(This article was written by Bilal Mehdi, Senior Consultant, Glasshouse Technologies (UK) Ltd reveals the top ten tips for getting the most out of cloud.)
The buzz around Cloud computing continues to gather pace. Few are aware however that the concept covers a vast array of elements including software, service capacity, storage, middleware, virtualisation, security and management tools, all delivered as services through the Internet.
This means that businesses have less to manage themselves, so they can focus on strategic IT projects, while cloud services offer a raft of solid benefits.
These include: efficient delivery of services; less expensive services based on hidden shared infrastructure; better business unit control; improved capacity management and optimised energy usage.
Many businesses are beginning to look at cloud computing, so here are my top 10 tips for getting the most out of your cloud provider to maximise the benefits:
Management of Service Levels – Make sure services offered by your cloud provider meet overall pre-set service quality at affordable costs.
Financial Management – Do a detailed financial analysis of your existing IT infrastructure costs against monthly, quarterly and / or yearly utility fees for services provided through the cloud. This way you can make sure that you’re getting value for money, or are reducing costs.
Demand Management – Demand management is often the reason businesses consider cloud computing in the first place. There are legacy services which require in-house IT infrastructure, which makes it very difficult to operate over the cloud. Through demand management processes you can influence user’s behaviour; for example, charge users more for legacy services as compared to share cloud computing services
Capacity Management – Organisations need an accurate capacity forecast and should have knowledge of current and future technologies and capacity that their business will need. It is extremely important to plan which cloud computing service provider can provide the necessary capacity and IT services to match your own business needs
Availability Management – Availability of service is crucial and generally has three components: review, plan and design which should all be reviewed closely to ensure that the cloud provider can offer the up-time required by your business for a particular service
Service Continuity Management – It’s important to review your business continuity strategy so that it’s possible to develop IT Service Continuity data sources for cloud computing services including Business Impact Analysis and Risk Assessment in case of interruption and disaster
Information Security Management – Most businesses have their own internal security measures in place. It’s just as important to have a detailed assessment on the security measures of your cloud service provider such as operational vulnerability and data security procedures
Supplier Management – Cloud providers are a different type of supplier and you should make sure that they offer protection against disruption. Your provider should offer support that is aligned to your own business needs and targets to ensure that service is not compromised by supplier performance. Ensure clear ownership and awareness of supplier and contractual issues.
Incident Management – Organisations should review service desk functions of the cloud computing service provider, ensuring that there are clearly defined targets as defined in SLAs.
Environmental Compliance – Last but not least, you should review your cloud providers’ infrastructure for environmental compliance (energy, space and so on) as well as infrastructure reclamation/reutilisation policies.
By following these tips organisations can reap stronger benefits from their cloud projects. As the benefits of the cloud become more apparent, we’re seeing a rise in the number of businesses getting services delivered through the cloud.
In fact, there is every possibility that cloud become the way IT services are provided in the future.