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Cloud Readiness Assessment

A project in collaboration with the Competence Center Cloud Computing of the University of Applied Sciences of Northwestern Switzerland

More background information about the Cloud Competence Center of FHNW.


In order to get results, all of the questions need to be answered. The bar at the bottom of the screen indicates your progress. When the last question is answered, your score will be automatically generated and displayed.
You need a fair share of time to complete the assessment.
Hint: You can always choose to save and resume this assessment at a later time by entering your email address on the bottom left. (the answers will be saved)

General Questions

Information about the size and branch of the company

Background Information

This is a general question to categorize the captured data by company size.


What is the size of the company in which you are working?

Small (1-9) Employees
Medium (10 -50) Employees
Medium-Large (50-250) Employees
Large (250 - 2000) Employees
Corporate (>2000) Employees
Background Information

It is interesting to see what kind of data policies and procedures are present in private and public organizations; therefore, they are distinguished as such.


What type of organization are you?

Private Corporation
Public Organization
Background Information

This is a general question to categorize the captured data by branch.


What kind of service does your company offer?

Consumer Goods
Food, Beverage & Tobacco
Health Care
IT Service Delivery
Service Industry
Special Financial Services
Background Information

This is a general question to categorize the captured data by turnover.


What is the turnover of your company?

0.001 – 0.5M $
0.5M – 1M $
1M – 10M $
>10M $
>100M $
>1000M $
Background Information

If enough data is captured different countries can be compared.


The headquarters of your company is located in?

Hardware Readiness

State, location and age of servers, degree of virtualization

Background Information

The more servers you move to the cloud the more you can benefit from economies of scale; however, each system is individual and brings its own unique requirements. Technically, this makes it is more challenging to bring a large amount of servers into the IaaS cloud.


How many Servers / Systems do you have in place?

1 to 3
4 to 10
10 to 20
More than 20
Over 100
Background Information

It is much simpler to move virtualized servers into the cloud than to start with physical servers, because all of the dependency clarifications and performance tests have already been completed. Often, problems are encountered with external hardware, such as Dongles for specific software, which is not compatible with virtualized drivers, etc. Much more time and effort is necessary to migrate to the cloud if your servers are not virtualized.


Are your servers virtualized?

Some of the servers are virtualized
Most of the servers are virtualized
All servers are virtualized
Background Information

Depending where the servers are located, it can take more or less effort to migrate them to an IaaS provider. Having them hosted at an external provider or distributed over different locations makes it slightly more complicated than servers which reside at a single location.


Where are your servers located?

In a room in our company’s facility
In a room dedicated for servers in our company’s facility
Hosted with an external partner
Distributed over different locations
Background Information

Companies with predominantly mobile users most likely already have some solutions in place to access data remotely. Therefore, these companies are more cloud ready than one with only stationary clients that are connected to the in-house server. Nevertheless this factor does not add a lot of weight to cloud readiness.


What kind of computers do you have and how does your company use them?

Mainly laptops, used everywhere
Mainly stationary clients located in a central office (if the clients are laptops but also stationary check this box)
Mainly stationary clients located in employee’s homes or across different locations
Half of the clients are stationary, half are laptops (also used outside the office)
Background Information

The more current ones IT infrastructure is, the higher its state of readiness will be, because new technologies are already in place and therefore can be merged faster and more conveniently to an IaaS provider. The benefits however increase with the age of the hardware, because having old systems would require a reinvestment in new hardware, in which case it might be more cost effective to purchase new hardware and software directly with the IaaS provider.


What is the average age of your server and storage hardware / technology platform?

Less than 1 year old
1-2 years
1-3 years
1-4 years
2-4 years
All over 3 years
Background Information

Migrating to the cloud and an IaaS provider is also a great opportunity to update current operating systems unless you are already up-to-date and want to migrate directly with the present configuration.


Do you plan to upgrade your server’s operating systems to support new technologies?

