Your Journey to the Cloud Starts Here

The cloud has changed more than the way we implement and manage IT - it is changing the very core of business. With ready access to data, and intelligent new ways to view, analyze and use the information, the cloud has brought powerful new capabilities which are disrupting entire business models.

 

However, before jumping headfirst into the cloud, there are important questions that must be answered to ensure the optimal workload-to-cloud fit. Throughout this piece, we address...

  • IaaS, PaaS and SaaS definitions
  • Key considerations
  • Tips for cloud success
  • Choosing the right cloud partner
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SaaS | PaaS | IaaS Overview

Dive into Azure

Considerations for the Cloud Journey

Plan your journey

Four Ways to Weatherproof Your Cloud

Weather Proof Now

Choosing the Right Cloud Partner

Learn More

SaaS | PaaS | IaaS 

The cloud is not everything to everybody. Rather, it’s a multifaceted capability that must be customized to meet your specific business needs.

SaaS

PaaS

Iaas

Hosted 
applications/apps 

SaaS / PaaS / IaaS

Development tools, database management, business analytics 

PaaS/ IaaS

Operating systems 

PaaS/ IaaS

Servers and storage 

IaaS

Networking firewalls/security

IaaS

Data center physical plant/building

IaaS

Common IaaS business scenarios

Typical things businesses do with IaaS include:

Test and development

Test and development

Teams can quickly set up and dismantle test and development environments, bringing new applications to market faster. IaaS makes it quick and economical to scale up dev-test environments up and down.

Website hosting

Website hosting

Running websites using IaaS can be less expensive than traditional web hosting.

Storage, backup, and recovery

Storage, backup, and recovery

Organizations avoid the capital outlay for storage and complexity of storage management, which typically requires a skilled staff to manage data and meet legal and compliance requirements. IaaS is useful for handling unpredictable demand and steadily growing storage needs. It can also simplify planning and management of backup and recovery systems.

Web apps

Web apps

 IaaS provides all the infrastructure to support web apps, including storage, web and application servers, and networking resources. Organizations can quickly deploy web apps on IaaS and easily scale infrastructure up and down when demand for the apps is unpredictable.

High-performance computing

High-performance computing

Organizations avoid the capital outlay for storage and complexity of storage management, which typically requires a skilled staff to manage data and meet legal and compliance requirements. IaaS is useful for handling unpredictable demand and steadily growing storage needs. It can also simplify planning and management of backup and recovery systems.

Big data analysis

Big data analysis

Organizations avoid the capital outlay for storage and complexity of storage management, which typically requires a skilled staff to manage data and meet legal and compliance requirements. IaaS is useful for handling unpredictable demand and steadily growing storage needs. It can also simplify planning and management of backup and recovery systems.

Advantages of IaaS

Advantages businesses of IaaS include:

Eliminates capital expense and reduces ongoing cost

Eliminates capital expense and reduces ongoing cost

sidesteps the upfront expense of setting up and managing an onsite datacenter, making it an economical option for start-ups and businesses testing new ideas.

Improves business continuity and disaster recovery

Improves business continuity and disaster recovery

Achieving high availability, business continuity, and disaster recovery is expensive, since it requires a significant amount of technology and staff. But with the right service level agreement (SLA) in place, IaaS can reduce this cost and access applications and data as usual during a disaster or outage.

Innovate rapidly

Innovate rapidly

As soon as you’ve decided to launch a new product or initiative, the necessary computing infrastructure can be ready in minutes or hours, rather than the days or weeks—and sometimes months—it could take to set up internally.

Respond quicker to shifting business conditions

Respond quicker to shifting business conditions

IaaS enables you to quickly scale up resources to accommodate spikes in demand for your application— during the holidays, for example—then scale resources back down again when activity decreases to save money.

Focus on your core business

Focus on your core business

IaaS frees up your team to focus on your organization’s core business rather than on IT infrastructure.

Increase stability, reliability, and supportability

Increase stability, reliability, and supportability

With IaaS there’s no need to maintain and upgrade software and hardware or troubleshoot equipment problems. With the appropriate agreement in place, the service provider assures that your infrastructure is reliable and meets SLAs.

Better security

Better security

With the appropriate service agreement, a cloud service provider can provide security for your applications and data that may be better than what you can attain in-house.

Gets new apps to users faster

Gets new apps to users faster

Because you don’t need to first set up the infrastructure before you can develop and deliver apps, you can get them to users faster with IaaS.

