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.
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