Friday, October 26, 2012

Key Factors To Consider When Moving to Cloud

The technology market world-wide is migrating to Cloud Computing where many organizations host and run most of their applications on cloud infrastructure. Cloud computing is a means to utilize the cloud infrastructure or any cloud hosted software by subscription or pay-per-use service.

If you are migrating your applications to a public or private cloud, as always cloud solution providers may promise you—easy and fast deployment, high-end security, lower cost and more. But at this juncture, it is of utmost importance to be aware of the critical factors to be considered while migrating to cloud beyond all the marketing proclamations.

Integration Issues with Cloud Computing
It is imperative for companies to think about the Integration going in, while deciding to embrace a SaaS based application or PaaS model for any of your software requirement. Integration plays a vital role when companies depend on more than one application for their business process, necessitating a smooth flow of data across them. With issues in integration, the very purpose of employing the application is left unmet.
Therefore before deciding on a cloud vendor, make sure you gain an in-depth understanding about the integration process and issues, to handle them effectively even before starting to migrate which will make the whole course smooth.

Hidden Costs Revelation
Cloud computing helps enterprises save money on software purchases or licences. With cost structure in the form of subscription fees, enterprises can evade huge investments on infrastructure and pay per usage. However before migrating your application to cloud it is essential to look at your monthly and yearly package options along with the many aspects like number of subscriptions, services, bandwidth limitations, one-time migration costs, integration costs, offers, and support and exit charges. Also understand the complete pricing model for version upgrades, increase in database, number of users, data storage, back-ups, features, etc.

Keep an eye on your package regularly for its limitations like data storage, bandwidth usage, back-ups, data base size, etc., which in-turn helps you manage your charges well. Finally, look for ways to increase the ROI and success metrics of the application.

Cloud Security: Who’s Responsible?
Security is one of the top concerns for companies and end users leveraging from cloud. Cloud vendors must ideally provide reliable services with security at multiple layers—data, application, infrastructure and end user. Cloud security issues are more complex for users who do not hold zero responsibility.

According to a recent survey conducted by Ponemon Institute on the Security of Cloud Computing Providers, both customers and providers seldom take the responsibilities for data security on cloud. In fact, most of the providers believe that it is customer’s responsibility to secure their data—which is unfair. While both the parties point out each other for data infringement, in reality, both are equally responsible if data is hacked.

It is important that customers take necessary actions for data security, without feeling that cloud solution will handle security concerns on its own. Hence you can check with the vendors as to what they offer for data protection while in addition protecting your data with secure passwords for data access and constantly updating them.

Will Cloud Computing Lead to Privacy Obliteration?
Cloud computing brings numerous benefits to enterprises. However most of us hardly know what is the case behind the scene when it comes to privacy of your data and personal information which is on cloud. The privacy of your data majorly depends on the type of cloud that you choose.
If for example, the cloud application works on an advertising revenue model, your personal information is bound to be grabbed. Vendors will protect your data when you pay for using the applications like business emailing, news portals, software applications, etc and hence choose your vendor keeping your data security in mind.

Speed of Data Restoration—Disaster Recovery
Cloud network goes down at any point of time; but what really matters is how swiftly they recover from a disaster and how their infrastructure is designed for such a downtime recovery. Very few cloud providers unveil the metrics data of uptime and illustrate reports of their past. You can ask providers about their past experiences on disasters, maintenance schedules and their customer’s feedback which will all provide you with a holistic idea of their service. Some of the leading vendors like publish statistics on a public web page.

In some cases data will be lost when cloud network is down, where it is highly impossible to recover the lost data. Data back-up is the only best way for data recovery which can solve data protection issues on the cloud and also help to restore data quickly when you need it. Organizations need to check the performance data reports of previous issues for reference. You should not only depend on the cloud solution or providers for data restore, but it’s better to take data back-up every time it’s been updated.

Switching Vendors on the Cloud
If you have hosted your application with one vendor and decide to migrate to another, it is not usually easy and with cloud it’s often appalling. Organizations should know how easy or hard it is to get the data out from their existing cloud and move it to another cloud. In some cases this goes hand in hand with integration and you need to be aware of data migration across the cloud solutions. You also need to check the strengths, weaknesses, costs, security features and performance capabilities of the other vendor. Test the performance of the new cloud soon after everything is set and migration is in full swing.

Enabling Green Cloud Computing
As we see a massive growth in industrialization, there is a growing need for resources to run systems or machines. Data centers enabling cloud computing are power-hungry consuming several megawatts of power to run server farms and air-conditioners. And according to a survey conducted by Greenpeace report, nearly $450 billion dollars are spent on new data center facilities. This automatically leads to a huge impact on our environment.

However, a research by Microsoft suggests, big energy reductions from cloud helps businesses by moving on-premise business applications to cloud which can reduce their power consumption & carbon emission by 30%. Even large data centers like Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc. can use piped Columbia River water to cool down the servers. So make sure that your cloud vendor holds Greenpeace scorecard if you are an environment friendly organization.

Along with the above mentioned critical factors, feel free to comprehend all your queries and requirements whatsoever with the cloud vendors before making your final decision.


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