Thinking about moving to the cloud? Here are some of the options that you should consider in order to help you make a decision.
Work towards long-term goals: That means avoid the temptations offering quick and easy solutions. Consider the long-term benefits such as built-in elasticity and scaling, service operations, and patch management. These features make it a worthwhile investment that will pay dividends both on the technology and business sides of the house.
Don’t go overboard start with something simple: If you want to feel comfortable with your decision, start with smaller applications with fewer dependencies as a way kick start your Windows Azure journey. That gives management and the IT section of the company a way to progress and do the cost benefit analysis.
Know what outcomes you want the company to achieve: Is it cost savings; is it time to market; is it 24/7 operational dependency? Regardless, know what you want to achieve and design the solution accordingly.
What exactly do you want from the cloud?
Are you building a new application or are you able to adapt an existing application to operate in the cloud? While there are definite cost savings for doing the latter as oppose to the former, Cloud operations can bring the most current physical and software technology at your disposal. So there is cost savings in the long run.
Are you interested in storage or processing? If you want to use the cloud for storage operations the IT impact will be less than if you want to do processing.
Storage on the cloud has a low cost and durability factor making it extremely practical to start collecting and storing data that you otherwise would have thrown away. This opens up data mining opportunities to start looking at your data for patterns and insights that you did not see before.
Do you have a predictable pattern of usage with your applications? Alternatively, do you have spikey and unpredictable usage patterns?
The ability to look at your data and view its usage frequency lets you see how to use its underlying network and hardware. You many only need to allocate enough computer operations to satisfy the immediate needs of the application. When you need more servers, spin up more servers. When finished shut them down.
Is having a global presence for your application necessary? There is an internal presence (inside your own enterprise), a local presence (with local customers or clients), and global presence (with worldwide operations). So where are your applications going to fit? Windows Azure has multiple data centers worldwide. There are a lot more content delivery networks for caching your static data and this makes it easy to target a worldwide audience. Moreover, there is a service called Traffic Manager. It lets you define a policy for routing your users to the closest data center to reduce latency.
Do you have solutions that require access to services that exist inside secure networks?
The current news about hacking should make everyone concerned about the security features on the cloud. Moreover there are instances, because of those concerns that prohibit some operations from moving away from your local environment.
If you are in a regulated industry or have information that you cannot move into the cloud, you can target specific services by using the Service Bus to relay messages through your firewall, benefiting from a service-oriented approach on-premises. In addition, you can also segregate your systems by using queuing technologies, such as where you drop a message into queue in the cloud and pick it up from a local machine.
These operations show that pursing the Azure Cloud or any Cloud system for that matter can change the operations of any company. They can allow for more business growth and offer opportunities to do IT operations that previously were limited to very large companies with very sophisticated IT operations in place. That may not be necessary any longer.