If you are planning to start moving your organization’s applications to the cloud I suggest you take a moment and consider this important question.
What is your cloud readiness?
Let me explain what I am asking.
To start, you just don’t go to the cloud. This phrase may sound good for cloud advertisements but it is far from the reality.
In fact, if you haven’t started analyzing your cloud readiness and flattening out your application stacks months or even years ago you may not be going to the cloud any time soon.
Low Hanging Fruit
Let’s take for example applications for human resources.
Chances are these applications are very loosely coupled to any of your key business applications and therefore could score high on a cloud readiness assessment.
In fact, your HR application may already be in the cloud running as software as a service (SaaS). And there may be other applications like this that are low hanging fruit; and because SaaS is actually the cloud, these are considered wins.
Highly Complex and Integrated Apps
Whereas you may have other applications that are key to running your organization that are highly complex and integrated into every crack and crevice of your operation:
These types of applications would score terrible on a cloud readiness assessment because they have too many dependencies for data from other applications.
In fact, once you start assessing your readiness you may find apps having 3 to 4 layers of dependencies on other applications.
Think Lego Blocks versus Play-Doh!
On the positive side of things, if many of the dependent apps have an cloud service API then this really doesn’t pose as big of a problem. The real problem is in decoupling apps from each other that are hard-coded.
Imagine how Lego Blocks connect together and then easily pull apart. Now consider taking 2 or 3 colors of Play-Doh and putting them together. Now imagine pulling the colors apart. Not so easy, right!
At this point getting to the cloud becomes frustrating because something everyone has made sound so easy has become a lifetime project to unravel all the complexity that has grown over the years.
Who knew 10 to 15 years ago you would be moving applications running perfectly fine in your data center into data centers hosted across the country by Amazon, Google, or Microsoft?
Cloud Readiness Begins Now!
There are no shortcuts for doing a cloud readiness assessment. Even with tools that can map out applications I’ve found there are always hidden connections or integration points that are missed and cause an outages when apps are cut-over from Prem to the cloud.
This is why it will take careful analysis and planning to evaluate each application being considered for the cloud.
Here’s nine tips for important questions to add to your assessment:
- What applications can we virtualize?
- What servers can be virtualized? (Can you P2V?)
- What do you do with servers that can’t be virtualized?
- Can my current network handle the bandwidth needs?
- What access-management will be required?
- Do you have the right people and expertise? (Restful/SOAP API scripters)
- Which applications will need special care because of big databases?
- Which cloud provider is the better choice for my type of workloads?
- Which cloud provider is going to offer support when thing start getting difficult?
These are just some of the questions you want to answer during your cloud readiness assessment.
Let me leave you with this thought.
When was the best time to do your readiness assessment? Probably 3 to 5 years ago so you could start flattening out all the complexity. And when’s the next best time to begin the assessment? Today!
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