3 best practices for your cloud computing first-timers

Enterprises that want to move to cloud computing can avoid the most egregious deployment mistakes by following these tips

As enterprises continue to move to cloud computing, blunders will occur, but we'll also see success with the cloud. Now is a good time to survey what works -- that is, the best practices around cloud deployment. Here is my initial list, but it will evolve over the next few years.

Note: These are mainly management concepts dealing with the people aspect of cloud computing. The best practices around the use of the technology are emerging, but the most common breakdowns seem to be reside within brains, not servers.

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1. Start with a high-value, tactical problem that can be solved with a public cloud

Those who want their first cloud deployment to change the nature of enterprise IT are asking for trouble. Migrating highly visible and mission-critical systems to cloud-based systems carry too much risk for the first try. Instead, focus on a smaller problem that can bring well-defined value to the business, such as the use of a public IaaS for storage or perhaps outplacement of a single database.

Using a public cloud is also a good idea, if indeed it's a fit. No capital costs appear on financial statements to bring scrutiny, and you can do this on the cheap. In the process, you'll solve a small but important problem, and use the project as a way to prove initial value.

2. Address and plan for cloud security upfront -- aggressively

Most of those in IT won't dig your initial movement to cloud computing, and they'll spout the usual FUD around security and whatnot. It's best to take this off the table as an install issue by providing a formal plan and technology solution. In this plan, make sure to include security testing and validation, which should put most fears to rest and move you to a much more secure final solution.

3. Include as many people as you can in the review process

Many cloud projects operate like they are secret projects in enterprises. However, the best approach is to include as many people as you can in the process of defining, designing, and deploying your first cloud computing project. As they walk through the progress of the project -- perhaps in monthly review sessions and demonstrations -- they'll learn about the concepts and the technology, and the fear level will quickly fall.

Enterprises that follow these three practices are the ones that prevail in their move to the cloud. It's not an all-encompassing list, but it's a good guide toward your own success.

This article, "3 best practices for your cloud computing first-timers," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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