Cloud deployment: key factors for consideration

3 min read
Organisations will need to address an increasingly fragmented notion of how IT is delivered going forward

When looking at Cloud Computing as a disruptive solution though, it is essential that we see it not as just an issue of pure technology, but one of business process change, supply chain change, project management and IT delivery change.

However according to the Cloud Industry Forum it is the consumerisation and contextualisation of the Cloud that is changing the basis of expectation for IT delivery, and capability and capacity of IT assets are no longer constraints.

Andy Burton, Chair of the Cloud Industry Forum, and CEO of Fasthosts, states: “However, the real world impact of legacy applications, regulation, levels of customisation/integration of applications do call into check how IT services can be deployed. Cloud services represent the most significant opportunity to improve the way IT is conceived, built, delivered and managed, it re-writes the boundaries of how IT is orchestrated to serve an organisations needs, reshapes the skills needed within consuming organisations and realigns channels for the delivery of solutions.

“As the market is arguably still nascent, the number of new entrants moving into the market is driving a level of divergence as each aims to get its value proposition communicated. This noise is one of the key issues the Cloud Industry Forum is committed to providing guidance on by providing clarity on Best Practice for Cloud service delivery,” he continued.

When assessing IT projects there are a number of factors that will impact choice of deployment, which could be broadly described as legacy considerations, commercial matters, technical requirements and governance or policy constraints.

Key considerations to determining Cloud deployment models include:

According to the latest research from the Cloud Industry Forum, 89 per cent of organisations surveyed have an in-house server room, although this dropped to 73 per cent for those employing less than 20 people.

The combination of committed capital and potential of available labour supporting it has to be assessed to determine if a new solution is most effectively housed on premise.

Equally, if an organisation is considering expanding a legacy or bespoke application, or creating an integration with such a system from a new application (e.g. a new workflow service for an existing order management system), then the level of integration or the nature of the legacy application may restrict choice of deployment options, to being on- premise or hosted in a private Cloud or dedicated infrastructure.

Available network bandwidth to access the internet was not as high a practical issue - 80 per cent of organisations (across all size ranges) already had sufficient bandwidth for normal business tasks at a contracted rate of 10Mbit/s or greater.

Other commercial considerations organisations have to take into account are matters such as the urgency of the solution (i.e. Time to Market) where a hosted or Cloud solution has clear advantages for urgent or temporary projects, balanced against contributing considerations of available experienced staff in the solution area and/or the ability to identify a trusted partner for delivery via the Cloud.

The technical considerations need to start at the planning and strategy phase. CIF’s research identified that 85 per cent of organisations now formally include consideration of Cloud based solutions within their IT strategy, which is very positive as this number?is some 32 per cent above the actual number of organisations that have adopted at least one Cloud service formally.

The technical delivery team inside any organisation is going to have look at initiatives based on attributes such as their temporality/duration, urgency (time to market), frequency in changes of scale in operations, skills and manpower requirements in order to determine if a solution can be delivered in-house or should be delivered as a service.

Other criteria will apply when considering issues such as Test or Back-Up/ Disaster Recovery solutions where arguably an off-site presence is more appropriate to reflect and mitigate the real world risks.

Over-riding all commercial and technical considerations are the Governance, Policy and Regulatory constraints that the organisation must take into account. ?Top of this list will relate to issues of external regulation and notably around matters such as Data Sovereignty.

42 per cent of organisations participating in the research stated they were subject to external regulation, 12 per cent were subsidiaries of organisations that were headquartered internationally.

In the survey 90 per cent of respondents wanted their data kept on-premise or hosted in the UK and not held within the wider EEA or other geographies.

Andy Burton concluded: “There is no doubt that the term Cloud Computing has become established in the IT profession, but vendors and suppliers alike need a concerted effort to clarify and educate the wider market on key terms, definitions and implications needed to achieve a common understanding of the meaning, opportunities and the risks associated with this rapidly growing sector.”