Top 3 challenges in Cloud Computing and How to Overcome them

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Cloud Computing is the latest flavor of the month to hit IT.  It has distinct advantages in catering for digital migration and the needs of mobile warriors.

It copes easily with the needs and demands of the latest data centre technologies, and positions the organization to take full advantage of upcoming trends such as Spine and Leaf network architectures and Intent-Based Networking

If outsourced to a private cloud on third-party equipment, it transfers the hassles of equipment planning and budget preparation to a third party.

All-in-all seems a good thing, but as always there is a sting in the tail.

  1. Transition to Cloud Technology

    Transition to Cloud Technology

    In most cases, the first big decision Is whether to establish the cloud in-house, managed or outsourced,  or outsourced to a third-party site.  The decision criteria will include:

    The current state of the IT infrastructure and whether it can be easily transformed into a cloud environment.

    In particular, the state of the data center will be critical in this decision. if it requires root and branch replacement at a high cost this will direct the decision towards an outsourced solution.

    Typical considerations in the data center are cable density.   Cloud technology requires complex interlinking of core devices in the data center particularly if the Spine and Leaf architecture is involved.    Other considerations are of course new equipment such as racks and servers to support the cloud environment and their implications for electrical and cable layouts.

    This will probably mean changes to both the electrical requirements and reticulation in the data center and detailed reorganization of cable routes and layouts.

    To assess the scope and probable costs of the refit of the data centre, a detailed technical evaluation of the data center must be carried out.  The output of the assessment will be a detailed technical and budgeted report setting out all considerations regarding reorganization and new equipment and software.

    The technical assessment will be needed to allow potential service suppliers to prepare quotations if the decision to establish a managed private cloud onsite is taken.

    The company’s philosophy as regards outsourcing; and

    Some organisations for political or philosophical reasons may reject the entire outsourcing concept.  Some organisations cannot outsource all or part of their business because of the nature of their business, for example, lawyers managing confidential client information.  In this case, the only option is to set up an in-house private cloud managed by the company itself.

    The mechanics of the transition

    Transition to the cloud is not an easy process. The organization will require to maintain existing services during the transition.  Company staff will need to be trained in the new environment and if not outsourced, IT staff in the new cloud technologies.

    Whether this can be done will depend entirely upon the culture within the company and whether it is acceptable and indeed possible to close down some services while they are transferred to the cloud environment.

    The company will probably need assistance from an external party to plan and manage the transition.   If moving to an in-house outsourced managed solution, it may be built into the transition plan.

  2. Scalability

    Scalability

    One of the big issues for a CIO is estimating future hardware and software requirements and preparing the associated budgets.   In a traditional IT centre, this was relatively easy:

    • Growth in data storage requirements could be estimated;
    • Software version upgrades are known well in advance and any associated hardware costs budgeted into the upgrade cost;

    However, in a cloud environment, these are not so easily known.responsibility for this fold supplying the service provider and it needs to be built into a service level agreement with that provider but they will maintain full and proper security controls against any  attacks and malicious software great

    Further, in a traditional environment, change tends to occur organically and relatively slowly paced. This is certainly not the case in a Cloud environment with it close linkage to Internet technologies.

    A CIO needs to know that the equipment and software proposed for the cloud environment can be upscaled to meet demands in the future without a forklift replacement. Scalability is not negotiable.

  3. Security

    Security

    In the past,  when a computer installation was essentially self-contained security was not that much of an issue being generally limited to scanning emails for incoming viruses.

    However, in a cloud environment with its dependency and linkage to the Internet, security becomes of much greater importance.   Consider first an in-house private cloud.

    The security of that is primarily:

    • Securing against network-based attacks, including DDOS;
    • Securing against incoming viruses and phishing attacks via email;
    • Securing the site against downloads of inappropriate and malicious material; and
    • Making sure that the security software and appliances have kept fully up to date.

    in an outsourced environment that will be the responsibility of the service provider and suitable safeguards must be built into any service level agreement.

    A further consideration is that of the protection of intellectual property. Suitable safeguards need to be in place to prevent the removal of company confidential information or indeed any information of a sensitive nature.

    Moving to a cloud environment is a viable and often sensible long term option for any organization. However, it is not an easy transition and the CIO needs to take many seemingly peripheral issues under consideration before making a decision.

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