While many organizations are jumping on the cloud bandwagon, for many others it’s a time to evaluate whether their business can benefit from the advantages cloud can bring from a flexibility and cost-savings standpoint. Building out a cloud strategy requires many important considerations, starting with assessing the company’s processes to determine whether cloud solutions even make sense in the first place.
“Once that assessment is complete, it’s a matter of looking at whether your company requires all data onsite or if there is a policy that is open enough to consider moving some or even all data offsite,” said Denis Curran, head of strategy and innovation of NAB Technology.
Next, the data must be categorized to ensure that deployment of the various types of data is implemented in the most cost effective manner and is deployed on the correct platform for security and I/O considerations.
“The level of cloud infrastructure (whether internal or external) should vary – one size does not fit all – and there should be mechanisms in place to deploy the different types of data on the proper infrastructure,” Das Kamhout, IT cloud lead at Intel, recently told TechZone360. “The various use cases and whitepaper documents generated by the Open Data Center Alliance (ODCA) working teams have done a good job of capturing some of these characteristics and driving the industry to align to the customer’s desire to be able to make these decisions in an ‘apples to apples’ evaluation process.”
The ODCA is a customer-focused organization defining requirements to speed delivery of cloud computing benefits worldwide and will host its Forecast 2012 event in New York City, which will run concurrently with Cloud Expo at the Javits Center on June 12.
At this point in the era of cloud, there are looming misconceptions organizations need to be aware of when considering a cloud strategy – one of those myths is that the cloud is less secure, according to Reyk Bederke, engineering and architecture lead at T-Systems.
“In many cases, cloud deployments, if properly architected and instrumented, are more secure than the ‘as is’ environment for an application and that application data. Another is capacity management,” Bederke said. “Cloud promises to deliver resources on demand and with a pay per use model, IT costs could be low. However, without a very mature internal demand and forecast management platform, it becomes very expensive very fast.”
The ODCA was formed in 2010 as a consortium of leading global IT organizations – led by a steering committee of senior IT executives from BMW, China Unicom, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Lockheed Martin, Marriott International, Inc., and UBS among others. The ODCA aims to deliver a unified voice for emerging data center and cloud computing requirements with a mission to speed the migration to cloud computing by enabling the solution and service ecosystem to address IT requirements with the highest level of interoperability and standards.
“One of the foundations of the ODCA use cases is the transparency and the ability to federate, which by definition will allow the user to have data spread across several cloud providers,” said Marvin Wheeler, chairman of the Open Data Center Alliance. “This would allow the user to be able to exit any given provider if the delivery of a given provider is unacceptable.”
There is much discussion about which model is best suited for a specific company size – public, private or hybrid deployments are all growing at rapid speeds. Developing a cloud strategy differs between SMBs and larger enterprises, however, size is not all that matters.
“SMBs can actually launch a new business more efficiently and more cost effectively, since they tend to have leaner business processes which are often built upon Linux and Windows systems,” said T-Systems’ Bederke. “Many SMBs are generally not bound by complex master services agreements and legal terms and conditions, therefore while the strategy is not different, they may choose to rent as opposed to utilizing capital to maintain their business needs for their business applications.”
SMBs also see cloud adoption as an advantage to help them concentrate on core elements of running their business, Bederke added.
“Larger enterprises can often afford the risk of moving new business services into the cloud but often struggle to migrate important business logic into the cloud or even replace them with SaaS,” he continued. “It usually takes them much more time to migrate due to the complex and highly customized business processes and applications.”
While there is a road ahead until standards emerge, there is no question that cloud computing is a game changer, and looking ahead, cloud adoption will continue to steadily increase, ODCA’s Wheeler predicts.
“Cloud adoption is accelerating at an alarming rate. The proverbial hockey stick curve is often used in illustrations of cloud adoption. We are just now hitting the quick vertical climb of that adoption,” Wheeler said. “There are still many internal apps and processes that are being re-aligned to take advantage of cloud architectures so we have a lot of head room on the growth curve, but the next 12 months will probably be more accelerated than the last several years combined.”
Wheeler said he hopes Forecast 2012 attendees will be able to walk away with new knowledge about cloud, while also gain a great networking opportunity.
“There are advantages to being a member organization, since someone has tried almost every angle to cloud adoption,” Wheeler said. “There is also great value in the interaction and networking, as well as in the documents and use cases that are issued to help companies that are not as far along the growth curve.”
Executive Editor, Cloud Computing
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