How cloudy is your cloud strategy ?

October 9, 2014

Most IT leaders of today should have been part of a conversation where the topic of cloud computing came up. Organizations have historically spent million of dollars and man hours to make IT work and more lately are realizing that they have to focus more on making it work for their business rather than just making IT work.

Traditionally, IT and software deployments were laborious. This was primarily because of the complexity and time lapse involved in deploying and on-boarding IT enabled strategic business systems. Cloud computing is promising to solve some of the challenges surrounding this complexity, and we think that IT leaders have to cautiously weigh in the benefits, analyze the risks and adopt the platform.

DataMagnus’s niche focus areas of Data, Databases, Analytics and Big Data as well as many other software and services usage patterns are impacted by the adoption of cloud strategy by organizations.

We will explain below the larger market conditions that are affecting or will affect your cloud strategy and what questions or thoughts that IT leaders at organizations should be thinking about.

Our advice to IT leaders is to not leave it to the weatherman to decipher the cloudy forecast in your cloud strategy. Be proactive and engage your vendors and IT teams to seek answers for the questions that arise from the discussion below.

As per Gartner,

Cloud computing is a style of computing in which scalable and elastic IT-related capabilities are provided as a service to customers, using Internet technologies.

Intense hype around cloud computing makes it difficult for buyers to understand their options. Cloud services include system infrastructure (e.g., computing, storage), application infrastructure (e.g., process server, database), full applications, information services (e.g., search) and business services (e.g., order fulfillment). There are three main delivery models:

Public cloud: A cloud provider runs a shared-service environment accessible to any buyer. Community cloud limits access to a set of buyers (e.g., government agencies). Public and community cloud offer economies of scale, but concerns about security, privacy, trust and control limit mission-critical uses.

Private cloud: The enterprise has exclusive use of an isolated cloud, by implementing a cloud itself or offloading to a cloud provider’s virtual private environment. Both approaches reduce elasticity and cost savings versus public cloud, but mitigate some security concerns.

Hybrid cloud: The enterprise coordinates across cloud service provider boundaries to assemble a solution — for example, integrating internal public cloud services and multiple external public cloud service providers. “Cloudbursting” could dynamically extend a private cloud to a public cloud for extra capacity if application architecture and performance requirements are addressed.

All forms of cloud computing change the way that businesses consume, manage and price IT, requiring new mindsets and relationships between IT and the business.

The cloud services itself can be further categorized into three different sections.

As per Statista,

The market can typically be broken up into a number of sectors, the most prominent of which include: Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). In particular the IaaS sector, which offers off-site support in the form of storage, servers, networking and more, is expected to see the greatest amount of growth worldwide in the future.

Also from Gartner,

Some of the strategic planning assumptions that need to be considered by leaders are

• By 2015, 50% of all new application independent software vendors will be pure SaaS providers.

• Through 2015, more than 90% of private cloud computing deployments will be for infrastructure as a service.

• By 2015, 50% of large global enterprises will rely on external cloud computing services for at least one of their top 10 revenue-generating processes.

• By 2016, all large global enterprises will use some level of public cloud services.

• By 2016, most SaaS contracts will include price escalation limitations and the ability to terminate contracts.

Most of us in the enterprise world understand cloud based IT services to an extent. Have you every thought what the consumers in the market place (your customers) understand about cloud based technology services ? Does your opinion as IT leaders about the advantages of cloud enabled IT services differ starkly from the advantages perceived by consumers? And why is that? Are the services that you are trying to enable in the cloud really addressing the needs of your end customers (consumer or corporate)?

Cloud computing advantages according to U.S. users 2014

Statistic: Ways in which cloud computing improves the lives of users in the United States as of May 2014 | Statista

Find more statistics at Statista

Over the past few decades IT leaders have successfully delivered on service level agreements (SLA) that have been established within confines of their respective datacenters and office buildings. With the increasing adoption of cloud-based services, IT executives at organizations are challenged in meeting these very same SLA’s. This is not a concern to ignore cloud adoption completely. Rather, it is an opportunity to explore the options, weigh in the risks and on-board services in a standards based and secure way. The advantages, if realized are immense.

We recommend that IT leaders at organizations who are responsible in leading enterprise data, databases, analytics and Big Data programs should ask the questions below, as they integrate cloud based offerings into their programs. Data stewards should make sure that their organizations data as it gets created and traverses across multiple vendor offerings and platforms is secured and managed according to internal and industry guidelines.

How cloudy is your cloud strategy

Questions that IT leaders should ask the vendors and their IT teams as they on-board cloud based services as part an enterprise program related to data, databases, analytics and Big Data ?

1) What part of the solution is being served from the cloud? Software (SaaS) ? Infrastructure (IaaS) ? Platform (PaaS) ?

2) Will the solution span solely the private cloud or public cloud or a combination of both ?

3) Who is responsible for data assurance, security, backup and retention in each of the platforms ?

4) Who and how will each of the constituents of the solution engineering teams will assure the performance and monitoring of key services ?

5) In the solutions being considered, what is the weakest link along the path that data traverses from the point of generation to the point of consumption to the point of rest ?

6) How much of cross dependency across vendors, data centers and networks does a single solutions or work flow has and how diversely/uniformly invested, you as an organization would want to ?

7) What are geography based legal and compliance challenges that you need to take into account as you solution space the network outside your proprietary data center ?

We at DataMagnus, consider these and beyond when we work with our customers in putting together a solution. For us, technology is just an enabler.And the best technology for us is one that serves the business challenges of the customers we serve. We consider cloud enabled IT service as one of the key enablers in serving our end customers. And we strongly believe that cloud enabled services will help us put together data,database, analytics and Big Data solutions for our customers at an agile pace.