Proof-of-concept projects are an important step in the path to the cloud for many organizations. Such projects allow you to gain experience, test ideas, and deepen your understanding of the issues and potential pitfalls of cloud computing. At RightScale Compute, I'll be leading a session that walks you through the process of selecting and implementing a cloud proof-of-concept.
Selecting an application for your proof-of-concept is a key first step. You should choose a real application, but not the hardest one on your to-do list. Keeping in mind a few of the many benefits of cloud computing — speed to deploy, high scalability, and the ability to support variable loads — pick an application that will enable your organization to respond more quickly to business needs and opportunities. Good candidates are those projects that give more control to your internal business users or developers or that automate routine work for your operations team, such as web applications, social and collaborative apps, big data analysis or processing, or development and testing solutions. And be sure to choose a project for which you can show demonstrable results within a few months.
Once you have an application in mind, you need to decide where to put it. Should you deploy on a public or private cloud? Private clouds are a good choice for applications that require high flexibility and performance and that demand a level of security or compliance. They're also a good fit for organizations that work under a capital expenditure procurement model. The advantage of public clouds is a higher level of automation than you can attain with private clouds. As for which cloud technology to use, consider one built on a standard like OpenStack or CloudStack. Numerous cloud vendors' offerings are built on top of these open source platforms.
Along the way, you'll find yourself navigating many technical hurdles. In my session, I'll talk about how to architect applications, manage data, and ensure security in cloud environments. I'll cover testing for both performance and security, and discuss integrating cloud applications with existing IT service management processes.
As you near your project's release date, you'll want to measure the success of your cloud proof-of-concept. If you've picked the right project, you should see improvements in uptime and agility and lower costs than you could achieve via traditional data center development. Even if these improvements are slight, bear in mind that the point is as much to learn about how to implement cloud applications as it is to roll out one particular application. The lessons you learn from your proof-of-concept development will pay off in every future cloud development project.
I look forward to seeing you in San Francisco at my session on Tips for a Successful Cloud-Proof-of-Concept. If you haven’t already, check out the conference agenda and register for RightScale Compute.