Checklists for Analyzing, Planning and Implementing Cloud

Editor’s note: This companion piece complements this article on analysis, planning and implementation of a cloud computing project.

The checklists in this piece offer a starter set of benefits, risks, alternatives, technology choices, business-model elements, attributes and planning steps. These items are meant to be a starting point for an in-house cloud implementation effort.

Analyzing Activity

The checklist in Table 1 contains benefits and risks. Read the benefit and assign a potential impact considering what you know about your company’s characteristics and potential for cloud adoption.

Table 1: Potential Benefits

Potential Benefit Significance
Pay-for-what-you-use pricing model  
Flexible scaling of computing resources  
Rapid provisioning of images and related resources  
Masked complexity through standardization of features and usage  
Data sharing through centralized consolidation of some workloads like analytics or desktops  
Heightened security through the use of a cloud model with support software  
Improved availability resulting from cloud management tools and automation  
Self-service model for actions like image and database creation  
Reduced organizational burden of installing and managing resources in infrastructure and platforms  
Increased collaboration with partners for opening new channels and markets  

Here is the checklist for risks. In column two, indicate the significance or the mitigation to the risk.

Table 2: Potential Risks

Potential Risk Significance or Mitigation
Increased exposure of servers and images to attack  
Loss of flexibility due to standardization  
Complexity or uncertainty of flexible pricing  
Not a good fit with company culture and practices  
Integration demands too complex to be practical  
Inherent sharing model violates legal or existing contractual requirements  
Functionality will be insufficient or primitive by comparison to current base  
Security model unable to be changed where needed  
Data loss or leakage concerns  
Complex backup, restore and business continuity processes  

Planning Activity

Table 3 contains alternatives, technology scope and business model to help with planning. Column one includes four implementation alternatives. Column two lists the potential workloads that could run in that infrastructure or platform alternative. For those alternatives that you plan to implement, select candidate workloads both for the pilot implementation as well as for eventual ongoing use.

Table 3: Alternatives

Alternative Potential Workloads
Private infrastructure services _ Development and test
_ Analytics
_ Storage
_ Collaboration
_ Desktop
_ Simple production
_ Complex production
     _ Virtualized
     _ Non-virtualized
     _ ERP
_ Self-service application development environments
_ Webmail
Public infrastructure services As above
Public platform services As above plus
_ Database as a service
_ Middleware as a service
_ Software design as a service
_ Software lifecycle as a service
Private platform services As above

Technology Scope

Table 4 contains technology selections or services, and the need for their use in a cloud environment. In column three, list why the selection or service is needed.

Table 4: Technology Scope

Category Selection or Service Why needed?
Server _ Mainframe
_ Power
_ x86
Hypervisors _ z/VM
_ VMware
_ Hyper V
Networking with features _ LAN
_ Firewall
_ Load balancing
_ Intrusion detection
Storage _ Basic or low cost
_ High performance
_ Backup and recovery
_ Archiving
OS and other software images _ z/OS
_ Linux
_ Windows
_ DB2
_ WebSphere Application Server
Security policy, software and hardware _ Policy with agreed-upon constraints
_ Host intrusion detection
_ Network intrusion testing
Integration Patterns for integration between cloud and non-cloud systems  
Application programming interfaces _ Application management
_ Performance testing

Business Model

Table 5 contains the attributes of the business model. In column two, list why the attribute is desired.

Table 5: Attributes

Attribute Why desired?
Pricing model featuring pay-as-you-go for customers of the service  
Dynamic scaling of resources, both up and down in size and capability  
Service level agreement in areas like availability or provisioning time  
Packaging or bundles of capacity, service level, software and support  
Management services like patching or incident and change management  
Use of provisioning including what’s provisioned and how much is automatic or preselected  
Term of use involving resources like images or installed databases of middleware instances  
Degree of resiliency built in and selectable as infrastructure or platform options  
Use of labor pools for support and leveraging cloud automation  
Request for service management  

Implementing Activity

The Table 6 checklist contains steps to set up the cloud solution. These steps are oriented for the IT department performing its own in-house solution. The set up steps are quite different, however, if you’re planning to use a public cloud provider.

Table 6: Implementation Steps

Step Details Consideration
Detailed planning Create a detailed implementation plan for the service including items from checklist assessments for planning and analysis  
Procurement Procure needed hardware and software  
Installation Install hardware and software  
Test _ Test hardware and software
_ Test the new services
Revise Revise design, hardware, software, and service as needed  
Pilot implementation Pilot the overall solution  
Revise Revise the overall solution as needed  
Production implementation _ Select the first production candidate
_ Implement and test—go live
_ Report on the success of the production implementation

Joseph Gulla is the general manager and IT leader of Alazar Press, a publisher of award-winning children’s books. Joe is a frequent contributor to IBM Destination z (the community where all things mainframe converge) and writes weekly for the IT Trendz blog where he explores a wide range of topics that interconnect with IBM Z.

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