Planning for the Cloud: What CIOs Need to Know

Jim Poole


There’s no doubt the cloud can make things easier for organizations seeking to ramp up and scale applications, services and other business and IT service delivery initiatives quickly. However, diving into the cloud isn’t as straightforward as it’s sometimes made out to be. In this first of two blogs, we’ll be discussing some of the things we think CIOs and their organizations should seriously consider when starting a cloud deployment.

The Best Migration Path

Even mainstream applications such as email may not migrate and operate in the cloud as smoothly as you’d think. When considering applications for cloud migration, it is wise to do some preliminary testing of any application in the cloud before diving in. In the article, “Why an Application Strategy Can Make or Break a Cloud Migration,” Outpace CEO and co-founder Bob Dvorak stresses the importance of mapping out a migration strategy carefully. He suggests categorizing each and every potential cloud application by total cost of ownership, number of unique functionalities, number of applications that depend on it to function, and how many other interfaces interact with it. He also suggests ranking each application with risk and security metrics, to ensure the most sensitive information stays private.

One of the tools enterprises and cloud providers alike have adopted recently to ease migration and management is container technology, which we discussed in a recent blog, “Hybrid/Multi-Cloud Migration Contained.” Containers for application migration to the cloud are becoming a standard that greatly simplifies cloud development and enables better control and security. At Equinix, we leverage Docker as a core container strategy that can simplify migration.

Don’t Overlook the Impact on Your Network

Nothing kills the cloud user experience like a slow, unreliable network and shared Internet connections that can also put security at risk. We strongly suggest deploying your cloud infrastructure in proximity to a dense ecosystem of network and cloud service providers where you can interconnect to a variety of services via high-performance direct and secure connections. Also, bringing cloud and network services to the edge of your corporate network can deliver a better user experience than backhauling growing amounts of cloud traffic to a corporate data center.

From our experience at Equinix, it has been beneficial for our customers to develop an interconnected cloud strategy based on an Interconnection Oriented Architecture™ (IOA) before diving into the cloud. Extending your data center infrastructure to strategically placed global interconnection centers, where hundreds of cloud providers, network providers and partner organizations reside and interconnect at high speeds with low latency, can have immeasurable performance, cost, agility and security advantages in a hybrid and multi-cloud world.

Ask for Help

Relying on legacy IT infrastructures and staff with little cloud experience or a cloud provider with generic services for your migration is not the best strategy. IDC predicts that the cloud will bring about a shake-up in IT organizations, and by 2018, “65% of firms’ IT assets will be offsite in colocation, hosting and cloud data centers, while one-third of IT staff will be those of third-party service providers.” The message here? It is well worth the cost to employ experienced cloud migration experts that can help you design, plan, test and deploy applications in real-world cloud environments.

Equinix has several ways to help plan, test, deploy and optimize cloud application migrations, including our Global Solutions Architects, Solution Validation Centers and Nimbo hybrid-cloud specialists.

Yes, the cloud comes with tremendous benefits. But like anything else, it’s not without its challenges, and it’s best to know exactly what you’re getting into beforehand and how to go about it the right way.

In the next blog, we’ll discuss why you should consider the physical aspect of clouds, how workloads can determine the cloud service you choose, and how to configure clouds for a disaster.

Jim Poole
Jim Poole Vice President, Business Development, Equinix, Inc.