Rahul Bakshi is the Vice President, Managed Services Solution Design at SunGard Availability Services
Now that more enterprises are starting to embrace IaaS and the cloud, here are some key considerations when making the cloud move:
First and foremost – prior to evaluating providers – it is critically important for an organization to know and understand how its applications are architected and the benefits it is looking to obtain from an IaaS solution. This includes, but is not limited to – testing and certifying on virtualization, testing performance characteristics, and understanding any application interdependencies. Similarly, enterprises need to articulate what they are hoping to achieve from a cloud solution. Is it capacity on demand – reduced provisioning, services and infrastructure as needed? A solution addressing those needs could look completely different from one where the goal is improved service delivery via automation and integration which reduces the costs and dependencies associated with building foundational solutions.
Secondly, as all clouds are not created equal, enterprises also need to weigh their own security and compliance requirements as they evaluate options. Different solutions providers offer different levels of security, and some providers cater specifically to vertical markets that might have particular compliance requirements. How the service provider delivers the service (architecture, support structure, reporting capabilities) must be align with the business requirements. For instance, PCI Level 1 merchants will likely not use a shared fabric whereas those processing lower volumes of transactions may, if the appropriate controls are in place.
Lastly there is the question of managed versus unmanaged cloud. An organization needs to understand the line of demarcation between what the cloud vendor provides and what the customer picks up on its end. For example, is the solution managed all the way up through the operating system (virtual machine) and then the customer focuses on its applications? Or is the customer primarily looking to capitalize on a provider’s investment in infrastructure and offsetting capex? And organizations that are looking for managed services need to ensure that those services are backed by SLAs around availability and/or performance.