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Why Workload Awareness is Vital for Cloud Strategy

Posted On: May 24, 2016

Topic: Cloud & Hosting Solutions

Why Workloud Awareness_Blog.jpg Organizations are turning to the cloud to offload support and gain flexibility for their infrastructure to a dedicated service. Yet, only a few will completely move all applications to the cloud. Sensitive data such as intellectual property or your customers' personally identifiable information is often deemed too important to move its protection off premises. But organizations can still gain some cloud benefits for those applications, including agility and scalability, by implementing private clouds that reside in company-managed data centers.

Analyst firm, IDC, considers "workload awareness," defined as that which requires an understanding of the performance, security, and data needs of each application, to be critical for optimizing cloud resources. The most successful organizations create a hybrid cloud environment that combines public and private clouds to balance workloads. Hybrid clouds when deployed correctly deliver not only IT benefits but the resulting cost savings, agility and performance improvements benefit the business as well. 

The trick to realizing these benefits is to make deliberate decisions regarding which applications to deploy in which environment. Workload awareness is an important factor in the hybrid cloud when:

  • Tying together complex, on premises systems with the cloud
  • Configuring failover and redundancies
  • Meeting demand to burst-up to the cloud and consequently scale your workloads back down
  • Meeting complex data residency and compliance requirements

Workload Characteristics and Cloud Choices

Many organizations classify their applications into three "tiers" and use their tier placement to guide cloud selection. Tier 1 workloads are the highest priority. More than half the respondents to IDC's survey said Tier 1 workloads have the following characteristics:

  • Need reliable, predictable performance
  • Require protection of confidential information or adherence to regulatory or security requirements
  • Produce revenue for the organization

Other requirements of Tier 1 applications include audit and change controls and high volumes of data.

Those requirements identify mission-critical applications that are difficult to move to a public cloud environment due to the impact of downtime on company revenue, employee productivity, and customer satisfaction. Private clouds, where the company manages its own SLA, are more suited to these applications. Enterprises also commonly use a private cloud for their virtual desktop and on-demand computing infrastructure needs.

Instead of moving key applications to the public cloud, companies largely use the public cloud for collaboration, mobility, and e-commerce applications. Often the front-end, public-facing tier of an application may be deployed in the public cloud while its databases and backend services would reside in the enterprise's private cloud.

Workload Analysis Emphasizes Data

Workload analysis is as much about data as it is about applications. When deciding where data should reside, one needs to carefully consider data management and backup, data protection and access control. The cost of storage in the cloud will also be a factor in selecting the right environment for your data.

Other Elements of Workload Awareness

In addition to application performance, data protection, security, compliance and storage factors that impact workload allocations, the automation of workloads should be considered. The ability to streamline support and provide self-service features is an important factor in selecting an application's cloud environment - whether public, private or hybrid.

Hybrid cloud environments offer significant benefits but are complex, and using them effectively requires significant analysis to support informed decision-making. Without that analysis, organizations will be challenged to meet scalability demands and derive long-term success from deployments. Taking a 360-degree approach is necessary to evaluate all factors, ranging from technology choices to human factors that contribute to success in the cloud.

Deciding how to allocate workloads to the cloud is a complex process, and partnering with an experienced provider will help you decide the right path for your organization. OneNeck IT Solutions offers a hybrid cloud assessment to help you understand your cloud needs and how to balance your workloads. With our experience architecting, deploying and managing hybrid cloud solutions based on Microsoft Azure, ReliaCloud®, or on premises, OneNeck will guide you through your move to the hybrid cloud.