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Can You Handle the Cloud?

HardwareNews
by Andrew McCreath
, 25 May 2010News

Many organisations believe the cloud is not ready for widespread adoption, with the majority of concerns based around security and compliance. Tom Brand, service manager – cloud solutions for GlassHouse Technologies (UK), asks: is it, however, the organisations themselves that are not ready for the cloud?

Let’s just imagine for one quick moment that none of the issues surrounding cloud adoption existed and all clouds were fully compliant and highly secure. Organisations would have moved into the cloud en mass and would be taking full advantage of the flexibility and attractive commercials. The world would be a better place – right? I’m not convinced for a number of reasons.

Detailed below are the components I consider to be at the core of any cloud solution. We’ve seen them all before in the multitude of cloud descriptions that exist today and to most people they sound great. The concern I have is that a large majority of sizeable IT organisations are struggling to manage their fixed asset infrastructures let alone their growing virtual infrastructures.

Even though cloud services offer the features listed above it does not mean that organisations will be able to take full advantage of them:

  • On-demand self service
  • Ubiquitous network access
  • Pay per use
  • Rapid elasticity
  • Location independency
  • Shared resources

In many cases the flexibility and agility provided by the cloud has the potential to cause organisations more harm than good in the long run, unless the right changes are implemented in advance.

Moving to a cloud-based model will require a significant amount of change across the business as a whole, from the way in which services are procured to on-going operation. Organisations can start adapting their working methodologies today from running IT as a service to more of a managed service model in order to align to the benefits that cloud computing will bring in the future.

One of the largest challenges is the general change in mindset required across the organisation, particularly when it comes to adopting a shared resource model.

The traditional siloed IT model, often based on location or business unit, is still alive and well in most organisations and a move away from this won’t happen overnight.

By strategically encouraging a shared approach to IT services on the existing infrastructure or even adopting it without the end user knowing will help towards a smoother transfer to cloud services in future. I’ll discuss issues of IT as ‘business within the business’ in my next post in two weeks time.

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