First of all let us answer a simple question: Why do customers migrate to Cloud? On the one hand, the answer to this question is quite complex, but on the other hand, the main benefits are pretty obvious.
- There is no need to care about hardware availability, reliability and maintenance.
- You get relatively stable performance of hosted applications.
- Performing backup of the whole system or a part of it becomes easy and transparent.
You can find this information in almost every marketing prospect on Cloud Computing and Cloud Hosting out there. It does not, however, answer another vital question:
What happens behind the scenes?
- Hardware Availability or, in case of Cloud Computing, availability of platforms to increase a number of virtual instances is a relatively trivial point - it's either you have enough or you don't.
- Reliability and Maintenance is a bit more complex:
a. Does a Cloud Management service support infrastructure network isolations and is it secure enough?
b. Does it also support automatic instance recovery after failure?
- Performance Stability is a very important point for customers migrating to Cloud. It can be reached through establishment of proper networking and resource allocation. Also it is crucial that we have the ability to increase the amount of servers (instances) dynamically from some application components.
- Easy backup and restoring of new instances with the same configuration should also be available on the level of Cloud Management service, but for the sake of client confidence they need to be sure each of their components can be backed up, restored and even launched as a new instance from backup.
This short presentation of Behind the Scenes covers marketing aspects, but there is also a couple of points that can be very interesting in terms of development and deployment.
- Similar development and production environments ensure lower costs. This simplifies the process of deployment and makes production behavior predictable.
- Tests portability between similarly configured environments allows for relatively quick performance of automation acceptance testing with predictable results and minimum maintenance time expenditures. The goal of separating data-related issues from environment-related issues would be also met.
All of the aforementioned gives us enough information to prepare a questionnaire and some flows instrumental in standardization of customer consulting process before and in the course of migration to Cloud.