Companies looking to adopt cloud computing have to first look at how their data centre configurations measure up to the requirements of the cloud, including how they can efficiently and securely integrate their infrastructure with their cloud provider.
This HP report aims to give organisations the right pointers to making sure they avoid any cloud data centre pitfalls.
With this is mind however, it seems that many large IT departments are losing control of their cloud strategies, according to research from consulting firm and outsourcer Capgemini.
Capgemini questioned 460 IT leaders and senior business managers at large companies worldwide who employed over 10,000 staff, and found that almost half (45 percent) of organisations now had individual business units with responsibility for cloud strategies.
This can potentially play havoc with the data capacity plans drawn up by internal departments aiming to make sure network links to the data centres of external cloud providers are adequate.
This is because client side sales, marketing and other departments can take advantage of easy cloud set-up systems, and hook up their departments to a data heavy cloud connection with a simple corporate credit card transaction - without telling their CIO or telecoms procurement team.
"The initiative for driving cloud solutions is shifting from the IT department to the business unit as companies focus more on tangible business value," says Ron Tolido, Capgemini senior vice president and chief technology officer of applications for continental Europe.
"The cloud has rapidly established a new benchmark in terms of how easy, quick and flexible solutions should be available to the business, and it puts the alignment between business and IT in a whole new perspective," says Tolido.
For those responsible for managing cloud services between a corporate data centre and a cloud provider, they should make sure their company does not fall victim through any unauthorised "cloud spread" that can impinge on network performance.
They should also be concerned that an estimated 60 per cent of cyber attacks occur through external IT service providers.
The 2013 Trustwave Global Security Report says that 63 per cent of cyber attacks occur via external providers. It is perhaps understandable therefore that there is a commonly held view among companies that service providers are not typically as vigilant about data security as themselves, for whom a data breach can mean vast revenue and reputational damage.
Given the inter-connectedness of the IT process, customers and service providers must work together to identify, assess and manage cloud risks.
Navin Anand, of outsourcing benchmarking specialist ImprovIT, says, "Because of the inter-connectedness of organisations and their service providers, any IT operation is only as strong as its weakest link, so even if the corporate firewall is iron-clad, the vulnerability to risk exists end-to-end."
Organisations should therefore make sure their cloud provider can comprehensively demonstrate their own end-to-end security.
Hybrid cloud deployments to take off
Many companies are first looking to move to the cloud using a private cloud model using their internal data centre to distribute applications and services and share data across departments, staff and partners.
Once they master this way of working they are then gradually moving towards externally hosted cloud services through relying on public clouds, or adopting the "hybrid" cloud model by integrating external cloud services with their on-premise private clouds.
According to analyst Gartner nearly half of large organisations will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017.
Gartner said that in the past three years, private cloud computing has moved from "an aspiration to a tentative reality for nearly half of large organisations". It says hybrid cloud computing is "at the same place today that private cloud computing was three years ago" - as actual deployments are "low", but "aspirations are high".
So with almost half of large organisations moving to external cloud links through the hybrid model, they will come to rely on cloud data centre management software that can be used both inside their own data centre and that of their cloud provider - step forward HP.
Procter& Gamble chooses HP
Procter & Gamble (P&G) recently signed a "multi-year agreement" with HP to deliver an "always on" operating environment using the cloud, to allow the consumer goods company to keep products moving on time, from production to purchase.
HP had already been a crucial IT partner at P&G for over eight years before this deal was signed, but it is now offering further automation and integration for the services it delivers and supports, covering areas like manufacturing, procurement, distribution and finance.
"'Always on' isn't just a concept, it's a critical business driver for us. The HP team has proven its ability to deliver with quality and flexibility," says Filippo Passerini, CIO at P&G.
The introduction of "always on" will include consolidating some of P&G's core infrastructure from a private cloud model into a hybrid cloud environment, using HP Enterprise Cloud Services, including HP storage, networking, virtualisation and security solutions.
Partner with HP
With HP as your partner, you'll be on your way to reaping the benefits of cloud computing, because HP offers the most extensive range of cloud computing expertise, products and services.
Contact HP today and learn more about how HP can help make your journey to the cloud a smooth one.
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- HP CloudSystem at hp.com/go/cloudsystem
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