09 Mar 2016

Considering Public Cloud? Here's a few things to consider.

Australian companies have adopted cloud computing services in large numbers.

The total market for public cloud in Australia is expected to be worth $775 million by 2019, up from $366 million in 2015, according to analyst firm Telsyte.

The main players in this market include Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and IBM SoftLayer.

In previous editions of The Voice, we’ve explored ways to get started with cloud via a hybrid on-prem/off-prem approach. This month, we look in more detail at some things to consider when evaluating a move onto public cloud services.

  1. Deciding what to move

NAB is in the process of a major push into the cloud. As part of that process it has created a decision framework that helps it determine which workloads would be best suited to run in the cloud. This approach is seen as best practice by others, including Microsoft. “Almost universally, I have found that CIOs are using a decision framework which considers technical needs as well as business needs in determining which applications, or workloads they will move to the cloud,” Microsoft online services senior product manager Tony Tai said.

So one of your first decisions in shifting to public cloud will be working out what to host there.

For example, it’s probably unlikely to be something particularly mission-critical, especially first up. More than likely, it’s something that’s ripe for automation – perhaps administrative or overtly process-oriented in nature. Alternatively, you might choose to use public cloud as burst capacity – scaling up and down to manage a temporary spike in demand for resources – or as the host of a temporary website for a specific campaign.

Take our quick online Hybrid Cloud Quiz which will provide a high level framework based on your requirements or visit our infographic to see the various traits of cloud friendly workloads.

  1. Application portability

As more businesses look to the public cloud, they face challenges in preparing existing and legacy applications to be moved. One of the common strategies is to treat IT like lego, breaking applications or workloads into small chunks that can run in whatever cloud platform is deemed the best fit.

  1. Security

The security of running workloads and hosting certain types of data on public cloud infrastructure has been debated at length. While the decisions are ultimately yours based upon an appropriate assessment of risks, It is important to consider the security standards and practices followed by your current IT team, when weighing up your options. It may come as a surprise to know that public cloud often offers higher protection and a more robust security set up than many internally run IT infrastructures.

  1. Support services

It’s worth considering what level of support you are likely to need for your journey to public cloud and where you can source those skills. It’s unlikely that moving to public cloud will eliminate the need for ongoing support and management by qualified people. You’ll need to factor that into any projected cost savings you hope to make by switching to public cloud.