There is no denying the rapid growth in the popularity of cloud computing solutions as part of today's enterprise IT infrastructure.
The cloud offers a number of benefits, including reduced infrastructure expenses, greater flexibility and unprecedented scalability. In order to take full advantage of what the cloud has to offer, however, companies may wish to ensure their IT architectures have been prepared for the cloud.
A recent SunGard report offers organizations advice regarding the factors that should be taken into account when laying the groundwork for a cloud deployment.
According to the report, "only by aligning the architecture – compute, network, data center, power and storage resources – with applications can a company be on the path to achieve the reliability and performance it requires within a cloud environment."
One important factor that needs to be taken into account in organizational IT architecture is availability, the report said. Since not all cloud platforms are identical, it is necessary to determine which applications need to be highly available and which, if necessary, can suffer downtime.
For those mission-critical applications that need to be available at all times, businesses may wish to consider cloud computing data security measures, such as multi-site storage, disaster recovery plans and cloud-based backup. According to the report, deploying this technology properly is likely to require the assistance of a consultant or service provider.
Another important factor is security. The report noted that, for many businesses, cloud computing security remains the biggest concern about making the shift. In order to prepare an IT architecture for optimum cloud computing security, security on several components should be checked, including storage platforms, virtualized machines and networks.
According to a recent InformationWeek report, companies may also want to consider another factor when deploying cloud computing solutions – employees' consumer devices. While allowing workers to access work networks with their own devices offers significant productivity benefits, organizations would do well to ensure access is permitted in a secure manner, according to the report.