In a recent discussion with a couple of friends, the question arose:
What are the main challenges for putting ideas into practice with cloud computing services?
Some of the questions that were discussed are, in general, common to most companies and so we’ll share them here.
Adopting cloud computing is not a simple matter of implementing a virtualization system. Indeed it is still much simplified, with companies implementing virtualization and claiming that they are deploying cloud computing. The formula for cloud computing is virtualization + standardization + automation. Virtualization is only the first step of the journey.
Some of the challenges that IT managers will face in this journey towards cloud computing involves everything from the pace, intensity and extent of the use of cloud to changes in the structure and organization of IT, with new skills and responsibilities, changes in governance models and setting budgets, and relationships with internal customers and external providers.
The first step is to consider cloud as IT strategy, as it was the shift from centralized environment for client-server for about 15 years ago. Companies that ignore the client-server model and insisted to stay too long in the centralized environment, had to run after the injury. Lessons Learned. So the attitude of facing the IT cloud computing should be proactive and not reactive.
IT must identify where the adoption of cloud may bring bigger and faster benefits to the company, including thinking “out-of-the-box“, creating new opportunities for generating revenue for the organization. So IT must be clearly identified with the demands of business and the potential of cloud computing.
But ideas to be implemented need a financial boost. The adoption of cloud must be substantiated by a detailed analysis and ROI (return on investment), TCO (total cost of ownership) and the value of opportunities for innovative products or processes. It should be clear that when we talk about cloud computing we are talking about various cloud services as IaaS, PaaS and SaaS, which are in different development stages.
SaaS is already in operation for quite some time, but PaaS is taking its first steps now. This often means that the costs and risks of pioneering studies should be embedded in for adoption.
The pace and extent of adoption of cloud in the company depends heavily on its culture of innovation and risk. Companies that are more averse to risk should begin with cloud services as SaaS applications offer the least risk to the business.
The dissemination strategy can and should be gradual.
By December 2011 – all newly planned or performing major IT acquisitions must complete an ASSETS alternatives That includes analysis based cloud computing the alternative part of Their budget submissions.
By December 2012 – all IT ASSETS making enhancements to an existing investment must complete an alternatives analysis That includes cloud computing based alternative to part of Their budget submissions.
By December 2013 – IT Investments in all steady-state must complete an alternatives analysis That includes cloud computing based alternative to part of Their budget submissions.
I have not done any formal surveys, but generally there is a consensus that 10% to 40% of the applications that run on-premise companies can migrate to the cloud in a short time. The role of IT can identify which of these applications make sense to migrate to the cloud.
Finally, there is still a challenge that is not being given due weight: the monitoring and management of resources in the cloud. Cloud computing significantly changes the way of IT resources which can be acquired and used. In general, at least in the coming years we will see hybrid environments in enterprises with on-premise systems running on dedicated servers, some running into clouds in other private and public cloud hosting services.
Manage, monitor and ensure interoperability of this complex environment is not and will not be a simple task. The IT department will gradually need to act as asset manager to manage relationships with cloud providers. New skills and roles must be purchased as cloud services architects. The governance models should be adjusted to the flexibility, resilience and self-service features of the cloud.
The summary of the opera is that the transition to the cloud will require much planning. In retrospect, if we look at the data center that kept so centralized systems and compare them with today’s data centers that run Web systems and client-server to hundreds or thousands of servers, we will see huge differences. And the differences between these data centers today and the morning clouds will be equal to or greater.
Therefore, we must start to plan this new scenario from today.
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