SaaS

PaaS

Iaas

Hosted 
applications/apps 

SaaS / PaaS / IaaS

Development tools, database management, business analytics 

PaaS/ IaaS

Operating systems 

PaaS/ IaaS

Servers and storage

IaaS

Networking firewalls/security

IaaS

Data center physical plant/building

IaaS

Common PaaS business scenarios

Organizations typically use PaaS for these scenarios:

Development framework

Development framework

PaaS provides a framework that developers can build upon to develop or customize cloud-based applications. Similar to the way you create an Excel macro, PaaS lets developers create applications using built-in software components. Cloud features such as scalability, high-availability, and multi-tenant capability are included, reducing the amount of coding that developers must do.

Analytics or business intelligence

Analytics or business intelligence

Tools provided as a service with PaaS allow organizations to analyze and mine their data, finding insights and patterns and predicting outcomes to improve forecasting, product design decisions, investment returns, and other business decisions.

Additional service

Additional service

PaaS providers may offer other services that enhance applications, such as workflow, directory, security, and scheduling.

Advantages of PaaS

By delivering infrastructure as a service, PaaS offers the same advantages as IaaS. But its additional features—middleware, development tools, and other business tools—give you more advantages:

Cut coding time

Cut coding time

PaaS development tools can cut the time it takes to code new apps with pre-coded application components built into the platform, such as workflow, directory services, security features, search, and so on.

Add development capabilities without adding staff

Add development capabilities without adding staff

Platform as a Service components can give your development team new capabilities without your needing to add staff having the required skills. Platform as a Service components can give your development team new capabilities without your needing to add staff having the required skills.

Develop for multiple platforms—including mobile—more easily

Develop for multiple platforms—including mobile—more easily

Some service providers give you development options for multiple platforms, such as computers, mobile devices, and browsers making cross-platform apps quicker and easier to develop.

Use sophisticated tools affordably

Use sophisticated tools affordably

A pay-as-you-go model makes it possible for individuals or organizations to use sophisticated development software and business intelligence and analytics tools that they could not afford to purchase outright.

Support geographically distributed development teams

Support geographically distributed development teams

Because the development environment is accessed over the Internet, development teams can work together on projects even when team members are in remote locations.

Efficiently manage the application lifecycle

Efficiently manage the application lifecycle

PaaS provides all of the capabilities that you need to support the complete web application lifecycle: building, testing, deploying, managing, and updating within the same integrated environment.

SaaS

PaaS

Iaas

Hosted 
applications/apps 

SaaS / PaaS / IaaS

Development tools, database management, business analytics 

PaaS/ IaaS

Operating systems 

PaaS/ IaaS

Servers and storage

IaaS

Networking firewalls/security

IaaS

Data center physical plant/building

IaaS

Common SaaS business scenarios

If you’ve used a web-based email service such as Outlook, Hotmail, or Yahoo! Mail, then you’ve already used a form of SaaS. With these services, you log into your account over the Internet, often from a web browser. The email software is located on the service provider’s network, and your messages are stored there as well. You can access your email and stored messages from a web browser on any computer or Internet-connected device.


The previous examples are free services for personal use. For organizational use, you can rent productivity apps, such as email, collaboration, and calendaring; and sophisticated business applications such as customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and document management. You pay for the use of these apps by subscription or according to the level of use.

Gain access to sophisticated applications

Gain access to sophisticated applications

To provide SaaS apps to users, you don’t need to purchase, install, update, or maintain any hardware, middleware, or software. SaaS makes even sophisticated enterprise applications, such as ERP and CRM, affordable for organizations that lack the resources to buy, deploy, and manage the required infrastructure and software themselves.

Pay only for what you use

Pay only for what you use

You also save money because the SaaS service automatically scales up and down according to the level of usage.

Use free client software

Use free client software

Users can run most SaaS apps directly from their web browser without needing to download and install any software, although some apps require plugins. This means that you don’t need to purchase and install special software for your users.

Mobilize your workforce easily

Mobilize your workforce easily

SaaS makes it easy to “mobilize” your workforce because users can access SaaS apps and data from any Internet-connected computer or mobile device. You don’t need to worry about developing apps to run on different types of computers and devices because the service provider has already done so. In addition, you don’t need to bring special expertise onboard to manage the security issues inherent in mobile computing. A carefully chosen service provider will ensure the security of your data, regardless of the type of device consuming it.

Access app data from anywhere

Access app data from anywhere

With data stored in the cloud, users can access their information from any Internet-connected computer or mobile device. And when app data is stored in the cloud, no data is lost if a user’s computer or device fails.Because the development environment is accessed over the Internet, development teams can work together on projects even when team members are in remote locations.

Considerations for the Cloud Journey

What to migrate and why, which model to use, and security and compliance in the cloud

Cloud migration should be a thoughtful process that takes into account multiple, interrelated business dynamics, including the current state of your IT infrastructure, the roles your various applications play in your business and the costs associated with each application and workload.

