AFCOM Offers Recommendations on Moving to Cloud Computing

A 17-page AFCOM position paper, Guiding Data Centers to Cloud Computing, presents concepts and issues that the industry association recommends that enterprises evaluate before they invest in public, private or hybrid cloud computing.

Data center industry association AFCOM Aug. 23 announced the availability of a position paper containing concepts and issues the organization recommends that IT managers consider before beginning the move to public, private or hybrid cloud computing.

The 17-page paper, Guiding Data Centers to Cloud Computing, aims to help organizations better determine whether their systems are well-suited for and ready to migrate to the cloud.

The report is currently the only available resource of its kind specifically for data center and facilities management professionals, AFCOM said.

"Based on AFCOM's 2009/2010 Data Center Trends Survey, only 14.9 percent of all large-scale data centers worldwide had implemented any form of cloud computing as of September 2009; however, it is the collective opinion of the Data Center Institute that the next five years will see the adoption of cloud computing grow dramatically, and that its impact on data center management will be felt throughout the industry," the association said.

Interestingly, the report includes the definition of a relatively new kind of cloud structure, the community cloud. AFCOM defines this cloud infrastructure as being shared by several organizations and supporting a specific community that has shared concerns, such as mission, security requirements, policy and compliance considerations.

Other highlights from the report include:

"Tips for Selecting the Right Cloud Provider-Moving to the cloud raises many questions. However, definitive service-level agreements, understanding compliance initiatives, physically inspecting the cloud computing infrastructure and developing a specific training plan around cloud computing resources when selecting a cloud provider to mitigate these problems.Value of Cloud Computing-Beyond operational cost savings, cloud computing offers additional business value, including preserving capital, upsizing and downsizing on demand, and shifting the risk of handling the computing processing load from the data center owner to the cloud provider.Ten Steps for Building an Internal Cloud-The report offers ten steps to help guide the decision on building an internal cloud-from understanding and defining the business requirements and ROI to physical and logistical challenges."

Cloud computing eliminates the need for enterprise data centers that do not host their own internal clouds to house, own, operate or maintain all of their own hardware, software and data, thereby reducing the total cost of ownership through economies of scale.

"Today's data center is a living, breathing entity that continues to grow. Data center managers are dealing with cramped facilities, massive data growth, tight budgets and archive mandates that have created nearly impossible storage requirements," AFCOM CEO Jill Eckhaus said. "Cloud computing works to contain these issues and make data centers more manageable and cost effective, but data centers will have to be prepared in order to leverage public clouds, or become a public or private cloud."

AFCOM members can download the report free of charge. Copies for non-AFCOM members cost $175.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...