Ready to Leap for the Cloud? Forrester Offers Some Do’s and Don’ts

Written by Ike Syed

Building anything can be a challenge filled with pitfalls you can see and minefields you can’t. The construction of a private or hybrid cloud for your enterprise is no different.

Sure, the private cloud offers lots of benefits, from cost savings to greater efficiency and increased data security across your organization.

Cloud Do's and DontsBut if you don’t watch your step, it’s easy to walk smack into buying costly technology that doesn’t meet your expectations. It’s also quite feasible to set expectations too high internally, leading to disappointment and slashed budgets in the future.

The analysts at Forrester Research have issued some handy guidelines to enterprises interested in setting up a private cloud – an option now within reach for an increasing number of companies through an emerging class of cloud management platforms.

Here’s a list of some do’s and don’ts when delving into the cloud, according to the folks at Forrester: 

Do These Things

  • Identify priorities. First, ask what is spurring your organization to move to the cloud, whether that’s stopping internal circumvention of information technology systems or differentiating products via creative use of IT, or something else entirely. Next, check whom a cloud push affects internally, and consider getting them into the planning process. Also ask what other IT projects your cloud push could tie into.

  • Define scope. This helps set the stage for discussions with vendors and internal parties alike. How long will the project take, which departments and internal stakeholders will it involve, and which other IT projects will it impact?

  • Determine your budget. Commercial software can start at anywhere from $5,000 to $500,000. Bringing in hardware or third-party consultants can boost that price significantly. The lesson: Create a budget before you start shopping.

  • Plan for the short term first. This is important to secure returns on investment quickly and set expectations of all parties for long-term ROI. This can prevent future letdown.

  • Develop a long-term view. At the moment, most cloud-related tools will essentially do the job of managing your private cloud and provisioning resources. Issues will crop up in where you want to go with your cloud deployment versus where vendors want to take you with new products. Watch out for that. Legacy vendors will have their own ideas. At the early stages, it’s vital to either ensure your vendors are heading in the same direction you are or to opt out and go for an open source solution. 

Don’t Do These Things

  • Give a false positive. Tell all internal parties how the deployment is going – be open and honest – and make sure the cloud platform you’re building is in line with your company’s needs. Giving false positives will eventually make it tough to secure additional budget capital and to keep the confidence among developers and business users alike.

  • Work on an island. While working alone or in a small group allows for getting things done faster, it also means other interested parties may not be on board with what you’re doing. Reach out to other people and get them in the loop, even if it means taking a little more time.

  • Reinvent the wheel. There is no need to build cloud management tools when so many products are already on the market – and more highly anticipated self-service options are on the way. Learn from other people’s experiences in building a private cloud so you don’t have to suffer the slings and arrows they did.

  • Develop a strategy without understanding the market. Research both the market for tools that can help your cloud-building experience and the best practices on using those tools. Understanding issues such as price (not all solutions are created equal), security (big differences between public and private options) and performance (multi-tenancy is an important feature) will make life significantly easier.

  • Limit your scope to private cloud. As in most things, one size does not fit all in cloud computing. The private cloud has advantages, but there are other solutions, such as software- and platform-as-a-service, that can be valuable for your organization.

Our next blog will focus on four distinct approaches that organizations are using to build and operate private clouds. Stay tuned!