Application Cloud Migrations
Another question we are always being asked at Digital Innovations Global is "Which applications can we migrate to a hybrid cloud?". Most companies view public cloud computing as a complementary technology for their data centre; they'll migrate to the cloud some applications but not all of them, therefore when you are building your hybrid cloud platform, the answer is knowing which applications to migrate and when.
Identifying the right applications to use a hybrid solution will determine, the total value it will be able to draw from the public cloud. The majority of enterprise-level IT applications usually fit into one of the following four categories, each of having it’s hybrid issues:
- e-commerce/transactional web applications: serve web users and deliver entry, customer support or other transactional oriented activities.
- Private transactional applications: provide employee access to company applications for HR/payroll, which do not give access to the general public or their customers.
- SOA-distributed applications: built on a service-oriented architecture model where individual elements of the application are run in a distributed way.
- Data mining applications: access historical data to obtain business intelligence data (BI).
E-Commerce/transactional web applications not only support customers or suppliers but also work with front-end web applications in the on-premise data centre, which can be accessed by off-site employees. They are the most commonly deployed application models in a data centre. The current industry practice is to use public cloud services to host these applications. A secure VPN link is then used to transfer transactions from the web server to an application server located within the company's on-premise data centre.
Large-scale enterprise application data remains in the on-premise data centre; therefore information security and data storage costs are lower. The only significant safety and compliance issue you may find involves securing the web host-to-application server connection; offloading web hosting can improve on-premise data centre resource usage and costs. If you're looking into a hybrid cloud, this is a good place to start.
Private transactional web applications is a more a problematic application model because it raises the question of where the data is stored. Public cloud data storage fees vary considerably; some can be so high that charges for a single month would equal the cost of a disk drive of the same capacity. In companies where data storage charges are a big factor, it's best to keep the data stored in the on-premise data centre and then access it using a remote SQL database query.
The private transactional model is valuable in scenarios where a remote based employee requires access to a large amount of data. For security reasons, most companies in this situation look for cloud vendor who offers a provisioned VPN service integration to their cloud computing product. A provisioned VPN allows businesses to obtain a meaningful application service-level agreement (SLA) that the Internet cannot provide.
SOA-distributed applications can significantly increase data storage costs, if the application components hosted in the cloud require access to the on-premise enterprise data warehouse; remote SQL Server queries can remedy this as well. But distributing application components via SOA can create additional security and performance challenges, particularly if you use the Internet to link enterprise users, enterprise-hosted SOA components and cloud-hosted components.
When you are building a hybrid cloud, the answer is knowing which apps to cloud-source and when. In this situation, it's important to have a private VPN connection to the cloud via a network provider with a stringent SLA. Even when accessing the cloud through a VPN, you should review how application components are hosted, to ensure that work isn't duplicated between the on-premise data centre and the cloud. Data duplication could cause delays and negatively affect your employee productivity.
Out of all four of the enterprise IT applications discussed above, data mining can create the highest data storage expenses. Despite this, BI and data mining applications are two of the most attractive candidates for to migrate to the cloud because of their unpredictable nature. The option to allow cloud-based data mining or BI applications to access the on-premise data centre via a remote SQL query logic is an option, but the volume of information that would need to move across a network connection could create performance problems.
The best approach to running data mining applications to a hybrid cloud might be to create remote databases that summarise the large quantity of historical data that companies collect. You then can store the summary databases in the cloud and access them via public cloud BI tools, without incurring excessive cloud storage charges. Additionally, there are minimal security risks to storing detailed core data in the cloud.