Although customers are well aware of the importance of the cloud, many still need help in understanding the details around how to effectively leverage the benefits of the cloud without putting their current operations at risk.
"Customers are a lot more serious than they've ever been, but it' still a struggle," said Paul Cronin, senior vice president of Atrion, a Warwick, R.I.-based solution provider. "They don't know how to get there. Our customers want us to come in and help them identify which type of cloud to use, what to put into the cloud, and then help them get there."
This very topic is among the highlights coming up at Tuesday's Amazon Web Services Cloud Summit in San Francisco.
"Our clients are asking us to help them figure out whether to use private cloud, public cloud, hybrid, on-prem, or whatever," added Cronin. "They're also trying to figure out which applications to migrate. The majority of our mid-tier customers are seeing voice, business continuity and certain other applications as good options for the cloud, but of the things like ERP applications are staying at home right now."
Cronin added that in most cases, the first response is for his team to take a look at the customer's architectural DNA and see how they're using technology. From that assessment, a solid strategy can be developed.
Issues around cloud selection will be tackled in a number of workshops and breakout sessions at the summit. Brian Adler, senior cloud solutions architect at RightScale, will be presenting a special session on issues around hybrid IT.
"Customers are getting more advanced, and the technologies to provide the capabilities for private cloud have become more advanced, as well," he said. "Customers want to leverage their existing infrastructure and get better efficiencies from the hardware they already have. So they tie into a public cloud or they develop a private cloud.
"We see a lot of people doing proof of concepts to try to figure out what's going to work," he continued. "It really boils down to try to find the right workloads to send the cloud. It's really about trying to match the hardware to the workload. If you get it right, the solution pays off. If you get it wrong, that doesn't mean it will not work, but you might not get the best operational efficiency out of it."
Adler added that some of the foundational decisions can have profound impacts on decisions that will be made further downrange.
"For example, if you've got Citrix NetScaler and dedicated load balancers, you've got a great opportunity to integrate those in a much more elegant way," he said. "So you'll want to be careful with the early decisions that can affect your ability to leverage earlier investments. You may decide to be less concerned about those investments. Just be conscious of your choices."
According to RightScale's second annual survey, 47 percent of the respondents are currently using the hybrid cloud.
PUBLISHED 26, 2013