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Editor’s Note: It’s Time to Narrow Your Cloud Focus

It’s hard to overstate the sweeping change that is starting to occur. Finding which cloud services are a fit for your organization also means deciding how and where the services are managed.

Mitch Irsfeld

I recently received some reader feedback that we have a one-track mind at Microsoft these days. It seems that our focus on the cloud strikes some of you as overkill and this particular reader’s concern was that we’re not paying enough attention to the current IT computing model.

Recalling how often I’d heard the complaint over the last 27 years that “vendors only talk about what’s new and what’s coming, but we work in the real world,” I could understand his perspective. But I truly think that it’s hard to overstate the sweeping change that is starting to occur; so much so that I’d ask, what is the current computing model. Is there any enterprise computing environment that isn’t in transition? I think it’s in our IT customer’s best interest to understand how best to harness the cloud and begin to reap its benefits.

Some might still call that hype, but there is enough evidence these days of just how fast organizations are moving (at least pieces of their operations) to the cloud, that a sooner-rather-than-later approach to planning is merited to remain competitive.

Our philosophy on migrating to the cloud is that you pick your own pace and we have several cloud scenarios and virtualization scenarios to get you started. There are also multiple entry points, from Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). All must be considered when planning for the cloud and the new feature package on the TechNet Cloud site, Planning for the Jump into the Cloud, provides some great new articles to help you structure your decisions.

In addition to the question of which services are a fit for you, there is the question of how and where the services are managed. One end of the spectrum has the services completely hosted and managed for you in what is referred to as the public cloud. For more on the questions to ask in deciding if a public cloud solution is right for your organization, the new feature package includes the just published Profiling the Public Cloud Buyer, from RampRate, an IT services sourcing firm with billions of dollars in deals completed, which offers some models to help judge if your priorities and current infrastructure lend themselves to service provider hosting.

We also understand your fears around security and control when moving from an environment where everything is managed on-premise. To that end, a popular current scenario is the “hybrid cloud” where some services are run on-premise and others are deployed to the cloud. This allows you to start slowly and understand what still needs to be managed and controlled when services are moved to the cloud. But you still need control.

In their TechNet Magazine article Achieving Control in the Hybrid Cloud, authors Dan Griffin and Don Jones provide guidance on where to focus and the best tools to use for managing the disparate domains of virtual on-premise servers and hosted servers.

At the other end of the spectrum is the private cloud, where the services as deployed within the existing datacenter. Considering the public cloud versus a private cloud is often done when organizations are looking to migrate existing applications to the cloud. Check out Key Cloud Migration Decisions for guidelines on useful criteria for choosing a private cloud solution over a public cloud.

Since many of you are looking at the notion of provisioning many of the cloud characteristics (on-demand self-service, device and network independence, resource pooling, elasticity and metered services) from within the datacenter, the private cloud may be the way to go. Evolving your datacenter to meet the requirements of the private cloud requires new skills and Tom Shinder has penned a valuable article on the new roles that you may need to plan for. An Architect’s Perspective on Planning and Staffing for Private Cloud Operations explains those roles and why they may be crucial to your company going forward.

The cloud is already more than hype; it’s a building phenomenon, and your involvement may still be bound up in a seemingly endless loop of decisions. Take a little time to review these articles to start narrowing your focus.

Thanks for reading,

Mitch

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Mitch Irsfeld
Mitch Irsfeld, Editor of TechNet, is a veteran computer industry journalist and content developer who managed editorial staffs at several leading publications, including InformationWeek, InternetWeek and CommunicationsWeek. He is also an editor for TechNet Magazine and managing editor of the TechNet Flash newsletter.