Is Your Network Cloud Ready? 7 Criteria to Evaluate


More and more companies are moving resources to the cloud, whether it’s hosting critical applications in the public cloud or keeping some resources on premises in a hybrid cloud configuration. Cloud providers can offer substantial cost savings in terms of power, cooling, maintenance costs, elastic compute and staff per server. Prior to considering a move to the cloud, it’s important to evaluate whether your network is cloud ready. Here are some criteria to consider:

1.Are your critical applications cloud ready?

Moving critical applications to the cloud can lower the amount of resources used by your data centre, lowering bandwidth costs in the process. However, while many enterprises are moving applications to the cloud, in some cases, they are merely testing the waters with low-priority, general purpose apps. To determine if a critical application can be moved to the cloud, you will need to evaluate the ability to limit downtime, keep costs under control and ensure that your cloud provider has disaster recovery protocols to keep your workloads running. CDW’s Cloud Plan services can help you with this process.

2.Review and consider upgrading applications

It is possible that some of the applications you use on a regular basis can be managed in the cloud. For instance, if you are running an older version of Microsoft Office, you might consider upgrading to Office 365, a cloud-based solution. This could also be an opportunity to adopt an intent-based network that uses data analytics and automation to help you manage your network.

3.Ensure security for remote workers

With many companies relying on an increasingly remote workforce, the cloud offers a secure, robust network to help them stay connected. Employing technologies like virtual private networks (VPN), Voice over IP (VoIP), multi-factor authentication and file-hosting services, such as Microsoft OneDrive, help them connect to the network securely from any location.

4.Review security objectives and ensure you have the right tools

With a variety of applications, including AI, machine learning and IoT devices storing data in the cloud, you want to ensure that your data is secure. There are a variety of solutions that can provide flexibility and security to end users in the cloud, including endpoint detection and response (EDR), security information and event management (SIEM), intrusion prevention systems (IPS), URL filtering and anti-malware protection. A combination of these solutions can also improve the overall security posture of your organization.

5.Operation management and performance visibility

Cloud performance monitoring tools allow you to troubleshoot and optimize infrastructure across both your data centre and cloud-hosted resources. Maintaining visibility into your applications running in the cloud helps you take a proactive approach to employee productivity by providing real-time insights into each app running on the network.

6.On-demand scalability – how much cloud do you need?

One major advantage of the cloud is scalability. Scaling cloud resources up or down can eliminate the need to invest in additional hardware to manage seasonal increases in traffic, which goes unused in all but the busiest times of year. You will want to ensure your cloud service provider offers the flexibility and scalability to provide extra resources in the cloud as you require them.

7.Consider data centre vs. enterprise network traffic

Cloud computing and virtual machines have led to large increases in “east-west” traffic between servers in the data centre, as opposed to the traffic that flows “north-south” from the enterprise network to the data centre (or the Internet). These different forms of traffic can require specific network hardware; for instance, Cisco’s Nexus switches are designed for the data centre, while its Catalyst switches are built for enterprise networks. While there are a variety of switches in each product line, both the Catalyst 9000 and Nexus 9000 series can provide the increased bandwidth you require. But, before you move additional resources into a cloud environment, it’s important to consider whether you have the right switches to help you make the switch.

How CDW can help

At CDW, our experts can assist you from the initial assessment and site survey all the way through to installation, management and ongoing support. In the data centre, CDW has a wealth of experience in satisfying customers’ needs for rack configuration, asset management services, delivery and distribution optimization.

CDW also offers cloud planning services, helping you through each stage of moving to a cloud delivery model, from initial steps to a fully implemented service. Learn more about CDW CloudPlan.