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Cloud Computing Awareness

Table of Contents

Product Specific Awareness

Overview

The purpose of this document is to supply Evolve IP customers and prospects with a best practices approach to cloud computing readiness planning. This awareness guide is critical for customers planning on moving some aspect of their IT to the cloud.

Key stakeholders and IT decision makers are advised to use this guide as a checklist for review prior to moving forward with a cloud computing project. Evolve IP cloud solutions have several requirements that collectively, if executed well, make up a successful cloud deployment and result in higher customer satisfaction.



Components of a Successful Deployment

Customers must understand the various components of a successful cloud computing migration.

  • Clear Understanding of Responsibilities
  • Definition of IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)
  • Network Health and Best Practices
  • Prepared Staff

Clear Understanding of Responsibilities

Successful migration to a cloud computing environment must be planned just like any other IT project. First and foremost, all parties must have a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities. It’s critical that this be addressed early in the planning phase, otherwise the project is likely to fail or be severely behind schedule and over budget.

  • Evolve IP is responsible for the following:

    • Datacenter Infrastructure and Reliability
    • Virtual infrastructure platform, uptime, upgrades, accessibility and security.
    • Network connectivity of platform and core routing.
  • Customer responsibilities are as follows:
    • Group Administration – overall management of client technology needs.
    • Local Device Support – management of PC hardware.
    • End User Support – troubleshooting printer issues, print server performance, file permissions.
    • Line of Business Applications – installing specific software packages

    Evolve IP will not trobleshoot customer workstation, printers, servers or applications. It’s critical that customer management and staff understand roles and responsibilities. Often times, executives review the Evolve IP Statement of Work and understand where Evolve IP responsibility ends. However, customer IT staff is not clear on responsibilties and has wrong expectations. Evolve IP SOW can be reviewed in detail here: http://evolveip.net/paperwork/sow.pdf


Definition of IaaS

Infrastructure as a Service should NOT be confused with IT Outsourcing. Evolve IP is not providing a replacement for customer IT staff; in fact, technical staff are more critical than before as they migratre, rebuild and protect company data systems at Evolve IP.

With IaaS, Evolve IP is removing the burden of datacenter infrastructure, outdated physical servers, physical desktops, overheating server rooms, inadequate power and UPS, etc.. This must be considered as customers consider the total cost of ownership of an Evolve IP product.



Network Health and Best Practices

Environmental Considerations:

  • All internal cabling is CAT 5, CAT 5E, CAT 6, or is otherwise capable of delivering at least 100mbps to the end device.
  • Stable power and cooling infrastructure.
  • Battery backup / generator for utility power failure.
  • No in-line network hubs between switches and VoIP handsets.
  • No single copper cable run that exceeds 300 feet in length.

Switch and LAN Guidelines:

  • Verify accuracy of all network diagrams
  • Verify connectivity, management and access to all production switch equipment.
  • No single application accounts for greater than 30% of all LAN traffic (for proper queuing)
  • Total traffic does not regularly exceed 75% of the total available bandwidth
  • Packet Loss across the LAN is less than 1%
  • For multi-site organizations – clearly identify point of contact for remote hands.
  • Clearly label important cabling and connections.
  • Connections between firewalls, routers and switches optimized for full duplex with maximum speed between components. I.e. 1000 Mbps Full Duplex/ 100 Mbps Full Duplex

Router and WAN Guidelines:

  • Apply QoS policies to downstream ports and uplinks into WAN
  • Verify connectivity, management and access to all production routing equipment.
  • Total traffic does not regularly exceed 75% of the total available bandwidth
  • Packet Loss < 1%
  • Enable SNMP and IP/SLA for advanced monitoring
  • Identify ISP provided equipment – verify carrier support and escalations.
  • Confirm total bandwidth required for cloud solution.
  • For multi-site organizations – clearly identify point of contact for remote hands.
  • Clearly label important cabling and connections.

Firewall Guidelines:

  • Identify firewall make and model and verify overall capacity is sufficient for your solution.
  • Verify proper technical support and maintenance contracts are in place.
  • Verify connectivity, management and access to all production security equipment.

Server Guidelines:

  • Verify all existing server hardware is labeled and documented.
  • Verify connectivity, management and access to all production server and storage equipment.
  • Clearly document which servers are in scope for migration.
  • Identify any risks with leaving servers powered on during migration. ie – domain controllers, overlapping print servers.
  • Validate servers are in healthy environmental condition prior to migration.
  • Bandwidth of servers to uplink switches should be set to maximum performance. Ie – 1 Gbps Full Duplex.
  • Latency among internal users and systems is <1ms per site.
  • Ensure hardware maintenance or spare parts are available in the event of component failure during migration.
  • Ensure backup mechanisms are functional and company data is protected in the event of hardware or human error during migration.

Network Monitoring System (NMS):

  • Setup and configure basic Up/Down status for all technology infrastructure.
  • Configure environmental monitoring within critical areas of infrastructure.
  • Configure and test WAN and LAN bandwidth alerting and trending.
  • Configure NetFlow across company WAN and LAN
  • Baseline latency among LAN and select ISP endpoints.


