More Considerations As You Move Down the Cloud Path

April 10, 2012 No Comments

By David A. Kelly, Upside Research

Cloud Path2 More Considerations As You Move Down the Cloud PathIn an effort to cover cloud computing in a holistic fashion, I’ve been paying attention to what’s out on the blogosphere in addition to the vendor announcements that I’ve covered on the topic (see IBM Cloud articles, etc. etc.). While I did raise (in a previous article) some of the issues that indicated that perhaps cloud computing isn’t a panacea (see 5 reasons why cloud computing is not a panacea, etc. etc.), it is clear that the market for cloud is moving forward at breakneck speed. Therefore, it’s better to remain informed of all the aspects to consider for cloud than to avoid it entirely or adopt it blindly. For these reasons, I’m dedicating this post to some of the hot-topic items around cloud that IT and business managers need to have an open dialogue about to ensure the best choices are made for your specific business needs.

  1. It’s a journey. No doubt about it, cloud is not a light switch that gets turned on immediately in an organization. Rather, it is a journey that businesses are embarking on, and it is important to understand the phasic nature of a cloud rollout. It is undeniable that the way business is happening today is starkly different from traditional business and IT. Flexibility and adaptability are two keys to success in business, and IT has to reflect these qualities. Cloud can help add the flexibility and adaptability to an IT infrastructure by focusing on providing service to the business rather than traditional servers. With services, companies can adapt to changes in demand, changes in traffic, or even changes in application needs, and the cloud is an enabler.
  2. Cloud maturity model. As a journey, the process of cloud adoption travels through several phases on its way toward maturity. Perhaps to start, many companies look at standardization as a way to get things in order for a move toward cloud. Then, companies might consider virtualization as a good place to leverage some of the benefits of the cloud. As this transformation takes place, a push-pull dynamic occurs. Businesses are being pulled into the cloud as they and their customers seek ways to operate faster and more agilely. And, at the same time, the data centers are pushing toward cloud services as it becomes increasingly difficult and costly to manage data sprawl throughout the enterprise. This dynamic will push companies toward maturity in cloud adoption, as they successfully meld people, technology and process into a services-oriented focus.
  3. Service lifecycle. One of the misconceptions about cloud services is that there is endless space for creation, and no necessity to prune cloud services or treat the services in a lifecycle fashion, much like traditional IT products would be treated. This is something companies should avoid doing because it does create waste and poor management of cloud resources. Therefore, to fully leverage the services aspect of the cloud, IT needs to attribute the same properties it would to other enterprise assets in terms of management and optimization. For example, developing SLA’s as related to cloud services is important. Similarly, creating a chargeback model for cloud utilization is important to encourage proper use of the cloud resources and avoid abuse. Creating a service lifecycle around cloud will enable your organization to fully optimize your cloud usage.
  4. Cloud optimization. As you move through the cloud maturity model, businesses will begin to attain some of the levels of optimization the cloud promises. Each successive layer of the model that a company moves through, from standardization to virtualization to service-oriented architecture brings with it a cost savings and incremental optimization that a business can gain benefit from. Continuing on this path and following through will lead toward the cloud optimization that is the buzz today.
  5. Privacy and compliance.  One of the components of cloud that gets the most attention, and has been the subject of scrutiny for the model, is data privacy and compliance. As our previous article covered, there are some real security concerns as they relate to cloud, and it is important that companies address them up front, as soon as they start considering whether to utilize public or private cloud services. Each has its place, depending on what the business needs are, and therefore IT organizations should give both public and private clouds thorough evaluation and consideration before choosing which one best represents the needs of your business. Factor in data privacy needs and also any compliance issues that are relative to your company.

As you can see, this list is by no means exhaustive. It is yet another conversation to have as part of your ongoing cloud discussions. I welcome your input and feedback and would love to hear how any of these issues have been addressed in your company.

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