Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon, regularly helps with promoting startups which use Amazon EC2. Moving to the cloud is somewhat different when you’re an established (enterprise) business. You have a big IT landscape based on technologies that have been around for a while. Even long before the cloud existed. The vendors of the software you use are just slowly starting to support cloud deployments. But the cloud has a lot to offer for corporate enterprises:
- Higher flexibility
- Lower (start up) costs (Capex to Opex)
- Performance and scaling when needed
- Faster time to market gives your enterprise the innovation power of a startup
If you are serious about taking advantage of the benefits of the cloud, we have these five tips which will make it easier to migrate your enterprise applications to the cloud.
1. Take a hybrid infrastructure approach
Nobody is telling you that you should outsource your entire IT landscape into the cloud. Find out which of your IT services are best suited to run in a public cloud infrastructure. For example: which of your IT services are only heavily used in a short period of time? There are several technologies that will help you to create a connection between your in-house IT and services in the cloud.
A nice example of a hybrid approach which some companies use is Cloud Bursting: host your online service in your own datacenter and “burst” your services into the cloud only during peak times when your own infrastructure needs more resources. After such a peak, you can turn off 80% of your resources in the cloud.
2. Migrate into multiple phases
If you want to profit from all the benefits cloud computing has to offer, you need to rebuild your existing application infrastructure. Considering the complexity of enterprise IT projects, this is not something you can do in a few weeks or even a couple of months. Instead, divide the migration into multiple phases. First move your applications into the cloud with as little modifications as possible. While you are getting used to running in the cloud you can start the next phase of rebuilding your applications to take full advantage of cloud computing technologies.
3. Know your options for licensing and support
You are probably using commercial software with complicated licensing and support models. Before you migrate this software to the cloud you need to know if your software license allows this. Can you bring your licenses to the cloud? Do you need a different license? Another important question to ask is whether your software vendor will offer the same level of support when deployed to the cloud.
4. Check with your legal department
If you store privacy sensitive data or business critical information you need to make sure you still adhere to company regulations. Some companies and/or countries don’t allow privacy sensitive data to be stored in another country so you need to know where you data will be stored.
5. Find an cloud outsourcing partner you can trust
As mentioned before; the cloud isn’t the holy grail, but it can be a beneficial solution when some parts of your business and IT need more flexibility, higher performance or more innovation power without the necessity of large one-off investments.
Try to find a partner which provides you with an objective insight in your current infrastructure. Define together which business needs will be critical for your infrastructure design. There’s a big chance you’ll start with a hybrid infrastructure based on your current data centers and the cloud.
Jitscale has almost 15 years of experience with designing, implementing and supporting business critical IT infrastructures for corporate enterprises. Since it’s early days Jitscale has been supporting these organisations with cloud, hybrid or physical infrastructures. This expertise and track-record makes us the perfect partner to help you to get the most out of the benefits of cloud computing.
Lessons learned from the demise of Nirvanix
In mid September, cloud storage company Nirvanix announced they were going to close their business within two weeks. Their customers, including some large companies, were given four weeks to move their data somewhere else. In the media, this was seen by some as a sign that the cloud is not a safe solution for your data or platforms. At Jitscale we totally disagree with this point of view.
Nirvanix has been paving the road of internet storage services since 2008, known under various names and products. But it is a company that has been in trouble for a long period of time and has been operating in a consolidating market dominated by a handful of global players. One can wonder why anybody would store critical data and platforms with a company like Nirvanix. It almost sounds like complaints from Saab buyers who bought a Saab in the last weeks before its demise and are now complaining that their dealer is gone. Who’s to blame?
But what would you do if this happened to your cloud provider and thus to your data? It’s an important question to ask yourself, as digital data is one of your most important assets.
Jitscale has compiled a list of the five most important design principles for keeping your data safe.
1. Never put all your eggs in one basket
In traditional enterprise IT architectures it’s common practice (and often required due to company regulations) to archive your backups in separate physical locations. When using a cloud storage service, the same rules apply.
2. Architect for failure
Assume your storage service provider will fail one day. Even if they stay in business, technical failures in their service can also disrupt your business. Develop a Disaster Recovery procedure beforehand that will allow you to switch over to a different storage solution. Practice this procedure at least once a year.
3. Make sure you can trust your provider
Because it’s critical that you trust your storage service provider, ask yourself these important questions:
- Do they have a Disaster Recovery procedure in place?
- Do they have any industry standard certifications (for example ISO27001 for Information Security or ISO9001 for Quality Management)?
- Is my storage service provider financially healthy?
- What measures do they have in place to prevent their employees accessing your data?
4. Encrypt your data
In the near future, encrypting your data will be a standard practice for all data, no matter if it’s sensitive or not. Stay ahead of the industry and make it a routine practice to use encryption now. If your encryption keys are not stored together with your data, you don’t have to worry about your data being sold on eBay after the storage service provider goes bankrupt.
5. Use a multi vendor approach
The Jitscale Management layer supports multiple cloud vendors. In addition to keeping your business online 24/7 and automatically scaling your infrastructure on demand, Jitscale Management Layer also makes it easy to switch to a different cloud vendor within hours or days. Ideally, we would design dual cloud-provider architecture for you and manage the backups via our Jitscale Management Layer to a different cloud provider automatically.
Multiple Jitscale employees recently obtained the Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK). The CCSK certification is the first certification program in the industry for secure cloud computing. The program is awarded to professionals with a responsibility related to cloud computing that have demonstrated in-depth knowledge of the security threats and best practices for securing the cloud. At this moment several other employees are working on obtaining the certificate. Read more
As we all know, the world of cloud computing is changing rapidly. At the same time, cloud computing is changing the world rapidly. The perception of the risks of outsourcing ones data is becoming more realistic, and therefore in 2012 a lot of traditional organizations decided to join the cloud and the number of enterprises using the cloud continues to grow. But what will the cloud bring us in 2013? Read more
As the Jitscale’s sales director in the United States, I meet with a variety of companies to discuss their IT needs and explore how Jitscale can help. I have also come in contact with other IT companies and learned what services they offer. From my position in the field, I understand what businesses want from an IT solution provider. Here is some of what I have learned. Read more