What CIOs Need to Know Before Going to the Cloud

Jim Poole

cloud-cio

In our last post on what CIOs should consider before moving to the cloud, we covered the best migration path, network issues and why it’s smart to get help. Here are some other issues to consider before you jump into the cloud.

What’s Really Behind the Cloud

The word “cloud” conjures up images of a fluffy, amorphous world where magical things happen. But face it, a cloud service is actually one or more massive physical data centers running a lot of hardware and software. You have to consider what and where that data center is, who is running it and how well they harness their technology (virtualized or otherwise) to deliver cloud services, scalability and security. You also need to consider how you and your users will interconnect to those services and what kind of experience will result.

Connecting over the Internet from your corporate data center to a multitude of dispersed cloud data centers and backhauling all that traffic for security and management purposes is a recipe for high network costs, a poor user experience and possible security risks. Choose an interconnection provider that can place your infrastructure in close proximity not only to cloud services, but network providers, business partners and globally dispersed users. You’ll get better performance, better security and a superior user experience and spend less in the long run.

At Equinix, we recommend that our enterprise cloud customers and service providers deploy their cloud environments based on an Interconnection Oriented Architecture™ (IOA) that uses high-speed, direct and secure interconnections to connect to hundreds of proximate cloud services within a single interconnection platform.

Don’t Get Locked In

Deploying the cloud is an evolutionary learning process. A provider may seem perfect for your needs today, but not tomorrow. More organizations are moving towards a hybrid, multi-cloud strategy that may even deploy multiple interconnected public and private cloud services to deliver a single enterprise service. Why is this important? Not every application has the same performance requirements, and no generic cloud service can meet the needs of every workload permutation that enterprises develop.

That’s why you want to leverage an environment that lets you connect to, ramp up and switch cloud services as easily as possible. For example, with the Equinix Cloud Exchange you can leverage not only globally dispersed data centers, but create virtual one-to-one or one-to-many interconnections with dense ecosystems of colocated cloud and network providers via a single network port.

Remember Disaster Recovery

Disaster recovery is another function that you’d best not leave to a single cloud provider. Sure, a single provider may have multiple locations, but you still have to take responsibility for your organization’s cloud-based data and protect against potential cloud service breaches or failures. Check out our Hybrid Cloud Scenarios: Disaster Recovery blog for tips on crafting the best hybrid cloud disaster recovery strategy.

There are several options, including harnessing the cloud for the application but keeping data private and backing it up via the services of a disaster recovery cloud provider. For example, you can take disaster recovery to a higher level that harnesses two or more cloud providers, such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, to store your data or run your applications. If one service suffers downtime, the other is still up and running to deliver data, applications and services to your users.

Don’t hesitate to take advantage of the agility and scalability the cloud has to offer. But make sure you craft an interconnected cloud strategy first that maximizes not only business agility, but cloud performance, security and disaster recovery.

 

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