The cloud is ubiquitous and indispensable for small and large enterprises. Before making a move, enterprises need to consider several matters in order to achieve the most cost effective and reliable cloud implementation.
Questions arise in the matter of cloud computing such as why transition to cloud computing and where should it be deployed. The cloud may be for everyone, from individual entrepreneurs to large enterprises but it not the perfect solution for everything. Compelling reasons to shift to the cloud are agility, cost and speed. If you do decide to enjoy the multiple benefits cloud computing brings, you need not invest heavily or wait for a long time as service providers already have the infrastructure in place. Once you transition, you can scale up or scale down use, paying as you go, free of maintenance of hardware or software availability, enjoying the use from anywhere, anytime. If you rely mainly on websites and web based applications, clouds provide the right answer to address spikes in traffic, demand and usage. Security of data is a prime consideration presenting enterprises with the choice of private or hybrid cloud adoption. Cost effective implementation is achieved by a finely considered blend of private and public clouds in an elastic hybrid solution to derive tangible benefits.
There are further issues such as latency, in-out load, security compliance requirement and extent of customization. If these issues are not critical, public clouds provide the most cost effective plan. If security or customization matters then hybrid cloud at a higher implementation and running cost proves to be the right path. An enterprise may consider allocating custom applications and private data functions to a private cloud system managed either by an in-house IT staff or provided by an external service provider to achieve cost efficiency in its operations. Less sensitive can be stored and accessed inexpensively from public clouds. An enterprise needs to spend time and energy to careful consideration of a variety of factors that could impact not only operations but also cost while aiming for greatest flexibility and ease of use for all involved. In picking an external private cloud provider and a public cloud service, an enterprise would normally assess the service levels, response times, type of platform used, billing methods, security, availability, bandwidth, technical competency and openness in providing information.
The objective in shifting to cloud is to achieve flexibility, scalability, simplicity, efficiency and enhance operations but not if the cost involved is not worth the benefits or involves compromise of security.
Clouds assure continuity and disaster recovery in addition to savings on huge initial investments while delivering enterprise level solutions normally beyond the reach of smaller enterprises. Any enterprise, before transitioning, would evaluate services offered to check if they are in alignment with their needs and the quantum of services that can be safely shifted to the cloud in a seamless, transparent and well integrated way. Despite the maximum efforts made beforehand, in practice enterprises may want to change and fine tune allocations and as such, when they do transition to cloud, there should be flexibility to chop and change.
For enterprises considerations for cost effective cloud computing are:
Integration: integration of existing applications and software is of prime importance and testing becomes necessary before making a final shift and this could involve additional expenses. ERP, mail and voice mail are typical examples where smooth integration is necessary.
One time investment or monthly cash flows: An enterprise needs to justify one time investment in private infrastructure set up or regular monthly cash outgoing when subscribing to cloud services, evaluating returns and benefits. Without expert evaluation, either could prove costly.
Given that no two enterprises operate the same way or have similar requirements, each would need to evaluate cloud in relation to their requirements to arrive at a cost effective cloud implementation strategy.
That said, the future does lie in the cloud provided you evaluate and chose a finely balanced service package suited to your operations.