– Richard Davies, CEO at ElasticHosts, ServerBeach’s international cloud partner (www.elastichosts.com), says:

Know your application estate.

Some businesses jump in without articulating a long-term cloud strategy and how it relates to overall business objectives. It is important to take a step back and establish realistic goals and priorities, a clear budget and deadline, as well as a shared understanding of what resources are available to implement and maintain a cloud environment. This will help ensure the complexity and cost remains at a minimum. To do so, IT managers should have a solid understanding of which applications are running in their data centres as well as what hardware is backing them up. This knowledge acts as a springboard when deciding what information or applications should move to the cloud and when.

See through the spin.

Many IT vendors are currently rebranding their existing products to fit under the cloud umbrella. When seeking out a trusted advisor/technology vendor, it is important to filter through the clutter and look at organizations who have either adapted their solutions to fit within the cloud or who have built true cloud products from the ground up. This means ensuring the product is scalable, flexible, on-demand, and fully automated, rather than solutions that have simply been rebranded.

Plan for multi-site network security.

According to analysts, many executives and IT managers cite security as their number one concern when it comes to cloud computing. As organizations begin to embrace cloud infrastructure and move further into exploring all the capabilities it has to offer, it is important for an organization’s production data to flow smoothly and securely between an organization’s own data centre, the private cloud, and the public cloud providers. A great way to ensure your information is secure throughout this process is to run VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) between these sites.

Build new applications to scale.

It is vital for businesses today to be scalable and have the capability to grow quickly and smoothly. This is mainly in three main areas: application, hardware and network scalability. Cloud servers provide a great on demand burst capacity to meet peak loads for existing systems. This is already a big step when controlled manually, but in order to take full advantage of cloud servers, an organization’s applications need to be “cloud-capable” or “cloud-aware”, which means knowing when to spin up new instances and how to cluster with these.