Getting Ready for The Cloud
Well, you have heard all the hype, Cloud this, Cloud that, Public Cloud, Private Cloud, etc, etc, how the heck do you get ready?
Your organization might not be ready to move 100% of your servers to someone else’s data center yet, but still, what should you be doing NOW for that day when Cloud will be part of your everyday world?
First we need to look at your existing environment. Truly take a good assessment of what you have. First thing about your servers, are they virtualized? Then think about DR/Backups? What happens if you entire data center isn’t there. Secondly your desktops, what do you do for management of them, should you virtualize your desktops? Then finally think about your applications. Where do they run now, how about in the future, how do you apps scale securely.
Let’s look into each one of these closer. If you are an average medium sized company, you probably have 50-75 servers for approximately 1000 end users. Look at those servers, what % CPU are they using? How is your extra disk space spread across those servers? Server consolidation is your first step. You can use Hyper-V with Windows Server 2008 R2 (you probably already own this) to consolidate your servers. How does this help you prepare for the Cloud? Well either Private or Public cloud, you are using virtualization. So if you are highly virtualized, you step into the Cloud will be easier. And you get better utilization of your current hardware, and don’t forget the flexibility it gives you.
The other area to think about with servers is DR(Disaster Recovery) and Backups. As I write this article I am in Houston Texas today, If you are from Houston, you remember Hurricane IKE 2 years ago, life without power for 2 weeks. What would you do if your data center had now power for that long? Think about moving some of your apps to the Cloud, or what if in the future(I know I wish we did this today), but if you can use the Cloud as a DR, move one of your VM’s to a Cloud site, have it sit there idle, until you need it. I hope we will be able to do that in the not so distant future. Did you know Microsoft has Data Protection Manager to backup virtual world?
How do you manage your workstations? Do you know what software/hardware is on each? You might want to try our recently release version of Windows Intune to look at managing your desktops thru the cloud. How do you get ready? Take a test environment, go get a trial account of Intune and see what it can do for you.
Maybe you are tired of managing desktops locally, have you considered virtualizing your desktops? You should go try Microsoft Desktop Virtualization. (Yep try the free trial) This would allow you to run your desktops from a central server, much easier to manage in some deployments.
The last area is your applications. You know all those legacy things you support, as well as all the new ones under development. First look at Windows Azure. (Again free trials) It might be appropriate to put your application there. If you need to keep your application in house, but want more flexibility out of your traditional IT infrastructure, look at more Private Cloud solutions
If you are looking for Hyper-V, Windows Server 2008 R2, System Center, Private Cloud components one great location to start is https://aka.ms/evaluations yep, just going to take you to another part of this blog, but boom, right there you can start doing your download.
To summarize, start learning. As you can tell from all the links in this post, there is a huge amount of free trial software, and things to learn. Get yourself educated on what is possible to help prepare for how the Cloud will impact you in the future.