Yes, we are still on Windows Server 2003
Yes, we are on Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2 but want Windows Server 2012
We have a mixed environment (and might upgrade when migrating to the cloud)
We are using the most current operating systems and don’t need to upgrade
We are running an old operating system, but would like to keep the existing setup

Connectivity Readiness

Current internet connection setup and usage

Background Information

The faster ones broadband connection is, the better the cloud experience will be. If you incorporate servers into the cloud, their computing requirements will be fulfilled by the IaaS provider’s hardware infrastructure and will, therefore, not be affected by the speed of your broadband connection. The speed at which you are able to send and receive files / documents will still be dependent on your broadband connection speed.


How are you connected to the internet?

Slow Internet < 20Mbit/s
Normal speed with fast DSL or fiber, up to 60 Mbit/s
Fast Internet access (fiber connection) up to 100Mbit/s
Backbone connection faster than 100Mbit/s
No Internet connection available
Background Information

Storing data and servers at a remote location can cost time, because the performance to access data is less fast; therefore, a fast connection is helpful to retrieve data instantly. Still, there are multiple solutions that support off-site providers and increase data accessibility rates. If for instance you work with an application that runs on a remote server and you access data that is also stored on the remote server, the servers communicate with each other and the data does not need to be transferred to your current location. Accessing such data is instant. However, if you wanted to open a 20 MB Excel Sheet from your remote server folder, it can take up to a few seconds / minutes depending on your connection.


How fast do you need to access documents?

Seamless, should load immediately
Normal (short delay)
Relatively slow (delay of a couple of seconds)
Background Information

Supporting mobile internet access can strengthen the case for cloud computing because it allows one to access the company’s data at any location. An example scenario would be a virtual desktop connected over mobile broadband allowing one to enter information into the companies CRM quickly and easily from anywhere. Syncing to the server is no longer needed, as the data is directly entered online.


Do you have Mobile Internet Access?

We have phones with data plans and they can be connected to the computers
We have special SIM-Cards in our laptops with data plans
We use public and open Wi-Fi networks
No, we don’t use internet when we are on the road
Background Information

When accessing servers and data at a remote location, a permanent, reliable broadband connection is obviously needed. This is extremely important for cloud readiness!


Availability of your broadband network?

We have redundant internet access with two providers
We have one internet connection but with a UTMS/EDGE extension (as backup)
We have only one internet connection

Software Readiness

Current application usage and operating systems

Background Information

Depending on how branch specific software is used, the architecture of the infrastructure will vary. Some configurations being more cloud adaptable than others.


Do you use branch specific software?

Yes, and it runs on our server
Yes, but it runs on each client individually (no server connection)
Yes, but it is old and can only run under certain systems and configurations
Yes, but it is hosted in the cloud
No, we use mainly standard office applications
Background Information

Some types of software demand high levels of both graphical CPU and server performance; these types of software are not ideal for cloud usage, while other applications, like CRMs, Office Applications, Data Input / Output Applications are excellent.


What kind of software do you mainly use?

Graphic intense Software Like CAD, Video Editing, Rendering (and option b)
Office Suites, Email, Accounting Tools, Inventory, CRM, simple GUI (data as text)
Specialized software from a manufacturer that needs frequent updates (and option b)
Our own customized software (and option b)
Mixed, all and/or none of the cases listed above
Background Information

Both Unix and Windows Servers are almost entirely supported by IaaS providers; however, Windows Servers are easier to manage and, in general, more IT technicians are familiar with how to operate them.


What operating systems do you use?

Microsoft Windows Servers
Unix Servers
Background Information

The kind of client operating system one uses does not majorly impact cloud readiness, even though having a homogeneous set of clients does make integration and connection to the cloud far easier. Microsoft Clients offer facilitated functions so that they can be centrally managed and configured, enabling you to switch servers and deploy new settings and software in a much simpler and faster manner.


What client operating system(s) do you use?

Microsoft Windows XP or Vista
Microsoft Windows 7
Microsoft Windows 8
Mixed Windows Environment
Mac (Apple) / Unix

Data Readiness

Data safety and security, data volume and location

Background Information

The way one backup’s data does not directly influence cloud readiness, but it shows how structured the data is and whether or not processes are automated.


