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Best practices for moving workloads to the cloud

Pierluigi Paganini | Oct. 21, 2014
With data floating around in the clouds, it is good that you know how to secure it all.

 

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is the provisioning model for the outsourcing of the equipment used to support operations of the companies, including storage, hardware, servers and networking components. It is important to determine whether the cloud-based server hardware and operating system (OS) are compatible with the company's server infrastructure and OS.
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) Platform software services is the provisioning model for various software, including web application database servers. It is crucial to verify that the PaaS environment chosen will support all features of the application server used by the company.
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Applications provided as a service. Depending on the type of application to migrate, it is necessary to evaluate the existence of SaaS-based alternatives which have to meet both business and technical needs. Do not underestimate the necessity to migrate pre-existing data to the new application.
  • Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) Data or information delivered from the cloud, either as raw data sets or consumed through an analytics interface.
  • Business Process-as-a-Service (BPaaS) is the delivery of business process outsourcing (BPO) services that are sourced from the cloud.

 

Assess company applications and workloads
Once traditional IT services are mapped in cloud services, it is necessary to assess applications and workloads singularly. In this phase, IT staff in charge of the migration needs to determine which applications and data can be readily moved to a cloud infrastructure, which service to adopt, and which delivery models (public, private, or hybrid) meets the business needs of the company. It is a good practice to start from the lowest-risk applications, which usually have a minimum impact on the business continuity of the organization.

Adopt a flexible interoperability model
Almost every application migrated to a cloud service has connections with various other applications and systems. It is crucial to preventively evaluate the impact of the migration on these connections and prevent any interruption in data flows.

The communication between applications is typically classified into three categories:

 

  • Process integration, where an application invokes another in order to execute a specific operation.
  • Data integration, where applications share common data.
  • Presentation integration, where different applications provide computational results at the same time, mainly for the composition of a user's dashboard.

 

The migration to a cloud infrastructure must be supported by a careful review of the overall interoperability of the business. Every interaction between systems inside the company and with outside entities has to be assessed and maintained in the new cloud infrastructure.

In many cases, it is not so easy to maintain the integration level and to ensure interoperability; "re-integration" activity of all the components subject to the migration is necessary.

 

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