What to migrate and why

Before you can decide if the cloud is right for you, you must inventory and understand.
See what & why

Which model to use

The public cloud is essentially a large server farm that uses the internet to bring “on-demand” computing to anyone who wants to use it.
Pick the right model

Security and compliance 
in the cloud

Security and compliance are big—and
important—topics.
Protect your Business
X Collapse

What to migrate and why

Before you can decide if the cloud is right for you, you must inventory and understand your applications, workloads and data and take into account storage, networking, computing, backup and security needs. Not everything is right for the cloud. A workload assessment will help you determine what you want to take with you in your cloud migration and what you should leave behind. For example, legacy applications that aren’t well structured for a machine-independent cloud deployment may not be worth including. In this case, you should complete a cost-benefit analysis to determine if it makes sense to invest in rearchitecting those applications or to leave them out.

Which model to use

The public cloud is essentially a large server farm that uses the internet to bring “on-demand” computing to anyone who wants to use it.
Pick the right model

Security and compliance 
in the cloud

Security and compliance are big—and
important—topics.
Protect your Business

What to migrate and why

Before you can decide if the cloud is right for you, you must inventory and understand.
See what & why
X Collapse

Which model to use

The public cloud is essentially a large server farm that uses the internet to bring “on-demand” computing to anyone who wants to use it. The public cloud works well for collaboration tools, e-commerce platforms, mobile applications and batch workloads, which are easily automated and benefit from the elastic capacity the public cloud offers. The public cloud is also a good place for development and testing, because its resources are easily accessible during the innovation process and easily dispensed with when the application goes to production. The public cloud can also be a good choice when there’s a need to access specialized high-performance environments that are beyond your in-house capabilities.

Security and compliance 
in the cloud

Security and compliance are big—and
important—topics.
Protect your Business

What to migrate and why

Before you can decide if the cloud is right for you, you must inventory and understand.
See what & why

Which model to use

The public cloud is essentially a large server farm that uses the internet to bring “on-demand” computing to anyone who wants to use it.
Pick the right model
X Collapse

Security and compliance in the cloud

Security and compliance are big—and important—topics: from physical security to cybersecurity, from simple data encryption to facial recognition software, and from internal policies and controls to stringent governmental regulations. You want to prevent a data breach and sail through compliance audits. Any plan to migrate to the cloud needs to take security and compliance into consideration. The right cloud provider can be extremely helpful by not only developing security policies and controls tailored to your business, but also by providing activity and audit trails and readily accessible reports, relieving you of the burden of managing complex security and compliance considerations. Start with some basics, such as reviewing the five steps to protect your business.

Four Ways to Weatherproof Your Cloud

Know | Map | Identify | Focus

The promise of the cloud is very compelling, and cloud providers can make migration seem easy: sign up now and your first application is up and running in 10 minutes! But the glow from your cloud migration can wear off quickly if you don’t have the discipline to do it right. Here are four things you can do to make sure your cloud implementation delivers on its promise.

1. Which model to use

Many cloud customers look at server usage as a standalone cloud migration criterion, but they fail to look at the end user experience. All too often, companies move workloads to the cloud only to have their users complain that everything is running too slowly. Suddenly there are large egress charges because, e.g., everyone is sharing a Microsoft Excel file in the cloud. In this case, to improve functionality you must move data back and forth from the cloud to on premises environments, and that can be costly. To avoid this pitfall, approach server capacity from a user perspective. If your users’ applications are tied to a database that’s living in another place, it will impact their experience. By viewing usage patterns and requirements as well as integration issues from the end user perspective, you can make a better choice to meet your needs.

2. Map out dependencies

Events and processes have interdependencies, and you need to know what they are if you’re going to make the right decisions. For example, what if you move all of your enterprise resource planning (ERP) to the cloud? What does that do to business continuity? Or consider a manufacturing environment, where people on the production floor need an internet connection to get to their data. If there’s an outage, what will happen in terms of disaster recovery, and how will that affect your business? Application level and distance to data are important considerations. You must have a vision for your operations, then determine how you can achieve that vision using both cloud and on-premises capabilities.

3. Identify a valid motivation

You must have a valid, measurable reason for cloud adoption―whether it’s to reduce costs, develop a global presence or drive another goal that aligns with your organization’s mission. You’ll use this reason to assess your success with cloud adoption. This motivation is the foundation upon which you will design and evaluate your cloud implementation. If you don’t do this, you’re at risk of putting things in the cloud that don’t belong there. Ultimately, that will be costly, both financially and functionally.