How do you backup your data?

We use an external hard drive and save it manually
We have the backup jobs automated
We don’t backup, each user is responsible for their own backup
We use “dropbox” or another cloud based service to backup important data
Background Information

The way one sets data access policies factors in for the cloud readiness. Joining the cloud will provide a structured environment where data structure and access permissions will have to be defined.


Are internal data access policies and file access rights in place?

We have no access rights defined for our data, everyone can see everything
We use Microsoft NTFS (Windows file permissions) to set file access rights
Confidential data is stored locally by each employee
A bit of everything
Background Information

This is a very critical question for cloud readiness. Security is generally very high in the cloud and often even better than in individual data centers. Nevertheless do a lot of people fear of losing control over data.


How confidential is your data?

Low, we have nothing to hide
Normal, our data should remain within the company
High, our data can only be accessed by company employees and authorized partners
Ultra high, we need to know who accesses what at what time
Background Information

It is difficult for IaaS customers to determine where their data is stored and what happens to it because they lose direct control over physical servers, data location and security measures. Basically, the customer must trust the service provider. There are also many laws concerning data security which either permit or prohibit companies from moving data out of their data centers.


Data location?

Our data can reside anywhere in the world as long as we can access it and it’s safety and security is guaranteed
Our data must reside in the country where our company is located
Our data must be stored in our company’s facilities
Background Information

Where one’s data is stored does not directly affect cloud readiness, but it is an advantage if data is already stored at a central location. The more structured data is, the better position one is in to migrate to the cloud.


Where is your company’s data stored?

Distributed on various computers and laptops
Centrally stored on a server
External hard disks
Centrally stored on a SAN, NAS, or other storage solutions
A bit of everything
Background Information

The quantity of data one has should not be considered a hindrance because storage capacity is dynamic and can be expanded on premise. It does, however, slightly affect cloud readiness due to the fact that the more data you have the longer it takes to transfer it and the harder it will be to migrate to another service provider (lock-in).


How much data does your company store?

Less than 100 GB
Less than 500 GB
Less than 2 TB
More than 2 TB
More than 50 TB
Background Information

This question can be seen as very critical for cloud readiness, specifically concerning access speed of files. Small files will not cause problems, but attempting to access large files can delay file-access speed for the end user. Nevertheless, there are solutions available in order to help minimize the problematic tendencies of accessing large files.


What kind of documents do you normally use?

Standard office documents (<5MB)
All kinds of documents (5-50 MB)
Large files (25 - 200MB)
Videos and high resolution images, or CAD renderings (>200MB)

Growth & Scalability

Requirements concerning flexibility and scalability

Background Information

Cloud computing enables new ways of deploying systems; it introduces a new level of elasticity and agility to scaling systems and acquiring resources on demand. Being flexible allows a company to react faster to changes.


What would you forecast the growth of your company to be over the next 3 years?

Constant, we don’t plan to expand
We need to be able to flexibly expand our infrastructure
We have predicted a rapid growth rate and, therefore, we need to be flexible
Background Information

This question is less relevant to cloud readiness but instead assesses the value gained when having scalable systems in place.


How quickly do you need to expand infrastructure and deploy new servers and clients?

Speed does not matter that much, normally we have a couple of months
Within a month, we must be up and running
Within a week
Within a day
Within hours
Background Information

A high degree of automation enables a company to move faster and with less effort to the cloud. Cloud infrastructure will facilitate future automation possibilities for systems and reduce the amount of time needed to fulfill daily tasks executed by IT technicians.


How would you describe the degree of automation in your current IT-Infrastructure?

Close to zero
Some task are automated 25%
We try hard to automate as much as possible 50%
High degree of automation > 75%
Background Information

A high degree of standardization facilitates the move to the cloud because many things are already defined and can be converted and adapted to the systems in the cloud. This means less specification work and less preparation time, which translates into a higher degree of cloud readiness.


How would you describe the degree of standardization in your current IT-Infrastructure?

