Cloud Computing Preliminary Analysis
CIOs Infrastructure Review - a Required First Step
Before CIOs and IT managers move to a cloud architecture there are a number of factors that need to be evaluated and adjusted in order to facilitate a cloud solution will work. That analysis should include:
Organizations need to tier their applications, identifying which applications need to be highly available, which can accept downtime and how much downtime is acceptable. They need to understand the business risk associated with a lack of availability of their data. For those applications that need to be highly available, businesses should consider enterprise-class technologies that have been rigorously tested versus looking at building something internally. It's also important to look at multi-site solutions and disaster recovery/business continuity planning. For most businesses, this means working with a service provider or consultant because they usually have access to greater levels of expertise and provide these services as their core business.
Issues to consider include the loss of control of their sensitive data, the risks associated with a multi-tenant environment, and how to address standards and compliance. Organizations need to know how a shared, multi-tenant environment is segmented to prevent customer overlap. How is the solution architected and is the service provider's cloud infrastructure – network, virtualization and storage platforms – secure?
CIO need to understand what they are accountable for versus what they expect from a service provider. Most public cloud vendors do not provide administrative support. Organizations need to either have the technical expertise in-house to design the right solution or seek the services of an outside provider. There should be an understanding of what level of management their applications require and have an identified change management process.
Companies also need to understand what the bottlenecks are and how the cloud architecture they have or are evaluating can meet those needs. Organizations should perform their own testing to understand how a cloud environment affects compute, storage and network resources.
Organizations need to understand where their data will reside as well as who will interact with it and how. They need to understand which areas of compliance the service provider controls and how to audit against the standards and regulations to which they need to adhere.