Cloud Design for Enterprises: Three Key Factors That Fuel Successful Choices and Deployment

By: James O'Brien| - Leave a comment


Enterprise’s move to the cloud is a major factor in the way technology and business are evolving. Already, some 42 percent of IT leadership reported spending significant resources on cloud computing in 2015, according to a recent Forbes report, and 52 percent of enterprises with more than 1,000 employees were expected to increase cloud spending this year.

There are key factors, however, IT leaders need to address when they approach their enterprise’s cloud design — from discerning which workloads are best suited to the cloud to choosing what particular infrastructure best aligns with the advantages the cloud brings. Consider the following three approaches to cloud design and the associated best practices to help ensure your own business’s deployment is positioned for success.

Identify Key Workloads to Migrate

When it comes to enterprise systems and applications, use and criticality largely dictate the suitability of a workload for cloud migration, as IBM recently examined in a white paper on cloud design. In other words, assess the business impact of a system or app and the associated data.

If your team needs to ensure that a spike in user demand can be quickly met by scaling a cloud-based server suite, then the identified workload may be suited for cloud infrastructure. However, if an off-site outage would sever a key linkage in the way work flows through your organization, that workload might rest better in IT’s hands directly. This is a factor to consider when it comes to any server, storage or computing system.

Internal Private Networks Vs. Public Cloud Solutions

For enterprises, a budget-friendly cloud choice can be found within a public cloud architecture such as the kind offered by large companies that work at scale.

As noted on CSO Online, however, the public cloud can present security considerations since a great deal of data and operations are housed within a quasi-communal ecosystem. A private network solution gives IT more control, but it’s also more expensive and typically requires internal resources for maintenance and responsiveness.

The key to making the right decision usually rests in the type and sensitivity of the data with which the enterprise works and the size of the operation. Public clouds often solve these resource availability problems that would put smaller teams at a disadvantage.

A third cloud design solution is the hybrid system, in which a third party provides the enterprise with a turnkey product. This typically consists of tested and certified hardware and software that supplies a private solution with additional external support.

SLAs: A Defining Factor for Successful Cloud Design

Once you’ve identified workloads and the right balance between private and public cloud infrastructure, it’s time to look at service-level agreements (SLAs) and what happens when a system goes down.

Public cloud providers will outline response promises and time frames in an SLA. Private cloud solutions depend to a greater degree upon in-house IT leadership to define roles, reaction time benchmarks, latency metrics and the like, but these dependencies are at times blended with turnkey software and hardware providers.

According to the IBM white paper, in both cases, the resultant SLA goes a long way toward contextualizing the first factor addressed above: key workloads. As workloads are identified and assigned to cloud migration, the appropriateness of each choice is highly dependent on the strategy in place for responding to potential cloud interruptions as outlined in the SLA.

Other factors are clearly and deeply interdependent. Workload assessment, cloud infrastructure type (e.g., public, private or hybrid) and SLAs are all components of the IT leadership’s ability to deliver a successful deployment.

With the benefits of scalability and flexible responsiveness that cloud storage and computing can offer to users both inside the company and throughout the external consumer base comes the responsibility of implementing a carefully considered design. The right choice of infrastructure counts for a great deal. Plan your enterprise’s cloud design with care and then deploy with confidence.

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About The Author

James O'Brien

Freelance Writer

As a journalist and writer in the branded content space, James O'Brien covers business, technology, social media, marketing, film, food, wine, writing and news. The Nieman Journalism Lab has called his work in the custom content space "sponsored content done right." He has written for major regional newspapers, and he has managed and edited established, startup and turnaround newsrooms in varied markets, from community papers to major-city dailies. He consults for firms and businesses — startups to seasoned — on the creation of effective content strategies and the establishment of practical editorial calendars for enacting them. O'Brien holds a Ph.D. in Editorial Studies from the Editorial Institute at Boston University, where he researched and edited Bob Dylan's other-than-song writings. He is engaged in a bibliography for Oxford University Press, covering writings about filmmaker John Cassavetes. He is the author of "The Indie Writer's Survival Guide." His short stories and poetry are published in numerous journals and magazines.

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