Posted by: Greg Ness | August 7, 2013

How Deep is Your Cloud (Strategy)?

As the cloud and the promise of an It revolution continues its ascent into the boardroom, there are two important questions that tend to get lost in the mist:

1) What percentage of enterprise apps are (and will be) deployed in the cloud?

2) How will these apps be migrated into the cloud?

The first question has been answered to some extent by recent research on cloud adoption.  Less than 90% of enterprise apps have been deployed in the cloud.  Most of the deployment has been for either small apps or for small DevTest environments.  The second question could likely be answered by a kind of differential equation based on numerous variables, including the size and complexity of an app, the security and authentication service requirements and whether or not the app will have to be modified and/or re-architected for the cloud.

It comes down to your strategy for the cloud.  If the cloud is merely for small or inconsequential apps with limited authentication and service requirements, then those apps can be (and have been) easily migrated to the cloud. There are perhaps a dozen existing tools for such apps and most (if not all) at least support devtest in the cloud.  There usually are some compromises, including extra manual processes (and/or architectures that don’t support production workloads), but the solutions can work for smaller apps.

If you are looking to leverage the cloud for existing, multi-tier apps with significant services requirements (like LDAP or Active Directory) in addition to the smaller apps, and you don’t want to re-architect or virtualize, then your options are very limited.  For more background I recommend the recent Anand Iyengar blog: Cloud Migration is Bigger than Image Portability.

Anand discusses 12 critical requirements for cloud migration for robust enterprise apps, to help enterprise tech leaders evaluate and compare approaches and relative payoffs.  They could easily be converted into a checklist for IT teams to evaluate cloud migration approaches for robust production apps that would support more sophisticated production use environments in the cloud.  It all comes down to the depth of your cloud (strategy).

BTW- I’ll be at VMworld in a few weeks. If you want to chat drop me a line via the address.


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