The Cloud Computing adoption plan depends on the cloud model one opts for. If the requirement is simply for SaaS or PaaS solutions, the adoption plan is straightforward. One has to assess the business application functionality that one wants to outsourced, determine the right cloud solution and vendor, and procure the cloud services.
For IaaS adoption, especially for organizations that have a significant investment in infrastructure CAPEX, the migration to Cloud depends on a number of factors. The basic requirement is to leverage the existing infrastructure fully through virtualization, and other related concepts.
In general, the Cloud Computing adoption roadmap includes the following approach:
Figure – Cloud Computing Adoption Model
- Determine what to move to Cloud – Assess the business needs and what you will migrate to cloud. Prepare an inventory of workloads that you want to procure from Cloud. Some of the common workloads that are readily available from Cloud are in the areas of analytics, infrastructure such as storage, backup, applications, collaboration tools, infrastructure compute, disaster recovery, business processes, and so on. Once you decide the service you will procure from Cloud, define the parameters such as service availability requirements, no. of users (for SaaS solutions), subscription model, support model and such things. This step is mainly to come up with a clear requirements and roadmap.
- Assess Cloud Suitability: The first step is to assess the need to move to Cloud or procure Cloud services. One needs to assess whether the business functionality is core to business, whether a Cloud-based solution is worth the risks associated with it (i.e. data theft, service downtime, etc.).
- Establish Business Case: Establish clear business case for cloud adoption. Determine the financial and non-financial benefits to be realized over medium to long term (3+ years).
- Conduct Proof of Concept (PoC): The safest option is to conduct a small PoC to validate whether the Cloud model really works for you. Lots of cloud service providers provide trial period to try out their Cloud solutions. During the PoC stage, assess the technical feasibility of integrating in-house solutions with Cloud solutions.
- Virtualize and Standardize: As mentioned earlier in the document, fully leverage the capability of virtualization before moving to Cloud. Virtualization provides the same benefits as those provided by Cloud services. There could be lots of unutilized capacity in your infrastructure; virtualization enables you to optimize them fully. Also standardize your process and technology (software, hardware, tools, etc.) so that you can avail standardized cloud services.
- Lay Cloud Foundation: Lay a clear Cloud computing foundation if you have a long-term roadmap for moving to Cloud. Define reference architecture and scalable application architecture including an integration roadmap. A well-defined architecture will help in managing the change and impact of cloud adoption.
- Select Cloud Partner: Carefully evaluate the Cloud service partner. Assess their capability, strengths/weaknesses, and their ability to meet your support and service requirements. Determine how safe is your data in their Cloud environment and what preventive mechanisms they have in place for any eventualities. Ask for relevant case studies and do reference checks if needed. The key is to determine the level of trust you can place on your cloud partner.
- Manage Cloud Infrastructure: This is post-cloud migration activity. This should include managing your cloud infrastructure by enabling self-service features such as ramping up/down your demand (e.g. storage needs), change subscription models, support services, etc. The idea is to retain some control to yourself, rather than depending completely on the service provider.