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 the lack of staff expertise, managing application specific performance on the cloud, and moving legacy applications to a cloud architecture.

Having helped over 250 major enterprises and service providers transform to cloud services – in some cases in a matter of weeks, we at Citrix have learnt some key do’s and don’ts to acclerate this transformation.  Here are the top 5 do’s and don’ts, and why.

Top 5 Do’s 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 chosing 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 not get 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 accomodate these choices.  For example, many businesses use more than one hypervisor, and need a cloud platform that supports multiple hypervisors.  Knowing this upfront 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 applications 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 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 chosing 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.  Often, open-source cloud efforst like OpenStack are a collection of projects that you need to devote engineering resources to design and develop your own solution from.  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.

It is for these reasons that we are continuing to evolve Citrix CloudPlatform to deliver flexibility in the hypervisors, networking and compute options, and applications you can manage.  Watch this space tomorrow for news on the enhancements we have made to Citrix CloudPlatform 4.3.