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Efficiently Moving Apps to the Cloud By @IV_CloudHosting | @CloudExpo [#Cloud]

You can’t tell the virtual server apps without a roadmap

While small and midsize businesses are often keen to move their applications to the cloud, the benefits of cloud migration don’t simply rain down from the sky. In order to take advantage of the flexibility (and cost savings) of virtual server hosting, organizations need to address some common challenges.

Fortunately, there are a few simple steps businesses can take to enable successful transition of applications to the cloud. The first step is determining which applications to move to a virtual server. As with any IT project, businesses must balance risk and reward, cost and benefit. They must assess the cost/benefit of moving the application to a cloud server, assess its technical suitability for the cloud, and manage the migration process to ensure success.

When weighing the costs of deploying particular applications to the cloud, SMBs need to consider such factors as resource use. Applications that are expensive to run internally – either because of resource requirements or operations support – costs are ideal candidates for virtual servers.

In determining the cost/benefit of moving a particular application to the cloud, companies should consider not only current costs of running the application internally, but costs to run it in the cloud. Most cloud service providers (CSPs) charge per gigabyte, per month, for data storage, and charge for access to data. The best way to determine potential costs of cloud migration, then, is to review application/system logs for those candidate applications. By understanding current resource usage – specifically, data usage based on real data – businesses can fairly estimate the costs of making the move. SMBs should likewise ensure that their designated cloud service provider supports the hardware configuration, operating system and middleware that the application requires.

After determining which applications are destined for cloud server hosting, the next step is to verify that compliance practices that depend on application-specific management interfaces will continue to run when the application moves to the cloud.  In addition, it’s essential to update application lifecycle management practices – particularly deployment and redeployment practices – to reflect that the application is hosted on a cloud server.

Testing is the final, critical step in the deployment process.  Testing should proceed in a way that minimizes risks and that validates both business and technical assumptions.  Any technical pilot should test the application interfaces, the management of the components and their performance, and the integration of the application with users and with other applications and databases.  In the technical pilot, business can also test cost assumptions by linking accumulated costs to data and CPU use.  Make certain to follow the technical pilot with a field test (or functional pilot) in order to validate the application’s performance, in addition to the cost assumptions at scale.

Although these application deployment considerations admittedly take time and energy, they’re a necessary way to avert future problems and maintain staff productivity during and after deployment.  Done right, these steps are likely to bolster business agility in the cloud and affirm that decision to migrate.

More Stories By Adam Stern

Adam Stern, founder and CEO of Infinitely Virtual, is an entrepreneur who saw the value of virtualization and cloud computing some six years ago. Stern’s company helps businesses move from obsolete hardware investments to an IaaS [Infrastructure as a Service] cloud platform, providing them the flexibility and scalability to transition select data operations from in-house to the cloud.

Stern founded Infinitely Virtual in 2007, to provide virtual dedicated server solutions to growing enterprises, offering what was essentially a cloud computing platform before the term existed Infinitely Virtual is a subsidiary of Santa Monica-based Altay Corporation, which Stern founded in 2003 to provide Windows, VMware and other service solutions to small and medium-size businesses.

Since 2007, Infinitely Virtual has grown exponentially through its offering affordable, customized cloud-based solutions, using the most sophisticated technology available. Host Review named the company to its list of “Top Ten Fastest Growing” enterprises in 2011 and it has made the list on a regular basis ever since. Stern is a firm believer in corporate responsibility. The company’s products and services feature low-power consumption and fit squarely within the green IT movement. As a provider -- and consumer - of cloud based services, Infinitely Virtual is committed to sustainability.

Stern holds a BS in business administration and management from Cal State, Northridge.