Cloud technology has been one of the fastest-growing and most transformative industries over the last 10 years. Most organizations are moving quickly towards cloud adoption to benefit from efficiency and cost reduction, scalability, and flexibility. This is especially the case recently due to the dramatic shift to a work-from-home culture. What many enterprise organizations have discovered, however, is that actually realizing those benefits is more challenging than expected. Transitioning applications and data to the cloud requires significant planning in order to have a successful cloud implementation.
The steps listed below can help your organization become a cloud-ready enterprise.
Transformation to a cloud-ready enterprise requires adjusting the existing, expensive legacy on-prem infrastructure to integrate with one or multiple public cloud platforms. Typical on-prem infrastructure is inherently costly and inefficient. For example, a traditional enterprise storage environment may have one or more SANs to support their databases and block data, NASs to support certain applications and file sharing, some direct-attached storage for performance-hungry applications, and maybe other appliances for object storage. For centralized storage, this isolation of data types and segregated data pools can make on-premises data management complex in itself. Moreover, it can make the integration of cloud nearly impossible.
By putting data at the core of your cloud strategy and prepping your on-prem data to be cloud-ready, you can create the foundation for easy adoption of the cloud services you would like to implement today while creating a flexible, future-proof environment for the cloud services of tomorrow.
Where to Begin
- Map out your data pools to their respective applications; logically, not physically. This will allow you to get a high-level visualization of data/application dependencies and provide a starting point of how to architect your cloud infrastructure.
- Define each data pool’s characteristics. Include characteristics like data type, current size, growth rate, operational importance (RTO/RPO targets, COOP priority, etc), and security requirements.
- Simplify your on-premises storage. A complex on-prem storage environment, similar to the scenario mentioned earlier, immediately over-complicates your cloud strategy. Major cloud service providers can have 6 or more isolated storage clouds just within their own cloud environment. If you’re not centralizing your on-prem data as much as possible, you will have a many-to-many relationship of complex networking and data flows to manage. Having centralized storage capable of handling block, file, and object data across your varying performance tiers, simultaneously will dramatically simplify your cloud journey.
- Determine the current and future homes of each application. Is it on-premises only, in the cloud, or both (hybrid)? Will multiple clouds need to access the same data pool? If so, how will you ensure data integrity? By listing the current status and future plans of each application, you’ll begin creating a cloud adoption schedule that’s aligned with your priorities and easy to digest.
- Keep data security a top priority. Data is the most valuable asset to most organizations. If data gets compromised, manipulated, hacked, or lost, it can have a devastating and potentially catastrophic effect. Cloud technology offers endless benefits and future potential but the reality is that most cloud service providers are public clouds. This means that your data is stored on an indefinite number of drives and servers shared with an indefinite number of unknown persons, companies, or entities at an indefinite number of locations. This is actually where the term ‘cloud’ came from. Your data could be anywhere and everywhere. Private cloud storage addresses this security problem. Your data is stored centrally on dedicated drives and servers in a datacenter you can actually find on a map. With clearly understood and agreed-upon security controls, you can sleep easy at night knowing where your data is and that it’s secure.
- Consider your cloud storage options. A common regret from organizations who have fully adopted cloud and have their data residing in the same public clouds in which their applications are running is that their data is now decentralized, isolated, complex to manage, and unpredictably costly. As mentioned above, private cloud storage is not just private and secure, it’s also centralized just like your enterprise on-premises storage. The applications still run in the public clouds (like on-prem compute servers) but the data is centralized. A direct network connection is made between the private storage cloud and your instances in the public compute clouds. This allows for endless flexibility in terms of future plans to add or try out new and different clouds and services.
- Scheme your data flow. By centralizing your on-prem and cloud data, even if there are multiple geographic locations of each, data can replicate seamlessly between them according to the rules, COOP, or DR plan that suits your objectives.
- Start small. Cloud doesn’t have to be a large complex undertaking if you create a plan with data at the core and take the steps to make your on-premises storage environment cloud-ready. Start small. Maybe you’d like to create your private storage cloud and use it as a DR target from your on-prem environment. Allow some developers to test some applications in the public clouds and simply point those compute instances to your new private cloud storage. As the old adage goes, â€œhow do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Madison Cloud: On-Premises and Private Cloud Storage made easy
Madison Cloud is centralized on-prem and cloud storage that can make any organization cloud-ready and simplifies the road to cloud adoption. The innovative hybrid cloud solution allows for true storage centralization by supporting all data types, protocols, and performance tiers running simultaneously from a single appliance. This flexibility combines your SAN, NAS, and object stores into one and extends across your entire on-prem and cloud environments. You’re now able to manage your organization’s current and future data storage footprint from a single management console.
Because Madison Cloud provides Private Cloud Storage for your cloud data, all the security and flexibility benefits sought after in a future-proof cloud strategy are built-in. Applications running in an unlimited number of clouds can simultaneously access their data in a centralized storage cloud while that same storage cloud can be a target for all your on-prem disaster recovery needs. The flexibility is endless and it all begins by creating a cloud strategy with data at its core and making your enterprise cloud-ready.
To learn more about Madison Cloud and how to become cloud-ready, schedule an appointment with a member of our sales team today.