Guest Blogger: Brett Anderson

After virtualization, cloud computing may be the next logical step for many enterprise organizations. But how do you get there? To help, we’ve identified six steps that simplify the journey to the cloud.

Cloud

1. Get an IT Checkup: Implementing a cloud strategy is nothing like buying a boxed, off-the-shelf product.  It’s all about custom tailoring a solution to meet your exact business requirements. The key is to start with a thorough assessment of your organization’s business needs, then optimize the company’s existing IT infrastructure to meet those needs.

2. Build on Strong Foundations: IT funds and staffing resources have been shrinking in recent years, while demand for computing capabilities has increased. Therefore, it’s critical to create a cloud strategy that builds on and preserves the existing capital investments the company has already made in its IT infrastructure, while creating and following a roadmap for enhancements and additions that will work well both now and into the future.

3. Be Safe & Secure: When a company is concerned about security, hosting sensitive data in house on internal equipment in its own data center helps the organization overcome concerns about data security and take that first step into the cloud.  Planning should be undertaken at the beginning of any cloud strategy for security considerations that will keep the company’s data safe as well as ensure privacy and compliance.

4. Manage the Management: By nature, all cloud software stacks have a management component to them, but it’s important to utilize the right tools to effectively manage the environment as each new application is moved into place. An experienced solution provider can help point out the toolsets from different vendors that will best meet that user’s specific needs. IT pros have to know just what resources they have at their disposal that can be leveraged to deploy new applications as they’re added to the cloud environment.  This means management considerations like orchestration, automation and governance should be top-of-mind when designing a cloud roadmap.

5. Classify Apps: A critical component in the success of any cloud strategy is determining whether the applications the company is planning to run in the cloud are actually cloud-ready.  While some applications are designed from the ground up specifically for use in the cloud, others require some re-tooling before being deployed.

6. Plan Ahead: Businesses are never static, so plan for change while a cloud strategy is being designed.  Moving from a virtualized, converged infrastructure to the creation of a premises-based cloud may be a natural next step along the path, but what happens after that? A well thought-out cloud roadmap will embrace the future by planning for it today.

What do you think: Is fully embracing the cloud ripe, and a top priority, or is it hype, and not a priority for IT executives?

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