Prepared Staff

Once you have migrated your environment to Evolve IP, we require the help of a local Group Administrator, who is responsible for providing support and direction to end users, supporting local devices, and management of your important line-of-business applications.

  • Evolve IP is responsible for the following:
    • Datacenter Infrastructure and Reliability
    • Virtual infrastructure platform, uptime, upgrades, accessibility and security.
    • Network connectivity of platform and core routing.
  • Customer responsibilities are as follows:
    • Group Administration – overall management of client technology needs.
    • Local Device Support – management of PC hardware.
    • End User Support – troubleshooting printer issues, print server performance, file permissions.
    • Line of Business Applications – installing specific software packages

    Evolve IP will not troubleshoot customer workstation, printers, servers or applications. It’s critical that executives AND IT staff understand their roles and responsibilities.   The Evolve IP SOW can be reviewed in detail here:  http://www-old.evolveip.net/paperwork/sow.pdf

Technical Staff

Daily administration and re-engineering are very different jobs.   Carefully consider the staff that you make available to work on migration tasks.   Your team will be asked to make decisions about data security, environment consistency and application use that are not applicable in a traditional desktop environment where each desktop can be setup as the user sees fit.

Certain applications also perform differently in cloud environments.   Decision makers are advised to budget for IT staffing augmentation or consulting when planning for migration.

Project Management Staff

Evolve IP Project Managers will guide you through your project, however, they cannot manage your internal constituents throughout the project.   We recommend that you assign or hire a project manager as the primary point of contact with Evolve IP through your implementation.  As a best practice, the customer project manager should not be a member of the engineering team.    Client project managers have the ability to track tasks, set priority and manage overall go-live timeline.  As cloud migrations get close to go-live, Evolve IP recommends customer project managers perform daily internal team calls and act as the single point of contact for migration related requests.



Most Common Pitfalls

  • Client has not provided a business savvy project manager to manage the migration. Project managers are training to effectively communicate to resources and identify risks to project success early on in the project planning phases. Lack of a qualified project manager caused companies great pain later in their migration when they identify problems, often too late to turn back. This causes engineering resources to redesign and rework migration plans and causes for greater room for error.
  • Customers fire IT staff as part of going to the cloud, with the expectation that the service provider will be able to fill the void. This is a common mistake among small and medium size organizations who are unclear of the Evolve IP standard statement of work.
  • Not enough internet bandwidth available to successfully migrate and operate the cloud computing solution. As with any service that’s delivered remotely, customers migrating to the cloud should ensure that time and costs to increase bandwidth and resilience are included in all migration plans.
  • Failure to consider ancillary applications. Complex systems don’t work alone – there are always other moving parts and applications supporting the larger system. Customers must consider all aspects of their systems to ensure all pieces are accounted for in the Evolve IP cloud computing environment.
  • The organization is unaware of all the desktop applications being used to perform employee’s job. As part of the planning phase, the company must survey each desktop in their environment for common software to be installed in the respective virtual desktop. Failure to do this will result in a very slow migration as golden desktops are constantly touched and redeployed to users. The greater number of users in a company the greater amount of time it takes to recompose the virtual desktop.
  • Customer is experiencing poor performance in virtual desktop. VDI users at company offices have better VDI experience off network than on network. Many times customer networks are not prepared for deployment of the cloud solution. Internet or WAN bandwidth has reached maximum threshold causing poor user experience; meanwhile users attribute the performance degradation to the new cloud solution. Be sure to plan your network capacity and stay ahead of the demand for bandwidth. Systems and network administrators should review this document in detail in the planning phase of their cloud migration project.
  • Customer has removed a local print server but failed to remove local printer definitions on employee workstations. This problem can cause user frustration when printing from their virtual desktop client to their local printer. It’s critical that local printer definitions be cleaned up during the VDI implementation especially when using the soft VMware View client. Client administrators should spend the extra time to clean legacy or unused printer definitions from employee workstations. This will improve performance and increase overall employee experience.
  • Migrating from traditional desktop to virtual desktop using Evolve IP will tax the network like no other application. Small network issues (often in place for years) become large network issues when rolling out VDI. These issues are blamed on Evolve IP because until now, there has “never been a problem.” Company administrators should carefully audit existing network and perform detailed bandwidth testing. Group administrators should open tickets with WAN carriers to verify circuits are performing as expected.

FAQ

  • Will I be able to perform a staff reduction as part of my migration to the cloud?

  • Evolve IP is not providing a replacement for customer IT staff. Evolve IP is however replacing the technology burden of customer organizations specifically around datacenter infrastructure, physical servers, physical desktops, overheating server rooms, overloaded data room power, inadequate battery backup, etc..

  • What’s the difference between SaaS and IaaS and into what category do Evolve IP products fall?

  • Evolve IP offers products with several service offerings. SaaS or Software as a Service is when Evolve IP provides customers with support and access all the way up to the application. For example, hosted exchange as a service is a SaaS offering. IaaS or platform as a service can be defined by where the cloud provider draws the line of responsibility in the technology stack. In IaaS, that line stops at the operating system ( ie. Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, RHEL)

  • When moving to a VDI solution, do users have to be online and connected to the network in order to work on their desktop?

  • Yes- the current version of Evolved Office: Desktop requires the users be connected to the network.  

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