Finally, some actual tools to use in your move to the cloud

We've heard all the hype behind the cloud. Here are some practical tools you can use when you decide to make the move.

At Microsoft's TechEd North America conference this year, one of the keynote's main themes was the cloud. As John Joyner said in his coverage of the event for TechRepublic, "Virtualization is the core component of a private cloud, and Microsoft studies show that in 2011 more new servers are virtual than physical, and predicts that in 2012 the total number of virtualized servers will exceed physical servers."

Clearly it is the era of the cloud. Moving to the cloud is not a simple decision or implementation. You'll get lots of advice from folks on the costs, implementation practices, security issues, and other ramifications of a move to the cloud, but you hardly ever see any concrete tools that help you look at these issues in a practical way.

One of TechRepublic's regular bloggers, Patrick Gray, has contributed to a product that is a boon to any IT organization considering a move to the cloud. The Cloud Computing Starter Kit is a collection of templates, calculators, checklists, and project management tools that will help your team cut through the hype and evaluate the bottom line of moving your vital applications and data to the cloud.

The kit, selling for $99, includes, among other tools:

  • A cloud-computing checklist, which provides a list of the steps from pondering a move to the cloud, through selecting a vendor, to migrating your data and "flipping the switch" on a live cloud application
  • A cloud computing MS project plan that will help your team identify and track key strategic and tactical milestones in your Cloud Computing Evaluation
  • A "make-versus-buy" worksheet for determining whether moving to the cloud is cost-effective for your business, versus keeping the service in-house
  • A cloud vs. in-house presentation that lets you present the information included in this toolkit to other managers and teams in your company
  • A cloud services checklist, which is a spreadsheet of recommended services to consider when moving to the cloud. You can filter this list by criticality, cost, and complexity.

You can click here to get a closer look at what's included in The Cloud Computing Starter Kit.