Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Sematext Blog, Carmen Gonzalez, ManageEngine IT Matters

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Deploying the Cloud? Make 2013 the Year to Do It Right

Leverage the benefits of cloud technology across the enterprise

It's no secret that the cloud is growing at an exponential rate. By 2016, two-thirds of the world's server workloads will exist in the cloud. But according to Cisco's 2012 Cloud Index, less than half of server workloads currently run in the cloud. Closing the gap between current capabilities and future requirements is a mission-critical priority for businesses across a range of industries. Without adequate planning and preparation, the race to the cloud can easily become a long slog through a minefield of missed opportunities, user failures and IT nightmares. As more and more workloads make their way to the cloud each year, enterprises have a vested interest in expanding network capabilities and evolving critical data center infrastructure to accommodate an ever-increasing array of cloud-based applications and data storage requirements.

Key Trends in Cloud Technology
Several trends are driving the migration of applications and data to the cloud.

  1. Agility. Cloud deployment enables businesses to improve performance and functionality quickly, launching new applications without a corresponding need for additional infrastructure. Agility is especially important in new and young companies, many of which lack the time and resources to deploy a range of diverse applications internally.
  2. Consumerization of IT. The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend is enabling companies to expand the use of technology through the use of employee-owned devices. The cloud is playing an important role in helping organizations keep up with the pace of BYOD and deliver anytime, anywhere access to workers.
  3. Cost Drivers. Financial metrics are also a motivating factor in the race to the cloud. In general, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is cheaper, faster and easier than traditional deployment models - reducing the cost of infrastructure, physical space and IT labor.

Preparing for the Cloud
Successful preparation for future cloud workloads requires planning. By strategically adapting your network capacity, data center and other critical IT functions, you can substantially improve your organization's ability to operate in the cloud.

Today's networks must be capable of handling constant interactions characterized by rich media and heavy content, particularly as users migrate away from email toward interactions via social media and other channels. Consequently, networks and data centers must expand to support instant access to many different types of content beyond email. The first step of network expansion is a comprehensive assessment of your organization's app portfolio. In most cases, executive decision-makers are unaware of the scope of applications that are running in the organization. Once all of the applications that are currently running in your organization have been identified, they need to be ranked and categorized according to future requirements. While some applications may need to remain in-house, others can be migrated to a public cloud or secure public cloud environment. From there, the organization can begin to evaluate how to expand the network to manage future workloads.

As virtualization becomes more prevalent in data centers and companies adopt a cloud-based strategy, network architects need to rethink and redesign their current infrastructure to adapt to the new traffic patterns. What once used to be primarily "North-South" network traffic flow is now becoming "East-West." Environments are becoming highly dynamic; workloads are moving to different physical locations on the network as virtual servers are migrated and clients move about the building. The architectures and networking techniques of yesterday are not necessarily well suited to the architectures and applications of today and tomorrow. A thorough understanding of networking and the infrastructure that is its foundation as well its relationship to applications is necessary when architecting a data center network that is capable of not just supporting but adapting to future challenges that arise as a result of virtualization and cloud computing. The solution must address all aspects of application delivery - security, availability, performance, and visibility - while exhibiting the qualities and characteristics that define cloud architectures including affordability and elastic scalability. The data must be protected against attacks, intrusions, breaches, and leaks and categorized based on its importance and network resource needs with Quality-of-Service (QoS) capabilities.

Storage and Backup is another key to preparing for cloud migration. Security is a top-of-mind issue in the cloud. Although cloud deployments offer real benefits, your organization needs to know that sensitive data will remain secure. The process for preparing for cloud-based data storage and backup mirrors the process for evaluating network expansion requirements. Starting with an assessment of current data sources and storage routines, the organization needs to evaluate what types of data can eventually either integrate with or be completely migrated to the cloud. Equipped with this information, the organization can begin to identify the technology gaps that need to be addressed to meet future cloud storage and backup requirements.

