7 Questions To Ask When Delivering Cloud Apps - InformationWeek

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Cloud // Platform as a Service
Commentary
10/21/2014
12:06 PM
Greg Lord
Greg Lord
Commentary
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7 Questions To Ask When Delivering Cloud Apps

What's your goal when you make the decision to deliver your applications over the Internet?

Recent survey findings show nearly half of enterprise decision-makers expect to run the majority of their applications over the Internet in the next year. They're turning to the Internet to capitalize on the trends of consumerization of IT and globalization of the enterprise, and, as a result, budgets are shifting toward cloud-based application delivery.

Transitioning an enterprise's application portfolio to be delivered over the Internet can be overwhelming, but if properly managed, it can drastically improve user experiences, security, and the global availability of certain data and applications.

[Cloud experts got into a debate at Interop 2014. Read Interop: The Future Of Cloud Computing.]

As you consider how cloud-based application delivery can complement your current on-premises IT environment, it's important to ask your application delivery vendors the right questions. Here are several key considerations to have in mind.

1. Who are your end users? What are they trying to do and where are they coming from? Knowing what they're trying to access, how they're trying to access it, and what platforms, systems, and devices they’re using will help prioritize what problems you need to solve and what systems you need to enhance.

2. What are you trying to achieve? Are you trying to ensure security? Access from a global user base? Determine the one or two pain points you need to solve immediately. How will you ensure that your users' productivity is the best it can be?

3. What's your strategy for expanding capacity? You don't have a limitless budget to build data centers. To support business growth cost-effectively, work with partners that make it possible for you to scale on demand.

4. Are your users located close to your applications? The farther users are from your data center and applications, the more likely they are to encounter poor availability and slow performance.

5. What is your business continuity strategy? With little tolerance for downtime, many businesses are aiming to load balance across multiple hosting platforms for lower risk and vendor independence.

6. Can you apply security consistently across applications? It's challenging -- and complicated -- to implement security and firewalls across all your applications. New cloud security providers make it possible to set consistent policies across all your apps, no matter where they're hosted.

7. What's your end goal: cost reduction or productivity gains? As the Internet becomes the infrastructure standard for the delivery of applications in the enterprise, goals will shift from cost reduction to productivity gains. To achieve these gains you will need to ensure unfettered access, high performance, and high productivity from users.

As enterprises use the Internet to deliver applications, connectivity for users will take place over networks that your enterprise doesn't manage or control, meaning you're no longer fully responsible or in control of the user experience. This is a major upfront barrier that many organizations -- and senior management -- struggle with.

Take a different approach by supplementing your current on-premises network infrastructure with cloud-based application delivery. This will allow you to create faster, more secure, and reliable experiences for your employees, partners, and customers. If you can do so, you'll be one step ahead of senior management.

You've realized the easy gains from SaaS. Now it's time to dig into PaaS, performance, and more. Get the new Your Next Cloud Move issue of InformationWeek Tech Digest today. (Free registration required.)

Greg Lord is the Senior Product Marketing Manager responsible for enterprise solutions, including enterprise application delivery and cloud solutions, at Akamai Technologies. Before joining Akamai, he held several enterprise sales and marketing roles at Intel Corporation, ... View Full Bio
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moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
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10/25/2014 | 7:32:22 AM
#4 is one of the big issues
Connectivity is the biggest hurdle for the cloud right now, especially in the US. Fast pipes are incredibly expensive and up time is often dismal. The data center can be as resilient and reliable and mirrored as much as it can, when the cable and fiber operators keep focusing on squeezing every penny out of slow and crumbling infrastructure the cloud will not become as mainstream as we might hope for. Cloud providers should be way more bullish on getting real competition in the network provider market. Look at Europe, there anyone has typically the choice between several providers who run on top of interconnected municipal networks providing plenty of bandwidth on stable networks at low prices. Don't like provider A, B, or C? No problem, providers D, E, and F are ready for your business.

That means for anyone in our neck of the woods: either put only non-critical apps into the cloud or have at least two different cloud providers running synchronized systems that can be reached by at least two entirely different means of connectivity of which one is not cable/fiber bound. After adding all this up the cost benefit of the cloud goes away entirely. There are some maintenance advantages, but in some cases even those are negligible when comparing with the risk and potential security issues of cloud deployments.

In case you wonder why there are still cloud skeptics out there, this is mainly why.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
10/24/2014 | 4:09:26 PM
Re: Cloud security
@SachinEE have Docker containers changed your view of cloud security?
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
10/23/2014 | 10:46:56 PM
Re: Cloud security
I didn't think security was a problem until I realized how naked the cloud data is, and how easily it can be hacked. Porting security apps across many versions of OS and devices is a tough thing to do, and on top of that the nature of the devices accessing the cloud has to be taken into account as well.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
10/21/2014 | 2:12:46 PM
Cloud security
Perhaps you could share some examples of technologies you are talking about for #6? That is a big dilemma...
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