Exploring new technological horizons can be very exciting, but if you do not look before you leap, you are bound for a fall. It is always “back to the basics”. Check your motives, the existing computing infrastructures, current data volumes, future growth expectations, and strengthen your foundations. Think ahead. A three to five year time frame for the think through is ideal.
Checking your motives: What is prompting you to look at Cloud infrastructures? It could be any one or all of the following factors:
- Increasing data volumes
- Increasing computing infrastructure demand
- Cost of acquiring new infrastructure
- Mobility of employees
- Expanding markets
- Social interaction with customers
- Integrating the supply chain
- Scalability of the Cloud
- High availability promises
- Disaster recovery
- Business Intelligence
- Business Continuity
It may be a good idea to rank these factors for your own understanding and then examine each factor in greater depth. The type of Cloud vendor you pick and the nuances of service you demand from your vendor may be determined by the order of ranking that is relevant to your organization.
Examine the existing infrastructures. Do your existing computing infrastructures/tools meet the current demands of your organization? Do you expect the demands to change so drastically that you need to transition some or all of your data to the Cloud? This may happen if your organization is expanding and opening up new branches in new markets or increasingly relying on mobile workers to bring in the business. It may also happen if your data volumes are increasing and you need to invest in computing infrastructure to meet the current needs.
Be incisive in your evaluation of the data and its growth patterns. Do you understand the nature of your data? Is it well categorized and classified? Has the data been de-duplicated? Is there a policy in place to archive data that is no longer in use? Do you expect the data volumes to grow over the next five years? Will the data format change to include new formats (such as video, audio and image) and data type? If your organization is rapidly moving towards big data or is generating data at multiple sources, the Cloud may be the ideal way to go.
Finally, think ahead. Provide for future changes in computing requirements and plan for an infrastructure that is customizable, expandable and flexible.