So, you want to start using cloud computing in your organization? That’s awesome! Just…keep one thing in mind first, alright? Particularly if you’re building your own cloud, there are certain components and services you need to make sure your business has access to.
Because if it doesn’t, then you simply aren’t up to the challenge of maximizing the benefit the cloud could bring to your business.
The good news is that if you know what you’re doing, it’s not difficult at all to prepare for – and implement – virtually any cloud service model. And that’s where we come in. Today, we’re going to talk about what your business needs to provide in order to be cloud-ready.
Shall we begin?
Intelligent Monitoring Tools
The first requirement is the presence of an intelligent monitoring system. This platform needs to have total visibility of the entire cloud deployment – applications, infrastructure, users, network; it needs to be able to monitor everything. And it needs to be capable of determining when the behavior of a particular component is outside the acceptable norm.
“More than just knowing when an application or service is in trouble, the application delivery mechanism should be able to take action based on that information,” writes F5’s Lori MacVittie. “ If an application is responding slowly and is detected by the monitoring mechanism, then the delivery solution should adjust application requests accordingly. If the number of concurrent users accessing a service is reaching capacity, then the application delivery solution should be able to not only detect that through intelligent monitoring but participate in the provisioning of another instance of the service in order to ensure service to all clients.”
Incorporation of the cloud into an organization is supposed to improve efficiency and enhance workflows. If administrators are struggling with a complicated, obtuse deployment and management system, then it’s going to accomplish the exact opposite. Deployments aren’t going to be much quicker than they would be with traditional tools.
“To productize the functionality of cloud computing, it is important that administrators have a simple tool for defining and metering service offerings,” writes Sheng Liang of CIO. “The service management functionality should tie into the broader offering repository such that defined services can be quickly and easily deployed and managed by the end user.”
Visibility And Reporting Software
Next up – and this is especially important if you intend for your business to become a cloud vendor – you need visibility and reporting software that gives you insight into performance and usage details of your cloud. You need to be able to visualize how people are making use of your cloud services and where there might exist damaging performance bottlenecks.
“Without strong visibility and reporting mechanisms the management of customer service levels, system performance, compliance and billing becomes increasingly difficult,” explains Liang. “Data center operations have the requirement of having real-time visibility and reporting capabilities within the cloud environment to ensure compliance, security, billing and chargebacks as well as other instruments, which require high levels of granular visibility and reporting.”
One of the strongest arguments in favor of the cloud is the fact that it decentralizes application management and deployment. As long as they have an Internet connection, employees can access cloud infrastructure and SaaS applications to work from anywhere, and on virtually any device. Providing a self-service portal that allows clients to manage their cloud and employees to access cloud services is vital.
“One of the primary attributes and successes of existing cloud-based services on the market comes from the fact that self-service portals and deployment models shield the complexity of the cloud service from the end user,” advises Liang.
Last, but certainly not least, if your cloud is going to see any use in a business setting, you need to make sure any data that’s stored on it is safe and secure. Monitoring ties into this, but there’s more to cloud security than simply knowing about unauthorized access. A great deal more, according to Security Today.
Secure enterprise data requires strong authentication protocols. It requires Identity-based access control. It requires that you have a strong backup and recovery solution in place, and most importantly, it requires strong encryption.
Whether you’re a vendor or a client, it’s imperative that you understand what’s required in order for a cloud implementation to be successful. Without the right components and services in place, it doesn’t matter how much you believe the cloud will assist your organization – it probably won’t. The good news is that unless you’re building your own cloud, vendors will generally provide most of this for you – meaning you can simply focus on your business.