The process of installing an application on the cloud using one or more models such as software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), that can leverage the functionality of the cloud is called cloud deployment. This process includes planning, implementation, architecting, and operating the workload on the cloud.
Cloud environments are becoming more diverse, offering organizations various deployment options like private, public, or hybrid cloud architecture. Some of the key drivers for cloud deployment include:
- Efficient and cost-effective backup and recovery capabilities.
- Reduced operational costs and freed up IT resources
- Safe and secure infrastructure
With a successful and effective cloud deployment model, an organization can achieve multiple benefits like;
- Scalability: Cloud storage and computing can be scaled up to support more users and larger workloads. This is possible in cloud storage as organizations don’t have to set up more physical servers on-site or increase other related hardware infrastructure along with software licenses.
- Cost economics: maintenance and upgradation related to cloud software and hardware are borne by the providers of cloud services. This allows companies to focus more on their products, software etc to give better services and features to their clients. It helps cost based on pay per use, i.e. payment is done only as per the usage of space and services.
- Security: Cloud environments usually work on industry-standard security and provide a secure workspace or environment as per government regulations. Protection of data is done using standard security solutions, tools, policies and best practices.
- Accelerated adoption: Accelerated adoption of new technologies, and faster turnaround time in response to business opportunities.
Cloud deployment models identify the specific types of cloud environment based on the ownership, scale, access and the nature and purpose of the cloud. It defines the location of the servers as well as the control ownership and specifies how the cloud infrastructure will look, what can be changed, what services can be availed or whether everything will have to be developed. Types of cloud models…
- Public cloud – Anyone can access the services and the system and is less secure as it gives access to everyone.
- Private cloud – This is opposed to the public cloud system. It offers a one-on-one environment for a single user. It is a secure environment with all necessary security procedures in place and is under the supervision of the company’s IT department.
- Hybrid cloud – It gives the best of both worlds, the public and private cloud system. It offers a safe environment with security and reduced costs.
- Community cloud – This allows access to its services and systems to a group of organizations and is generally managed by a third party or by one or more organizations in the community.
- Multi cloud – As the name suggests, uses multiple cloud environments.
Let’s discuss some steps to achieve successful cloud deployment…
- Strategy: It’s essential to establish what the company is planning to achieve by cloud deployment. The first step to this can be by detailing or capturing the metrics of the IT infrastructure to map the workloads to the assets and applications. This step is helpful to establish the key performance indicators (KPIs) for cloud deployments such as page load time, response time, availability, CPU and memory usage and conversion rates.
- Identifying applications: All apps are not created equal. Some apps perform better on the public cloud while some on the hybrid or private cloud. Applications may need to be tweaked or the code may need to be overhauled completely before cloud deployment. A complete analysis of the architecture, complexity & implementation before cloud deployment is better for the company. Some questions to bear in mind while selecting the applications for cloud deployment;
- Which applications can be moved as they exist and which ones will require changes?
- In case of changes or redesign, what level of complexity would be required?
- Is it possible to deploy without workload configuration, and will the cloud provider have services that will make this possible?
- What are the ROI and the timeline to achieve it?
- What type of cloud deployment, public, private or hybrid, is best for apps that can be deployed cost-effectively and securely?
- Cloud provider: The key aspect of any cloud deployment is the cloud provider, who can guide the process during the transition and beyond. Some points to check:
- Tools available to make the process easier, including third-party tools.
- The cloud provider’s level of experience.
- Scaling support for deployment to either private, public, or hybrid environments.
- Support for dealing with complex inter dependencies, inflexible architecture, redundant or out-of-date technology.
- Data integrity: operational continuity. Validation of processes post-migration is crucial to ensure that the automated controls are in sync and generate the same outcomes without disrupting normal operations to ensure data integrity and operational continuity.
These are some of the steps to achieve the successful deployment of apps to the cloud. How the deployment is done depends on the complexity and the architecture of the applications and data. The deployment can be done either on a piecemeal basis or all at once with necessary validations.
The key takeaways to achieving successful cloud deployment are –
- Proactive and advanced planning can make cloud deployment easy.
- Cloud streamlines load testing.
- Cloud’s scalability is the key to customer satisfaction.