System News
Considering a Migration to the Cloud?
Sun Offers a Handy Guide to the Process
September 30, 2009,
Volume 139, Issue 5

Cloud computing in a nutshell

Despite this Sun paper's relative brevity, "Kickstart Your Transition to the Cloud" (login or registration required) presents users new to the cloud with much of the information necessary to assess an enterprise's operations and the compatibility of those operations with the features of cloud computing. As the paper notes, the prevailing centralized, hierarchical business operational model is being supplanted by the rapid response, distributed model that is cloud computing.

Citing the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which observes that "cloud computing is an operational model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction," the paper proceeds with an outline of the steps an enterprise should follow in considering a migration to the cloud.

These steps begin with a strategic analysis whose purpose determines the company's readiness to migrate. This analysis considers both the company's current IT operations and their compatibility with the features of the cloud. A cloud computing model, the paper goes on to say, can provide a more flexible and responsive IT environment to support the rapidly changing needs of a distributed enterprise model. Sun Professional Services stands ready to assist in the planning, architecting, implementation and support for a cloud computing environment that is congruent to the particular requirements of an enterprise.

The paper presents an outline of the cloud strategic planning and analysis process, considering all of the current cloud types: infrastructure as a service; platform as a service; and software as a service, noting as well the traits common to all three types. The paper suggests that migrations to the cloud typically follow a pattern, with enterprises first adopting infrastructure as a service; then platform as a service; and finally software as a service. In addition to this consideration of cloud types, the paper also reviews cloud categories, specifically the public cloud, the private cloud and the hybrid cloud, noting in brief the applicability of each.

Several aspects of the migration are also reviewed, including legal issues, industry-specific considerations, and applications that should move to the cloud, based on cost'/benefit considerations.

In the course of a migration, the paper notes, it is not uncommon for applications to be deployed on both the traditional non-cloud infrastructure and on the cloud as well. Such instances include testing and development situations, functional off-load, augmentation, and web services.

The paper also identifies the sequential stages that every migration to the cloud -- whether public, private, or hybrid -- follows:

  • Analysis of the present state
  • Virtualizing, consolidating and retiring equipment
  • Optimizing operations
  • Transitioning to the cloud, which entails physical resource virtualization; self-provisioning; programmatic control; dynamic resource allocation; and pay-per-use

In working with a migrating client, Sun's cloud services typically begins by prescribing a set of steps that involve applying industry best practices and evaluation techniques to the analysis of the current enterprise environment and the identification of cloud computing opportunities. These steps include:

  • Business alignment
  • Organizational considerations
  • IT technology and operations
  • Cloud implementation methodology: discovery; synthesis; design; execution and realization; sustainability. Each of these is discussed in brief.

The paper concludes with thoughts on security in the cloud, noting the measures in place to ensure security, even in situations involving shared hardware resources, transport of sensitive data over public networks, storing that information outside enterprise control, and entrusting core business processing to external organizations.

More Information

Cloud Computing with Sun

Architectural Strategies for Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing Growth Factors

Read More ... [ more...]



Other articles in the Cloud Computing section of Volume 139, Issue 5:
  • Considering a Migration to the Cloud? (this article)

See all archived articles in the Cloud Computing section.

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