Krishna Subramanian is VP of product marketing in the Cloud Platforms Group at Citrix.
Businesses today realize that transforming IT to agile and efficient cloud services is a strategic priority – it is no longer a matter of if, but when, and how. A recent study found that for most companies, the process of selecting and implementing a cloud platform can take anywhere from 6 to 9+ months! The key challenges businesses said they faced were lack of staff expertise, managing app-specific performance on the cloud, and moving legacy apps to a cloud architecture.
As members of the open source community, many of you are well aware that Apache CloudStack has rapidly become the go-to open source platform for building, managing and delivering highly scalable clouds – in fact, the CloudStack Collaboration Conference this week in Denver is sold out! As the first commercial version of Apache CloudStack, Citrix CloudPlatform has enabled more than 250 major enterprises and service providers to transform their on-premise IT infrastructures into agile and efficient clouds, and provide app-centric cloud orchestration for any workload – in some cases in just a matter of weeks.
Leading companies such as BT, Datacentrix, DU, Globo.com, Interoute Teleommunications, KDDI Corporation, NTT Communications, Zajil Telecom and Zynga, are embracing Citrix CloudPlatform powered by Apache CloudStack to run their cloud environments. In the process of working with these customers, Citrix has learned some key dos and don’ts to accelerate this transformation. Here are the top five:
Top 5 Dos and Don’ts when transforming to the cloud
DO plan a roadmap of cloud adoption. The value of a cloud grows as you consolidate more workloads on it. So it is important when choosing a cloud platform that it is extensible to meet not just your immediate needs, but also your longer term needs. It helps to plan a roadmap of where you want to take your cloud adoption. Most businesses want to start with a few new cloud apps and grow to add more of the enterprise and legacy IT apps as cloud services. Knowing this upfront will help you avoid getting locked in to a narrow cloud platform that won’t be able to accommodate both your cloud-native and traditional enterprise workloads. Most cloud platforms are built to run one or the other, but not both.
DO know which apps you want to move to the cloud and the hypervisors, etc. they require. Planning which apps you want to transform will help you understand the requirements of these apps and ensure that your cloud platform can accommodate these choices. For example, many businesses use more than one hypervisor, and need a cloud platform that supports multiple hypervisors. Knowing this up front will ensure multi-hypervisor support is high on your evaluation criteria.
DO pick a platform that offers flexibility. A key benefit of a cloud is the ability to abstract and make changes to the underlying infrastructure without impacting the apps that run on it. For instance, perhaps you want to change the secondary storage to take advantage of less expensive object storage options. Or, you want to move from a flat network during Dev/Test to a tiered and dedicated network when going to production. Your cloud platform should offer the flexibility to support these modifications without restricting your choices.
DON’T get locked-in. Many cloud platform vendors are optimizing for their own stacks, and may not make it easy for you to leverage other alternatives. It is important to understand the APIs that a solution supports. If you want to add AWS to your architecture, does your cloud platform have an AWS-compatible API? Does it enable you to use your choice of networking, storage, and hypervisor technologies? These are important considerations when choosing a cloud platform.
DON’T turn it into a science project. Yes, you want your cloud management platform to offer flexibility, but this does not mean you need to roll your own platform. Some open source cloud efforts like OpenStack can often be a collection of projects that you need to devote engineering resources to in order to design and develop your own solution. This is one of the key reasons why cloud deployments end up taking a long time and lead to frustration. It is best to start with a narrow set of use cases, deploy quickly, deliver results, while architecting for flexibility in the longer term and expanding the scope of your deployment as you grow.
Krishna Subramanian is vice president of product marketing for Citrix Cloud Platforms group, overseeing the company’s marketing strategy for its cloud infrastructure and server virtualization products. She joined Citrix through the acquisition of Kaviza, the industry leader in affordable desktop virtualization for SMBs, bringing more than 20 years of industry experience to Citrix in enterprise software, virtualization and cloud computing. At Kaviza, she served as chief operating officer, marketing, sales and alliances.
Prior to Kaviza, Subramanian led mergers and acquisitions for the Sun Microsystems cloud computing business, which delivered more than $500 million in incremental revenue. Before Sun, Subramanian was the chief executive officer and co-founder of Kovair, a software-as-a-service CRM company that grew to become a Computerworld Top 100 Emerging Company.
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