Is Your Application Ready for the Cloud?

Jim Hannan (@jim_m_hannan), Principal Architect

Next week House of Brick is hosting a webinar, Straight Talk on Business Critical Applications in the Cloud, as part of the From IT Ops to Cloud Ops BrightTalk Summit. A description of my presentation is below:

As much as the term Cloud Computing gets tossed around these days you would think everyone’s using it. But do cloud predictions really match real world use? If you aren’t “in the cloud” are you already behind the competition? 

During this presentation, we will discuss the pros and cons of moving applications to the cloud, with a particular focus on business critical applications. We will share our experiences working with clients to determine if their applications are “cloud ready” through a review of availability, costs, and operational impacts. Examples of successful use cases in the public cloud will be explored including emerging technologies, DRaaS, new applications, older applications running on older hardware, and startups. 

You’ll leave with a better understanding of the types of applications that are best suited for the cloud, a list of questions you should be asking when considering moving to the cloud, and a checklist you can use to evaluate your application’s cloud readiness.

In this blog, I will provide a checklist you can use to determine if your application is truly ready for the Cloud. I will also share some successful use cases for selecting your first Cloud deployment.

Cloud Readiness Checklist

  • Define and understand the application’s security and compliance requirement. Does the provider you are considering meet those needs?
  • Establish your application SLAs before beginning your search for Cloud Providers. SLA definitions are commonly not understood, or overlooked completely, by cloud customers.
  • Understand the cloud provider’s best practices – providers often vary in the architecture and technology they use. However, they usually have published best practices and deployment guides for you to review.
  • Determine which services cloud provider is responsible for vs. the services your organization has responsibilities for. For example, where in the stack are you responsible for security or availability?
  • Assess your software costs when moving to the cloud – providers’ architecture can vary from provider to provider, impacting your licensing costs, especially with products from Oracle and SQL Server. Licensing can often be as much, or more than, hosting fees.
  • Research your options – providers differ in what services and accessibility/visibility they allow. Can you do performance testing? Can you do probes or scans to test for security vulnerabilities?
  • Explore the billing structures and processes of the various cloud providers. Differences can have significant impact on cost and scalability, if the application requires it.
  • Evaluate if more than one provider is the best fit – using multiple providers can be to your advantage, and is something you should consider as part of selecting a provider.


First Cloud Deployment & Use Cases

For your first Cloud deployment, House of Brick recommends picking something that is not business critical. The intent here is to get familiar with the Cloud and it’s technologies. Applications that make good candidates for this first step are legacy applications on aging hardware, or that are merely used to lookup historical data. Another option is testing emerging technologies that your business is evaluating. This allows you to test the software without purchasing hardware, do so within a specific time frame, and keep it isolated from you production environment. Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) can be a good first deployment for Cloud, allowing you to become more familiar with Cloud hosting without risking your business critical application, while reducing the cost of a DR solution.

Join me for next week’s webinar to hear more straight talk on putting your applications in the cloud.


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