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Get Off the Bus and Explore Cloud Computing Today

A year ago I attended a session at Cloud Expo in New York

CloudSwitch Session at Cloud Expo

A year ago I attended a session at Cloud Expo in New York. The presenting company told the audience that “cloud exploration services” were now available. Enterprises could purchase these packaged services to discuss, probably at length, how to identify candidate applications for cloud usage.

I’ve been there and done that – as a former professional services manager for such a “Big 4” data center automation company, I’ve participated in many such “school bus” campaigns. Often the end result is that everything is said, and little gets done.

According to this philosophy, you can’t just go out and try the cloud for yourself – instead, professional services are needed, and plenty of them. After the expenditure of months of time and large sums of money, you might be lucky enough to get a report of some applications that would be suitable to move – to their specific cloud.

While this approach well serves the interest of the vendor, there is a better way.

The premise of the cloud is that there is almost no penalty for trying something and failing. Move some applications and try them out. You didn’t get the SLA or characteristics you were looking for? You’re only out a buck or two.

Of course the premise I’m making is that you don’t have to change anything in your services, applications, networking, or infrastructure to give this a try. I make the further premise that the cloud enablement software doesn’t require a services engagement to acquire, install, set up and configure, and manage operationally over time. This week, we made CloudSwitch available. Give it a try. You can acquire, install, configure, move and run your applications today. No services required. You point us to your virtual machines, our software will automatically show you if they fit in the cloud, and after we’ve transferred them to the cloud, they will look and feel just like they do now, running in your on premise virtualized infrastructure. No engineering. No changes. No agents. No “additions” to your servers. No funny installers.

All this said, there are physics involved. I recommend a simple process that will result in immediate positive results in selecting candidate applications to move and run in the cloud, as well as in the confidence that comes from a “real test” involving complex multi-tier applications which are tied to both premise-naming services and other network services that cannot be moved out of your data center.

For a first application, I suggest finding something that has servers with relatively small disks. Moving disks over the internet can take time. Some ideas include an internal project server running a program management application, Wiki, or SharePoint. Or perhaps a development environment for a JBOSS application, or anything else based on an open source stack. Move and run this, and run the same load testing or characterization/acceptance tests you use today, and see how they perform.

For a second application, I suggest taking the web and application tiers of the three-tier application and moving them, leaving the data tier on-premise. Leave your management agents on those servers, and leave them joined to the same domain if they are Windows servers, or using the same naming services. Don’t be concerned if the servers have NFS or CIFS mounts to on-premise NAS storage.

For a more in-depth test, go ahead and move development environments for applications such as PeopleSoft, Siebel, or SAP into the cloud and develop your applications there. Extra desktops for developers make a good initial application to move, as do development support servers such as continuous build, defect tracking, and source code repositories.

Our focus on providing a zero-friction, packaged appliance-based product makes this possible. Our automatic CloudFit process will tell you up front if your application will fit and run successfully in the cloud prior to incurring any cloud spend, and how much it will cost per hour to run.

Sign up for our Beta and move and run your first application in the cloud TODAY! School bus not included.

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More Stories By George Moberly

George Moberly is a 24-year industry veteran with a strong and proven track record delivering enterprise software solutions. Prior to CloudSwitch, George was Director, Product Management, at BMC Software. In this role George was responsible for product management of a portfolio of products under Service Automation which included BladeLogic (Server and Application Data Center Automation), Network Automation (formerly Emprisa Networks), Runbook Automation (formerly RealOps), Desktop and Client Automation (formerly Marimba), and Capacity Management.

George joined BMC through the acquisition of BladeLogic, where he was Senior Director, Product Management, overseeing product and OEM strategy for the BladeLogic Suite both before and after the successful 2007 IPO. George was Director, Technical Field Operations, at iConclude, a privately held Runbook Automation vendor, prior to the successful sale of iConclude to Opsware/HP. Prior to iConclude, George held leadership roles at IBM, Atria Software, Pure Atria, and Rational Software and SpaceLabs Medical. George holds a BS in Computer Engineering from Boston University, and an MS in Computer Science from the Oregon Graduate Institute.

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