What do you need to know before moving to Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)?

DOUG HODGSON, CITO, CITY OF CALGARY: A solid understanding of your business needs and current capabilities is vital before moving or evaluating IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) or any other XaaS provider.

A good start would be to understand your internal cost, capability and limitations of existing infrastructure (compute/storage/network) services, identify your performance (Service Level Agreements – if you have them), availability, data security, service integration, compliance requirements (FOIP, PCI, Corporate Records -data backup, retention, archival and disposal) and nature of business criticality & demand cycles of the service you are planning to host. Your experience with virtualized workloads/infrastructure is an advantage.

Initially you can go with RFI’s to gauge the market maturity, shortlist and rate providers on performance, availability, business continuity, quality of service metrics, open standards support, virtual infrastructure management platform, SLA’s offered, chargeback system, exit strategy, standards (SSAE 16, ISO -27001) and accordingly pilot the service which addresses your immediate business needs.

If the market responds with promise in meeting your requirements, evaluate provider offerings by piloting the service to validate the true cost, performance, support, etc.. Prove/disprove the business value and concerns.

Your business clients experience will be critical during the evaluation and adoption; especially user interface, user training, self-service & end user support experience. IT is just serving as the broker between the business client and the service provider(s).

A little something about us…

At The City of Calgary we have adopted a balanced approach – evaluating and enabling business services where business risk is low and high business value can be delivered. We plan to be both a consumer and provider of the cloud services in a hybrid or community cloud model, looking for regional civic partners to join our cloud journey.

  • Have a “virtualize first” policy ( 80% of in-scope workloads virtualized)
  • Have an ‘internal compute infrastructure as a service’ pilot underway using vCloud Director from VMware and we plan to run virtual servers on an external hosted infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provider
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