By Chris James, Director, EMEA Marketing –
The biggest private or hybrid cloud integration challenge currently facing organizations is where to run the applications; dedicated infrastructure, private cloud, public cloud, a hybrid of all of these? If you ask the business how important its application is and where it should be hosted they will almost certainly say that its value warrants it to be run on the fastest and most secure infrastructure available. However the reality is that applications can be tiered depending on their criticality to the business, commercial differentiation/competitive advantage, and performance required.
The only way to design the best strategy to integrate data and applications, is to have an Infrastructure Performance Management (IPM) platform that shows how each application is performing (its response time in and out of the data center). The first phase is to bench-mark what you have and how it is performing. The next is to migrate to the most cost-effective platforms. The third is to optimize the utilization of the data center elements.
Depending on commercial value and competitive advantage the applications can be ranked. Once this is achieved you can list out what can go on a public cloud (payroll, accounts, SalesForce.com, etc.), what can go on a private cloud (applications that are not particularly performance or security sensitive), and on a dedicated infrastructure (applications that are running the business such as Supply chain, SAP, Oracle. etc.).
Software as a Service (SaaS) offers great benefits to efficiency but can also add load to the infrastructure and network. By benchmarking before and after testing SaaS in a development environment you will see if it performs as promised or if it will need new/faster hardware/networking to achieve this. Third parties will rarely offer an application performance SLA, just availability – yet performance is what you are buying, coupled with availability and security. For this the third party needs an IPM platform so they can guarantee outsourced application performance in a shared environment. You wouldn’t lease a car only knowing it was going to be available to you to drive but have no idea how it was going to perform or if it was secure – you need to insist on a performance SLA for the infrastructure running your applications.