The industry is certainly seeing the muscle of the heavy weights being thrown around, predominantly from Cisco, VMware, NetApp, EMC and Microsoft. Each IT powerhouse has a vested interest in "Cloud Computing". You may have heard the following offerings with slick names, like Microsoft's Hyper-V FastTrack Cloud Pods, NetApp FlexPod™ for VMware and EMC vBlock.
So what are they asking us all to do?
"Leverage a multi-tenant, globally-accessible cloud platform to expand information delivery services to internal or external customers."
Given the current business climate, does it make sense to start a move to the cloud now? For many, understanding what the "Cloud" is may be the first hurdle to overcome. Simply put, the cloud is another way to operate IT functions. There are four cloud types: public, private, hybrid and community. For many, a cloud implementation may include some or all of these types. The true benefit of the cloud, is operating infrastructure and applications in the most appropriate manner and implementing new software far more quickly and efficiently. Some organizations view "the cloud" as a means to secure a virtual data center. Others view "the cloud" as a means to reduce operational costs or improve availability by shifting application workloads to available resources outside of your data center. Even though some of the biggest names in the technology world are pushing cloud services as the next big step in information technology, there are still a number of issues holding cloud computing back.
A recent report by the Leadership Council for Information Advantage, an advisory group, highlights issues such as "information silos" and a lack of universal standards for how clouds should operate. In effect, when it comes to cloud computing, there is still no set way of doing things. While cloud computing may be inevitable for your environment at some point, be assured the move will include some disruptive changes. Disruptive in a good sense - one would hope.
As you make changes in your environment it is important to keep in mind who you service. We should be servicing our business needs, which are guided by business requirements and our user community. Changes to an infrastructure should be designed to positively impact the business and to .make a better user experience. Before heading into the cloud and making any disruptive changes to your IT environment, it is critical to plan the change and have a clear understanding of your goals/objectives and current as well as future performance levels. With this information in hand, the impact of changes can be minimized and the project more successful.
Before heading into the cloud, wouldn't it make sense to develop a plan? This will help you get an accurate picture of how things are operating today and how you want them to operate in the future. Armed with a sound plan, IT organizations can make the best use of the capabilities the cloud has to offer in the most efficient manner for the organization.
Chief Technology Officer