What Not to Put in the Cloud

The cloud promises unlimited capacity, pennies per hour to operate, 4+ nines of uptime and infrastructure managed by a dedicated staff. Even technical challenges around security and compliance can be achieved and are no longer suspect. So why wouldn't you send everything to the cloud?

By Jake Robinson, solutions architect, Bluelock
Mon, November 26, 2012

Network World — This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter's approach.

The cloud promises unlimited capacity, pennies per hour to operate, 4+ nines of uptime and infrastructure managed by a dedicated staff. Even technical challenges around security and compliance can be achieved and are no longer suspect. So why wouldn't you send everything to the cloud?

Obviously there is much more involved than tossing out your current plan and bringing in a "magic cloud" to solve all problems. Some apps are a better fit for a private cloud or no cloud at all. Some apps are a better fit for public cloud. And, often the same app's best-fit environment isn't the same for its entire existence. That makes the answer to the question, "What should I put in cloud?" a bit more complicated.

TROUBLESHOOTING: 5 signs that you've lost control over your cloud apps

Cloud success is all about strategy. If all your team is worried about is cutting your IT budget and that's your only success metric, cloud may not be right for you. But the benefits can't be reaped by simply dumping the old infrastructure for new, and your goals can't be reached if you try to manage the new infrastructure with an old way of thinking.

If, however, your strategy is to reduce overall cost of managing your IT infrastructure, and you tackle the project with an eye toward transforming your way of thinking, cloud could be a good fit for you.

Not only do you need a strategy for how cloud will work with your existing infrastructure, but you also need a strategy for each application or workload you're evaluating. One popular strategy to optimizing your cloud is to look at specific workloads and applications and determine which placement will help achieve the highest ROI at what time.

The cloud application life cycle

The life cycle of an application is dynamic. In the beginning when the application is new and less known, you can make educated guesses about what kind of bandwidth, storage memory and compute it will need. But new workloads can be bursty and behave unexpectedly. The cloud is perfect for new and emerging applications because they are low risk. You can commit fewer resources than you think you need and then burst into more resources as you watch and learn how it behaves. Emerging applications could be anything from test/development all the way up to the mission-critical application.

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