Editor's note: Join ebizQ for BPM in Action on June 23, 2010.
Migrating to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is an attractive option for corporations that want to shift from a capital expense to a pay-as-you go model. Regardless of the business driver for cloud computing, of which there are many including reducing costs and adding nimbleness, large enterprises are now faced with re-evaluating their core IT assets with an eye towards enterprise-to-cloud migration for improving business efficiencies. However, beyond qualitatively appreciating the benefits of cloud computing, IT executives lack the ability to quantitatively assess the risk-reward structure of which application should be migrated from the enterprise to a cloud. Without having a quantifiable impact assessment of migrating enterprise resources to a cloud, enterprises are faced with ad-hoc decisions during their cloud migration process.
Core Migration Questions
For CIOs, CTOs and business application architects, cloud computing has become inescapable aspect of their overall IT strategy. As businesses consider approaches to migrating parts of their infrastructure to the cloud, IT organizations wrestle with fundamental questions such as:
- What applications or its components should be migrated to the cloud?
- What should be the order/priority of migration?
- Which IaaS cloud provider should be selected based on application performance and reliability requirements?
- How do I mitigate enterprise-to-cloud migration risk?
Without addressing such questions, enterprises are faced with ad-hoc decisions during their cloud migration process that can add immeasurable risks to their business operations and undermine the efficiencies that they seek by migrating to the cloud.
Typical Migration Process
In a typical enterprise-to-cloud migration process, a corporation will identify candidate components based on drivers such business continuity, scalability or lower overall cost of ownership. The selection of cloud vendor then requires moving service components such as database, application servers, ESBs, and identity stores to the cloud environment. Once a full reference system is deployed in the cloud, the behavior of the enterprise application interacting with the cloud-based components has to be tested. Testing a reference system deployed in the cloud with an IaaS provider enables an enterprise to evaluate the class of servers, memory, CPU and storage behavior in a multi-tenant environment. IaaS providers also have to be benchmarked at various times to ensure consistent behavior.