More and more enterprise IT shops -- as they get comfortable with virtualization practices in their own private clouds -- are considering a jump to the public cloud. But before making that leap, consider these pieces of advice from those that have already jumped.
1. Make sure your provider has VM-specific security
"Hypervisors were never really designed to be running in a public environment," says Beth Cohen, senior cloud architect for Cloud Technology Partners, a consultancy.
[ In the data center today, the action is in the private cloud. InfoWorld's experts take you through what you need to know to do it right in our "Private Cloud Deep Dive" PDF special report. | Also check out our "Cloud Security Deep Dive," our "Cloud Storage Deep Dive," and our "Cloud Services Deep Dive." ]
That fact doesn't necessarily stop them from being secure, Cohen says. But it does require a more elastic security strategy that can deal with the issues of virtual machines (VM) moving around the underlying infrastructure, interacting with cloud applications, and supporting multiple tenants.
Customers going into the public cloud need to understand that perimeter security -- while it still needs to be in place in any virtual data center environment -- isn't going to help with the internal security of virtual machines, says Michael Berman, CTO of Catbird Networks, a vendor that focuses on virtual machine security.
Both Cohen and Berman have pointed potential cloud consumers to VMware's vShield, which is both a product that offers integrated security services to the underlying VMware hypervisor and a set of APIs that allow third-party security vendors to build security services on top VMware's platform.
VMware's Dean Coza, director of product management for security products, points out that a dozen security vendors announced products that tap into vShield to deliver virtual machine security products at last month's VMworld conference.
2. Figure out a way to lockdown endpoints
Predictions for mobile device sales are staggering. Forrester says tablet sales will hit 208 million by 2014. Gartner contends that 1.1 billion smartphones will be sold in 2015. Enterprises moving to the cloud must brace themselves for many more of these consumer-type devices trying to get to corporate data and applications in the cloud.