Cloud computing's fit depends on how you look at your apps

The architectural approaches you select before moving to the cloud could have a lot to do with your success

If you have a portfolio of applications you're looking to move to cloud computing providers, you have a few basic architectural choices to make. You can look at the applications, well, as applications, and thus coarse-grained. Or you can break the applications down to finer-grained component parts, such as groups of services and data.

The core idea here is that you're looking to address the architecture using as many moving parts as you can. Each of these parts, or application components, has the potential for moving to cloud-delivered platforms. You divide the architecture into application components, which lets you evaluate each component independently for cloud-worthiness.

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You would evaluate each component as a candidate for cloud computing, looking at the security, performance, cost, compliance, and core business requirements for that component, and then deciding if it should exist on the cloud or not. Thus, the more you can break down these portions of the architecture (applications, data, and services) into smaller, finer-grained parts, the more options you have to divide them between cloud computing platforms and on-premise systems.

For example, let's say you have an HR application that you're considering moving to the cloud. The HR application, when considering the requirements, may not be a good fit for the cloud as a holistic application. However, if you can break that application down to sets of user interfaces, services, and data, perhaps you can find some components that are more cost-effective and efficient when placed in the cloud -- perhaps the database, in this case.

Thus, I'm asserting that the more you're able to deconstruct your architecture down to component parts, such as data, services, and interfaces, then the more options you have with cloud computing resources to host those components. The more the component parts have to be bound to applications, the fewer options you have.

Of course, there are always some practicalities to consider; applications may not be able to be broken apart, even between the core services and the data. Also, you need to keep in mind the performance issues when distributing application components, especially components that are tightly coupled, between on premise and cloud systems.

So if you're thinking about moving your existing architecture, including applications and data to the cloud, the best approach is to break those IT assets down as much as you can. The smaller or finer-grained, the more options you have when it comes to cloud computing.

This story, "Cloud computing's fit depends on how you look at your apps," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com.

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