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Cloud Hopping Guide for Modern Enterprise By @Accelerite | @CloudExpo [#Cloud]

Enterprises need to leverage their freedom to choose a provider that can cater to very specific needs

A Cloud Hopping Guide for the Modern Enterprise

Everyone has stayed in a standard hotel room - they all have similar qualities, with similar prices and amenities. You can expect a good night's sleep, HBO movies on the TV, and a free muffin in the morning.  While I may be taking a few liberties with this analogy, I'd argue - the cloud is equivalent to the standard hotel room.

There's nothing wrong with plain, run-of-the-mill accommodations, but you'd be amazed to find Tim Cook shacking up at the Holiday Inn, and he definitely wouldn't sign a contract requiring him to stay every time he lands in New York.

The same goes for enterprises and how they interact with clouds. Sure, they can benefit from the use of a single cloud provider, but why sign a year agreement with so many options at their disposal? An enterprise has ample amounts of data to store, and security requirements that keep their business afloat during disaster. No one cloud can offer the range of functionality needed to secure business-critical data and applications across an entire enterprise, just like no hotel has the ability to cater to every specific need and want you may have throughout your many years of staying in hotels.

While you may be getting points each time you check in, there's nothing holding you back from staying across the street the next time you're in town. The same should go for cloud providers. Testing the waters to find which cloud best suits your needs for that specific functionality is in your best interest. If those needs change down the line (or if your needs require two separate clouds with different functionalities), hop around, stay a night and determine if they're right for your business.

Planning your stay
You work from multiple offices across the globe, which requires frequent hotel check-ins every year. If you plan to spend a considerable amount of time in a hotel, it might be wise to find multiple options for your multiple needs. Los Angeles has heavy traffic, so you'll want a hotel located as close to your office as possible, while London has superb public transport, so you might look to stay somewhere near cheap eating options.

Each plan is specific to the needs of each location. For an enterprise, one cloud solution doesn't always offer the range of functionality required for every cloud computing need. They'll need to mix and match a range of public and private options to better suit their specific requirements.

Checking in
You've booked your stay in Los Angeles and you've just arrived with your bags. You've only booked a few nights, so you've come prepared with the necessities: clothing for your stay, toiletries, and your briefcase of important business materials.

You wouldn't bring every document, laptop, desktop, hard drive, and filing cabinet to a hotel. Enterprises, too, won't put every mission-critical application into one cloud, without the security of on-premise backups and the potential for a third point of recovery. Enterprises shouldn't plan an extensive stay in one cloud, as their needs might require them to pack up and leave on short notice.

Room Service
Your first night in the hotel has been great. A stocked mini-fridge, attentive staff and a shelf-full of towels was exactly what you expected. But as the days go by and you start settling in for your short stay, the staff grows distant, the towel supply is dwindling, and the room service is arriving slower as each day passes. You start to question if you neglected to leave a tip, or if valued customers are only valued after one night's stay.

The same happens with cloud providers, whether you'd like to believe it or not. It's all courting and niceties until you've signed on the dotted line. Now you're locked in, and customer service slowly starts falling to the wayside. If you've steered clear of long-term contracts, providers will work to gain your loyalty and the service stays top of mind. If you're courting two or more clouds, you'll easily see which providers offer which benefits and fit them into your laundry list of necessities.

Checking out
Your boss calls to tell you to get on the next flight to London. An important meeting has been rescheduled and you need to be there to secure a high profile account. Luckily, the hotel has a 24-hour cancellation policy and you only have a few bags of luggage. Checking out shouldn't be a hassle - (don't forget your free muffin on the way out).

Leaving a cloud provider should be like checking out of a hotel, but this currently isn't the case. Migrating data to a second cloud, cleaning up, and leaving your cloud provider seems to be the best approach, but only if no long-term contracts are in place.

Enterprises need to leverage their freedom to choose a provider that can cater to very specific needs, and using multiple clouds to do so is in everyone's best interest. One cloud provider might work wonders for a small or medium-sized business, but when you're looking to store data, applications and a plethora of other business critical information from thousands of nodes across a large enterprise, there are too many security risks to be reliant on one sole provider. You may look to migrate all data to multiple clouds, split data between clouds, or a combination of on-premise and cloud backup, but that decision can only be determined by your business. Whichever path you choose to take, the cloud is here to help and is constantly refining its role in the future of business to ensure you enjoy your stay.

More Stories By Fredrik Schmidt

A 25-year veteran in the IT industry, Fredrik Schmidt is responsible for driving the development of innovative cloud products and solutions at Accelerite.

Prior to joining Accelerite, he served as Technical Director at Symantec, Senior IT/IS Director at Technicolor by Thomson, and CIO and Co-Founder of Kryptonite Security.

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