Cloud is huge, absolutely huge. Just take these two statistics from an overview of forecasts and survey results published by tech blog SiliconANGLE:
- As reported by InformationWeek, revenue for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is positioned to exceed $180 billion next year.
- Although cloud is streamlined, hardware is still needed, with component spending expected to hit almost $80 billion in 2018.
You can also look at the perspective of cloud portfolio manager RightScale in its 2014 State of the Cloud Report, which described the business cloud as “reaching ubiquity,” with 94% of firms using it in some manner.
As evidenced above, just about everyone agrees that cloud computing is the best solution for at least certain types of IT projects (such as storage or developmental projects). Since the general question of cloud adoption is already answered, the conversation is shifting from the benefits of the cloud itself to the best possible cloud strategies. Carlos Granda penned an article for NetworkWorld in June, in which he provided lists of actionable suggestions for organizations in various stages of “cloud maturity” – using a crawl/walk/run model that roughly reflects the Cloud Beginner/Cloud Explorer/Cloud Focused categories used in the State of the Cloud.
Cloud Adoption – The Crawl/Walk/Run Model
Granda provides the following tips for businesses in each of three different levels of cloud maturity, essentially beginning, intermediate, and advanced adoption of the technology.
Crawl – For companies that are in the “crawl” stage, the following is advised:
- Internal tech review – Figure out what services and software could be potentially moved to the cloud, classifying them as cloud-compatible.
- Market analysis – Look at the other businesses in your industry and gather data on their cloud deployments – types of systems and any specifics.
- Deployment plan – Create a detailed plan for deployment, with all variables included (such as users, software, data pursuant to compliance, compliance parameters, service-level agreements, disaster recovery, etc.), as well as all resources calculated and mandatory conditions outlined.
- Long view – Don’t just think about setting up a cloud infrastructure but what you want it to look like in 2015, 2016, and onward (such as moving toward a hybrid from a multi-cloud environment).
- Short gains – Although you want to open your perspective to consider the years ahead, you should also use the discovery process to craft easily achievable goals. Granda agrees with Matt Watts, who argued on October 6 in CIO that going after low-hanging virtual fruit builds confidence and momentum.
Walk – If your organization is in the intermediate “walk” phase, these tips apply:
- · Looking at your assessments from the Deployment Plan above, survey various providers to understand which ones meet your resource needs and conditions.
- · When providers make claims about their systems – such as amount of downtime or security credentials – ask for that information “in writing” so you know the company is ethical and that the services is “as promoted.”
- · You do not want any hosting provider to go bankrupt, so gather information related to the financial soundness of the company.
- · Veto power – You don’t need to approve any cloud provider characteristic. To make vetoing certain companies easier, record any elements that are financially or operationally unacceptable.
- · You also want a cloud provider to be knowledgeable of the industry, have established expertise over a wide timeframe, and possess a system that can be easily integrated with your own – allowing the ideas for your cloud environment to be represented in the architecture.
Run – Finally, at the advanced “run” stage, here are Granda’s tips, bearing in mind that he works for a cloud migration service, hence that point of focus:
- Start developing a vendor selection action plan.
- Try out a plan that suits RASS (resource allocation selection system) specifications
- Look at options for mobility and migration, since management can become challenging in a multi-cloud scenario dominated by diversity.
- Figure out how to best migrate to other clouds, developing a migration schedule if applicable.
- Move all your data over to the new cloud provider, and get started in an environment that better meet your needs, with a more cohesive approach.
Granda said, unclearly, that this year is a “tipping point” for business cloud deployments. That doesn’t seem quite accurate: there are just too many different factors involved in this increasingly large and complex industry. Certainly more organizations are adopting cloud solutions all the time – partially thanks to heightened focus on private and hybrid solutions that allow greater degrees of control and security. Regardless of the “tipping point” idea, Granda makes a valid point that organizations should be prepared well ahead of time with cloud strategies – including an analysis of how a cloud transition with impact the operations, structure, and workforce of your organization. If a transition is performed successfully, after all, the reward is rich: easy to scale, customizable, affordable, creativity-optimized computing.
Crawlers, Walkers & Runners Wanted
Regardless how far along you are in terms of cloud maturity, you want a company that will always be there when you need support. “You helped me set up my server,” wrote our customer Leonid Shalinov last year. “That was so fast.… You saved my life today and a ton of sales.” Get started with a performance-guaranteed cloud VPS today.
By Kent Roberts