Designing Your Cloud: Four Critical Considerations to Get It Right

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By: Bill Kleyman|

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Each data center and cloud environment is unique with its own set of requirements and needs. Each infrastructure is designed to host specific types of data, workloads and facilitate the operations for a growing business. In some cases, it makes sense to own your own data center, in other scenarios – working with a provider or a cloud service is the right move.

IDC recently pointed out that total spending on IT infrastructure products (server, storage, and Ethernet switch) for deployment in cloud environments increased by 18.9% in 2016 to reach $38.2 billion. Furthermore, spending on private cloud IT infrastructure will grow by 11.1% year over year to $13.9 billion geared toward on-premises private cloud deployments.

“For the majority of corporate and public organizations, IT is not a core business but rather an enabler for their core businesses and operations,” said Natalya Yezhkova, Research Director, Storage Systems. “Expansion of cloud offerings creates new opportunities for these businesses to focus efforts on core competences while leveraging the flexibility of service-based IT.”

Remember, no one model is ever truly the same since each workload could have its own requirements, users, and needs around growth. In looking at your own infrastructure, there are four core considerations in designing your own successful cloud strategy:

  • Understanding Business Workload
    • How virtualized are you? The modern data center and the typical business environment have gone through a virtualization revolution. Now, there is desktop, application, server, network, storage and even security virtualization products. Many newly deployed systems are now being placed on virtual workloads. This is important to note because platforms hosting virtual machines utilize resources differently than directly hosted workloads. Before hopping on the cloud bandwagon, make sure you have the right resources and security for your virtualization needs. This may mean working with a data center partner to establish the right high-density, multi-tenancy environment that can support business and IT needs.
    • What are your requirements today; tomorrow? This metric matters quite a bit. When partnering with a data center provider to create a cloud, colocation, or a powerful managed services environment it’s very important to know your current base and what the future holds. Effectively, a good data center partnership can help you build a “business-in-a-box.” This methodology allows you to rapidly provision and de-provision resources as user counts increase or decrease and workloads evolve. In some cases, a managed services option may work optimally to offload the user control process. By understanding how your needs may evolve early in the process – your organization can create the right type of platform with the right kinds of resources.
  • Effective planning around cloud scalability.
    • Capacity, visibility & control are critical. Just because resources are located in the cloud, does not mean there are endless amounts of them. This is where “out of sight, out of mind” can become a serious issue. Remember, scalability and business continuity have always been a core part of the business process. For some organizations, maintaining up time and resiliency are the top priority. Regardless of your priority, a fully-managed hybrid IT solution can help you proactively maintain control of the environment. This is especially true for production workloads that reside in a hosted cloud– where you’ll want to keep a vigilant eye on the entire data center control process. Cloud can have great scalability. However, that scale is impeded upon when there is limited visibility and control within the environment.
  • Working with the business and your data center requirements.
    • What is the corporate direction? This is the business side of the conversation. Corporate direction can have a lot of impact on the entire data center process.
      • Is the company going deploying more web-facing resources?
      • Are they answering the Windows 10 question with VDI?
      • Are they deploying more cloud options in the future?
      • Are they creating more cloud replication and storage requirements?

All of these decision points must be addressed when creating a business vision with IT in mind. The other core component is including your data center partner in the process. By correlating the corporate direction with the capabilities of your data center, you are able to better forecast the performance of your entire technology infrastructure.

  • Management and control. Here is the big question that revolves around data center management and control – Are you capable of truly controlling your environment -Proactively? Direct visibility means connecting the logical and physical components of a data center into one unit. This means having a good management platform in place to help control your colocation, cloud solution, or managed services offering. Because so many critical business functions reside on IT infrastructure today, outages and downtime cost more money now than ever before. Simply put, there are more vital business components within the data center that need supporting. These platforms require greater amounts of uptime and resiliency. The only way to provide this type of agility is through thorough, proactive, management controls—ideally delivered via a single pane of glass that spans cloud, managed hosting, data center or a hybrid mix of all three.

Your cloud strategy will directly enable your business to be more effective in today’s digital economy. You’ll be capable of supporting more users, more workloads, and evolved capabilities around workload delivery. Most of all – you’ll create a powerful competitive model which can evolve with the demands of the industry. In working with your own strategies, follow these four concepts to better align with your business, your users, and your go-to-market strategies. Remember, IT is a direct enabler of the business; so make sure your using the cloud model to its upmost capabilities.

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About The Author

Bill Kleyman

Vice President of Strategy and Innovation at MTM Technologies

Bill is an enthusiastic technologist with experience in datacenter design, management, and deployment. His architecture work includes large virtualization and cloud deployments as well as business network design and implementation. Bill enjoys writing, blogging, and educating colleagues around everything that is technology. During the day, Bill is the Vice President of Strategy and Innovation at MTM Technologies, where he interacts with enterprise organizations and helps align IT strategies with direct business goals. Bill’s whitepapers, articles, video blogs and podcasts have been published and referenced on InformationWeek, NetworkComputing, TechTarget, DarkReading, Data Center Knowledge, CBS Interactive, Slashdot, and many others. Most recently, Bill was ranked #16 in the Onalytica study which reviewed the top 100 most influential individuals in the cloud landscape, globally.

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