Purpose-built appliances provide fast backup and restore, and deliver local-like performance while using the cloud for secure off-site storage, avoiding the need to provision and manage a secondary site for Disaster Recovery (DR) or long-term storage. This can dramatically reduce capital spending, streamline IT infrastructure, and enable payback periods that are measured in months, not years. Appliances can be combined with existing data protection applications and private or public clouds, creating a low cost, highly scalable storage tier for old or infrequently accessed data. Appliances also allow organizations of all sizes to modernize their data protection architecture, eliminate tape, improve scalability, and improve Disaster Recovery readiness. Cloud storage allow organizations to leverage a pay-for-use pricing model and anywhere availability.

Increased virtualization will alleviate some of the cloud migration challenges upfront. Cloud technology enables organizations to move servers to the cloud and back in an integrated and strategic manner. In fact, the use of virtualization can also play an important role in preparing the organization's culture and stakeholders for future cloud deployments. By increasing the use of virtualization now, you can encourage greater acceptance of the cloud across your enterprise. In essence, virtualization can serve as a bridge to the cloud.

It is the key technology that enables the cloud, and without it there is no cloud. The ability to separate the OS and application from the hardware allows it to be the foundation required for on-demand cloud services. The encapsulation offered in virtualization and the mobility that enables a live virtual machine to be moved with no downtime for the application is what the cloud is built on. If you look at virtualization / cloud computing as a whole, it really is not about a product, but a journey. Companies initially enter the world of virtualization because they just can't keep up with the increased scale, complexity, and management requirements while maintaining their current traditional infrastructure. This leads them to the first step in the virtualization journey, which is to consolidate their resources/infrastructure to get better utilization of their servers and to reduce their energy cost. Higher levels of abstraction allow companies to take advantage of the intelligence built into the virtualization software. Intelligent software that allows High Availability (HA) and Replication, load balancing, pooled resources, self-automation/orchestration, service definitions or service profiles, templates, policies, self-service portal, service catalog(s), security and identity management, system monitoring/system management, capacity planning, billing and chargeback, and licensing.

It's important to understand that the ability to handle future cloud-based workloads will present different challenges and concerns for the stakeholders in your organization; users are motivated by ease-of-use and increased access to applications and data, CIOs are focused on control, ownership and data and application security and CFOs are primarily concerned about the cost savings, rate of return and opex versus capex, etc. By thoughtfully and strategically preparing for future cloud opportunities, your organization can address these concerns and fully leverage the benefits of cloud technology across the enterprise.

More Stories By Pete Schmitt

Pete Schmitt is Vice President of Engineering at Customer Storage Inc. Since 2002, cStor has helped companies strategize, create, and implement best in class data center solutions that address business needs. cStor’s proven capabilities with key data center technologies provides clients with a fresh perspective, the ability to collaborate with recognized data center experts, and the confidence that goals will be met.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
The idea of comparing data in motion (at the sensor level) to data at rest (in a Big Data server warehouse) with predictive analytics in the cloud is very appealing to the industrial IoT sector. The problem Big Data vendors have, however, is access to that data in motion at the sensor location. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Scott Allen, CMO of FreeWave, discussed how as IoT is increasingly adopted by industrial markets, there is going to be an increased demand for sensor data from the outermos...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, director/senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2017 New York. The 20th Cloud Expo and 7th @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Internet to enable us all to im...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Unsecured IoT devices were used to launch crippling DDOS attacks in October 2016, targeting services such as Twitter, Spotify, and GitHub. Subsequent testimony to Congress about potential attacks on office buildings, schools, and hospitals raised the possibility for the IoT to harm and even kill people. What should be done? Does the government need to intervene? This panel at @ThingExpo New York brings together leading IoT and security experts to discuss this very serious topic.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"At ROHA we develop an app called Catcha. It was developed after we spent a year meeting with, talking to, interacting with senior citizens watching them use their smartphones and talking to them about how they use their smartphones so we could get to know their smartphone behavior," explained Dave Woods, Chief Innovation Officer at ROHA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.