Moving to the cloud is a logical decision for many companies, but the process of getting from point A to point B with a cloud deployment can have many twists and turns. It is not necessarily a direct path from transitioning existing network equipment and resources to the cloud.
Several intermediary steps can prepare the company’s equipment and personnel for the eventual move to the cloud. Not only does the network infrastructure need to evolve to fit into the new cloud architecture, but processes and IT personnel also need to adjust in order to work within the new cloud system.
Prior to transitioning to the cloud, network resources are often maintained in silos that are not conducive to the centralized nature of cloud offerings. To facilitate the transition to the cloud, network, storage and computing equipment and resources should migrate to a more pooled and centralized architecture that is in line with the cloud model.
In addition, cloud services rely on virtual tools and services. To prepare for the migration to the cloud, the company may consider transitioning its resources and network tools to a more virtualized environment.
Cloud services often rely on modules or blocks of vendor-neutral, pre-tested tools. Transitioning to these types of tools prior to the cloud transition can help bridge the gap between existing systems and the new cloud solutions.
Another key aspect of cloud services is automation, which allows changes and updates to be made once and then aggregated out to network tools, resources, and devices. Preparing network assets for this type of change in the update process is critical to a smooth transition to the cloud.
Not to be overlooked in the transition process is the role of the people who administer the network or cloud services. The IT personnel interacting with the cloud services must think as an internal service provider or broker. This includes understanding the client’s needs and finding the right combination of cloud tools and services to meet those requirements. Evaluating cloud providers, inventorying current cloud usage, and understanding how company departments will use internal and external cloud resources are a few key considerations.
As the transition to the cloud progresses, IT personnel roles may change and new roles may emerge. Here are a few examples:
- A manager of the cloud may be needed to define cloud services.
- A cloud architect may be appointed to maintain an understanding of platforms and make product and technology choices.
- Finally, an operator role may emerge to provide services associated with the cloud.
While the decision to transition to the cloud may be an easy choice, the process is not so simple. Missteps along the way can lead to underutilization of the cloud services meant to increase efficiencies and simplify business processes. To get the most out of a cloud investment, take stock of existing assets, resources, tools, and personnel. Then plan a strategic and thoughtful migration to the cloud to ensure the benefits of the cloud are realized.