4. Focus on value delivered, not cost savings

Though cost reductions were an early cloud promise, and many businesses still include cost savings in their cloud strategy, you shouldn’t move to the cloud based solely on assumptions about costs. Those assumptions could be very wrong. Instead of taking a cost-based approach, look for the value you will gain from cloud adoption. And remember that cloud value is different
from on-premises value. Each one has its own criteria for return on investment. You can’t simply make an apples-to-apples cost comparison between cloud and
on-premises environments, because each capability delivers a different benefit. Include a value proposition in your cloud migration strategy and view cloud
adoption in terms of how it helps your customers and your business performance overall, not simply how it might save you money.

Choosing the Right Cloud Partner

#1 What additional services does the CSP offer?

Look for a provider that goes beyond the basics. Compare the enterprise license with licensing through your CSP. Additional services such as consolidated billing and  automated accounting can be very advantageous. You want a CSP that can provide you with the hardware, professional services and colocation services you need — in a variety of environments. Your CSP should also manage all the routine tasks involved in maintaining your IT infrastructure so that your IT staff can devote their time and talent to more important, mission-critical tasks.
Next

Choosing the Right Cloud Partner

The question of moving company operations to the cloud is no longer “if,” but “how” to do so.

Moving to the cloud is not as simple as flipping a switch. The right CSP will be indispensable in helping you plot your path. Together, you’ll determine the type of cloud configuration that’s the best fit for your business — whether that’s 100% cloud, on premises or a hybrid environment.

 

An experienced CSP will advise you not only on how to move infrastructure and applications, but on what to move and when, and how to optimize workloads to achieve the best performance. For example, with Azure you have options on how to move existing VMware virtualized servers to the cloud. You can move them byte for byte into Azure virtual machines (VMs), or you can supplement existing VMs with Azure service for high availability and disaster recovery. Which option is right for you? The right CSP has the in-depth knowledge of both Azure and your industry to guide you to the right choice. 

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Choosing the Right Cloud Partner

#3 Does the CSP have experience optimizing cloud environments?

According to Gartner, over the next four years, nearly all legacy applications migrated to public cloud infrastructure as a service will need to be optimized to become more cost effective. Moving on-premises legacy applications to the cloud is not straightforward. In fact, legacy applications can cause problems if they are not upgraded or rearchitected correctly. A CSP with experience moving legacy applications will save you a lot of time and trouble down the line.

Your CSP should be able to advise you on the most cost-effective architecture for the performance that you need. Find a CSP that can analyze your IT spend and keep you from being charged for services you don’t need. Your CSP should be able to identify resources that are underutilized and suggest ways to upgrade to make better use of what you have.
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Choosing the Right Cloud Partner

#4 Does the CSP have expertise in your industry?

A provider that has walked the path with similar companies in your industry is the best trail guide. It knows the most efficient routes, and maybe even some shortcuts, as well as where dangerous pitfalls may lie. A CSP with industry experience can suggest services or configurations that help create competitive advantage.

An industry-insider CSP understands how you can use AI and analytics to make better use of your data. For example, we applied industry knowledge and advised a realestate company on cloud services that can help it analyze existing data to more quickly evaluate properties on the market.

Understanding your industry is also essential to understanding your business security requirements as well as industry-specific security and compliance requirements. You want a CSP that can help you ensure that good governance and security is in place before, during, and after your migration.
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Choosing the Right Cloud Partner

#5 What is the maturity level of the CSP?

Maturity refers not only to the number of years the CSP has been operating, but also to how long it has offered each of its services. Broadly speaking, the more migrations a CSP has performed, the better. That experience informs its ability to advise you on whether, how and when to migrate, as well as which applications and functions should be migrated. Lay out your challenges, and see if the CSP has “been there, done that.”

A mature CSP is also likely to have a strong relationship with the company offering the cloud platform. This is particularly important for small and medium-size businesses that might find it difficult to get direct access when needed. If your CSP has a good working relationship with the Microsoft Azure group, for example, you can benefit from their access to information and expertise at the source.
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Choosing the Right Cloud Partner

#6 Does the CSP have the capabilities to meet you where you are?

The CSP you choose should be able to meet you wherever you are on your application
roadmap. Your CSP must be able to evaluate your current environment and determine how a cloud implementation can be used to make it more efficient and to help your business reach its goals. That means your CSP needs to know all about hardware, software, applications and services in data centers — whether on premises or in the cloud.
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Choosing the Right Cloud Partner

The CSP you choose should be able to meet you wherever you are on your application roadmap. Your CSP must be able to evaluate your current environment and determine how a cloud implementation can be used to make it more efficient and to help your business reach its goals. That means your CSP needs to know all about hardware, software, applications and services in data centers — whether on premises or in the cloud.

Additional Resources