: Am i better of running my business as it is or you want to move to the cloud

Step 9: Determine which cloud is suitable for you tactically and strategically

  • Determine which cloud would be best suitable for you (Public, Private, Hybrid, Community)
  • Suggested approach from experts is to go with Hybrid first, test the waters and move to a Public as required
  • Establish your governance processes to monitor your services on cloud

Step 10: Implement the move to cloud

  • Recruit cloud implementation experts
  • Have an implementation plan
  • Execute implementation plan
  • Monitor the move and your existence on cloud

Conclusion
I would like to emphasize that this article is written as a beginners guide to understand where and how to start moving to "Cloud Computing", what's involved and how should we be prepared for the the 5th generation of change in IT after Mainframe, PC, Client Server, Internet and now Cloud. I hope you find this article useful and will request you to leave your comments or suggest any changes to ensure i keep this article updated at all times for public knowledge. I can be reached at following contact details.


Author: Sudheer Rjau, ITWings Ltd, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 

Sudheer Raju

Sudheer Raju

Founder of ToolsJournal, a technology journal on software tools and services. Sudheer has overall accountability for the webiste product development and is responsible for Sales and Marketing. With a flair to write, Sudheer himself writes for toolsjournal across all journal categories.


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