Low, we don’t have time for this < 25%
Little, we have some templates in place and some basic structure 25%
Medium 50%
High > 75%
Background Information

A virtualized infrastructure allows one to quickly allocate new resources and deploy new servers to balance and compensate for an increased workload.


Do you encounter occasional increased workloads on your servers? (during some periods of the year or on some specific days)


Redundancy & Availability

System availability and data redundancy

Background Information

From the organization’s perspective, business continuity and disaster recovery are very important.


Are you prepared for disaster recovery?

Not at all
No, but we have the most important data stored at a different location
Yes, we have our data synced to an alternate location within our company
Yes, we have our data synced to an external provider
Background Information

The less critical the availability of the systems, the easier it is to join an IaaS provider. In surveys, CIOs stated that they were apprehensive concerning the availability of remote systems. Even though many IaaS providers guarantee a very high degree of availability that many internally / private operated data centers cannot achieve.


How critical is the availability of systems to your business?

Not very important, we also function without technology
Medium, but not business threatening
Important, we need to access our data daily
Existence is dependent on technology, we cannot function without our systems
Background Information

Good monitoring tools can help to measure data, uptime metrics, throughput, resource consumption and so forth. Having a good monitoring system in place can give information regarding the potential requirements of joining the cloud and also an estimation of costs.


Do you have automated monitoring tools in place to alert you about the availability of services?

Yes, we have some monitoring tools, but not centrally managed
Yes, have an extensive monitoring tool in place
Background Information

IaaS can deliver high availability systems that are held redundant and can take over within under a second so that no system interruption will occur.


Do you use software that has a special demand for high-availability?

No, if the Software fails we can get along without it for a little while
Low, software outages should not exceed 1 day
Medium, software outages should not exceed 4 hours (during business hours)
High, software outages should be reduced to the max (0-tolerance)

Mobility Readiness

Mobile cloud usage requirements


When and where do you access your data?

Anytime and anywhere when connected to the internet
Anytime but mainly from the office
Anytime but only from the office
Anytime at home or at the office


When and where do you access your email?

Anytime and anywhere when connected to the internet
Anytime but only from the office
Anytime at the office or at home
Background Information

Software that is daily used and not available offline. Stored on companies servers.


When and where do you access company specific software?

Anytime and anywhere when connected to the internet
Anytime but mainly from the office
Anytime but only from the office
Anytime at home or at the office

Sourcing & Expertise

Staff requirements and readiness of people

Background Information

It can be an advantage to have internal resources that manage company IT, and who also have the skills necessary to migrate to an IaaS provider. Having resources present that can both assist and work internally to prepare for the migration is a valuable asset. Otherwise, these resources would have to be contracted which would in turn drive up costs.


Who manages your servers and IT-Infrastructure?

We manage them ourselves (internal IT)
We have a third party company that manages the servers
Background Information

As we move up through the pyramid from the basic elements of infrastructure to the top layer of applications, the skills and necessary knowledge to build the components decreases. Each layer can be built upon the previous one even if one does not necessarily understand the layer beneath. An organization with limited infrastructure skills can, therefore, purchase IaaS from a vendor and build their own unique platform upon that infrastructure.


How would you describe knowledge about cloud computing and IT-Infrastructure management within your company?

Basic knowledge and understanding
Advanced technical skills and knowledge
We have a strong knowledge and can manage most of it ourselves
Background Information

It is proven that virtualized and/or hosted infrastructures facilitate and reduce day to day tasks of IT staff.


Does your organization need to free IT personnel for other projects?

IT-Personnel would appreciate freedom from certain regular tasks
Yes, we would like to use them for new projects
Background Information

Changing the systems and transferring them from an internal data center to an IaaS provider can go unnoticed by regular employees. However, the new functionalities of the system that add value to the business require employees to adapt. Often software upgrades are incorporated into a migration and users are forced to deflect.


How do employees react to changes in their working methods?

They are flexible and would adapt over time
They are accustomed to their routine and would take some time to change
Most of them are not technological savvy and would have trouble changing
A bit of everything