Which Apps Belong on the Cloud and Which Don’t

At CloudConnect, the conference about all things cloud in California this past week, there was some good advice dispensed on what would be suitable for the cloud and what wouldn’t.

Let’s discuss some arguments overheard:

30 percent of discretionary IT spending, Saugatuck forecasts that up to 20 percent of that will go to cloud computing in the next 12 to 24 months- contracting with a cloud provider for a “pay-as-you-go” computing infrastructure could be great for a small to medium-sized company, but a huge enterprise has to factor in the cost of business disruption. The costs of disruption could be as high as loss of 30% savings, according to Bill McNee, founder and CEO of Saugatuck Technology, an IT research firm. McNee’s firm specializes in assisting large enterprises.

Whether you’re suited for the cloud depends on the types of applications you want to use, too. For example, collaboration apps may be ideal, but not necessarily apps that operate on-premise with very little utilization variability, said McNee.

On the other hand, Microsoft’s senior director of business strategy for Window’s Azure, Dianne O’Brien, says that deciding which applications you put on the cloud depends on how they “behave,” according to the story I read about the conference. O’Brien says there are four types of apps suitable for the cloud:

– those that you use only sporadically each day, for example, end-of-day batch processing for a web retailer;

– those quick-growing apps, for example, popular social networking tools;

– those with unpredictable spikes in usage;

– apps with predictable spikes in usage, such as an online retailer during Black Friday.

Actually, if you want to check out how your apps would fare on the cloud, Microsoft has a TCO/ROI calculator on its Web site.

Others at the conference argued that calculating ROI in terms of cost savings was too narrow. Perhaps the more important factor is agility of capacity – the ability to adjust capacity levels at the most crucial times.

To help track those times when your share of visitors spike – and thus extra capacity is needed – it’s important to have a monitoring system in place that operates virtually, 24/7 and has multiple ways to warn you.