CIOs are finally ready to commit to moving applications to the Cloud. But before you do, there are a number of considerations to make sure your apps are actually cloud-ready. GCN has a quick, concise questionnaire here.
The most basic requirement for an application to be cloud ready is virtualization. While your organization doesn’t necessarily have to use virtualization as the basis for a cloud computing deployment, it’s a great gauge to determine whether or not your application can be migrated successfully. Virtualization allows a single server to function as many separate instances, and is therefore a fairly reliable benchmark. If your application can run smoothly, quickly, and efficiently independent of underlying hardware, then problems in the cloud should be minimal.
One of the most important considerations is an application’s scalability, says Marco Meinardi, a cloud computing expert and blogger. Conventional data centers are built so that their infrastructure scales; in the cloud, it is the applications that must be architected to scale easily and quickly, Meinardi said.
“The application must be designed to scale by adding different instances of the same application process –one next to another – on different machines, applying some kind of mechanism to share the workload without depending on the OS,” he said. In this way, applications in the cloud are incredibly scalable and resilient and able to respond quickly to increases in demand from users and customers. It also mitigates the risk of a hardware failure, since, as Meinardi notes, most cloud providers are using strictly commodity servers and not high-end, fault-tolerant hardware.
Along with this resiliency, Meinardi says organizations must ensure their “data store [is] partitionable.” Separating fast-growing, linear data stores into distinct blocks and storing each on different application nodes can build in redundancy, resiliency and security in the cloud, he said.
And these specific data stores and their partitions should be able to be copied to other network nodes to ensure a reliable backup.
Genefa Murphy of Enterprise CIO Forum adds that performance is also a key consideration when evaluating cloud readiness. If your application is slow, buggy, or otherwise doesn’t perform as it should, then moving it to the cloud can actually negate the savings and efficiency promised by the cloud, she said. Make sure everything is buttoned up before you migrate the application so costs are contained and you can meet your service-level agreement (SLA).
Finally, if you’re going to make the move – or moves – to deploying your application(s) in the cloud, don’t be stingy with your hiring budget, Meinardi said. Taking advantage of the cloud technology revolution requires hiring the best and brightest you can, so you gain an additional edge on top of the cost savings, operational efficiencies and scalability of the cloud.
In other words, this is not the time to hope your cloud team knows their stuff. Make sure of it, Meinardi said. “While a CIO may not be able to compete for the same pool from Berkeley or Harvard, there are some big brains in less obvious locales waiting to be tapped.”
About the Author: Sharon Florentine is a freelance writer who covers everything from holistic veterinary care to data center technology and occasionally blogs for cloud provider Rackspace Hosting.