Cloud Now: Usage, Practices and Rewards

Companies gain a lot when they combine technology with their business to have a new way of doing business. Cloud computing offers similar opportunity; companies should be able to plugin to the providers services and they could start using it immediately without much pain of integration. The analogy used by the Borton Group is the rack server to the electrical socket; we plug into the socket to consume electricity without caring how it’s made, or where it is coming from.

Right now we have a big mess of infrastructure, hardware and software. Cloud offers opportunities to reduce that mess and cost associated with it. It offers shared infrastructure, elastic scalability, automation, and the option of pay-as-you-go.

Burton Group suggests the tiered approach where Hardware Infrastructure as a service (HIaaS) at the bottom of the stack, Software Infrastructure as a service (SIaas) above it, Platform as a service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) above all.

Right now, PaaS providers are start ups who are learning as they grow.  SIaaS provide service such as internet access services, database service and distributed system services and identity management. Examples of such providers are Amazon, Salesforce and Microsoft. IaaS is still not mature; right now the services provided by the vendors are exaggerated and we need to cautious.

Bob Blakely presented the concept and initiated the panel discussion on Thursday morning.

Drue Reeves says cloud could be compelling for those who need more space and power. Instead of spending more capital in building more internally, why not use cloud providers that allow you to grow organically. There are issues such as security that needs to be taken care by the consumer. It’s up to the consumer to determine their security requirements.

If the cloud provider is able to provide the same quality of service that you expect internally, then the demand for cloud may go up says Anne Thomas Manes. There are issues such as electronic discovery and compliance that may increase the cost of cloud. However, if we were to build our authentication and identification system it may be humongous cost for the company who could just use a vendor for that purpose.

The CFO loves the idea of pay-as-you-go and they have extra cash for something else when they adopt cloud suggests Guy Creese. Sometimes you could end up paying ton of money and may not get the right functionality.

Organizations such as non-profits and educational institutes may be good candidates for cloud candidates who could off load some of their IT costs. Fast-track projects may also be a good candidate.

Performance, availability, scalability and reliability are factors that need to be met by the cloud provider; according to Bob Blakely.

Anne suggests there is a possibility of updating the security model in our organization that could meet cloud computing. Nobody builds house with their own generators with no power socket; today we all plug-in to power sockets for electricity. Similarly, in the long term, our organization may change the way we do business. Drue says security is dependant on how you negotiate with your provider. We need to understand our risk before we approach the provider. Cloud may not be a good place to put your sensitive data.

Simple licensing with SaaS provider compared to complex licensing for internally hosted solution may be another factor to get onto cloud provider. Consumers should be careful of startups that may go out of business soon when sign up for cloud computing. We also need to be careful of giant IT providers who present everything that you want in a single package. We may not get the right efficiency that you wanted from them.

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