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How to Choose the Best Cloud Solution for your Workloads

19 November 2018

When moving to the cloud there are two sides to the coin. On the one hand, you want to choose the best cloud provider, however on the other, you want to make sure your workloads and applications will perform and be secure in their new environment. Whether you have cloud native or more traditional workloads can turn this into a difficult decision to make.

A workload may have a specific technical consideration but it could be that its contribution to the business is the thing that determines the overall cloud strategy. For instance, if your business has a large amount of data that it requires full critical control of and it is risk-averse, then a private or hybrid cloud could be the best solution. If your business doesn’t mind data sitting outside the firewall and an outage wouldn’t have a severe financial or reputational impact, then this might be an indicator that public cloud could be more appropriate.

Unless you are a start-up, your organisation will already have an existing IT footprint which might consist of some on premise, some hosted and some cloud services. There are many different considerations that must be taken into account when determining where to place your workloads and apps. Without organisational context or specific criteria it can be hard to make the right decision.

Understand Where Your Business Is Starting From

To truly understand where your organisation is going, you need to understand where you are at a specific point in time. Only by having meaningful insight can you make the right decision and select the right tool and the right location for the job.

iomart has helped many businesses and organisations through this process. Here are some of the aspects we recommend you consider before deciding which cloud is best.

1. Think About Your Company Strategy

This what defines your organisation and makes it unique – a core set of principles that defines what success looks like. It is critical that everything, including the cloud services you use, aligns to this strategy.

2. Plan a Migration Road Map

Your cloud journey begins from having a deep understanding of your current state. This is the baseline from which you can build your future state. Your roadmap is the bit in between that takes you from A to B with each part of the journey broken down into phases which have a particular objective.

3. Review Your Application Requirements

For any move to the cloud it is crucial to assess the cloud readiness of all applications and workloads. This will determine what applications and data can be migrated to the cloud and what delivery models work best for them - SaaS, PaaS or IaaS. Are your applications new or old? Are they designed for sharing infrastructure?

4. Think About Your Technical Considerations

The way a workload currently performs, the size of data it uses and where that data is located (large volumes can be a challenge to transfer over distance) and what sort of data it processes (personal/financial/health etc.) will determine its suitability to a particular type of cloud. The way in which it needs to integrate with other databases, apps and workflows will also come into play. Does it need elasticity to cope with changing demand? What SLAs does it need to meet? How much transparency is required for security audits.

5. Consider How Your Apps Will Integrate 

This might be constrained by legacy apps, security, location and hardware. Cost may also be a factor, or the fact that it doesn’t have an open API. If your workload is dependent on another app that’s on a different cloud this can also cause issues although it might be easier to connect them via a common cloud structure instead of re-writing the whole application.

6. Decide on Your Requirements for Data Storage

How much data do you have and how much do you think you will have in the future? With large amounts of primary and secondary data, the consideration of how to manage it across on premise and cloud and how to manage any future growth is critical.  The type of storage used will be determined by not only the cost of doing this but also the ability it gives you to simplify your data management.

7. Remember Your Organisational Threats

Threats may be many and varied. An organisation may face a host of risks from a commercial, legal, technical and compliance point of view. It is important to understand that responsibility for defending against the various vulnerabilities is shared between the cloud service provider and the organisation. This is why any such partnership with a provider has to be built on trust and thorough understanding of the security issues involved.

It is better to make decisions based on data and solid information. Armed with this knowledge, potential cloud service providers can be assessed on a ‘best value’ basis, ensuring a smooth migration to the cloud that will enhance your business.

While the number of considerations may seem daunting at first, the right cloud solution can be exactly what a business needs to reach its next goal. That’s why it’s important that the chosen cloud solution is in line with your business needs. Whether you want higher levels of reliability, increased collaboration, better performance, increased security, scalability, or you want to reduce costs, this can all be easily achieved with a well-planned cloud solution.

No one size fits all. This is why iomart can help. Our cloud consultants design, build and implement the cloud environment that is best for your business. If you would like to find out how we can help your organisation fill out our contact form and we’ll be in touch.

Tags: cloud workloads, cloud solutions, cloud strategy, Cloud migration