How Do You Manage Your Cloud?
Cloud computing has been around for some time. We’ve all heard of it, we all know what it does and we all understand the benefits it can bring… well most of us. It’s the same for virtualisation, which has become a technology phenomenon. Most, if not all organisations have virtualised at some level and over the years, the cloud has become a natural evolution of a business’ virtualisation strategy; an extension that builds upon the benefits gained from virtualising.
The questions I often ask businesses are “has your virtualisation strategy worked?” And “are you in control of your virtual environment?” In this day in age, there should be no question of governance in the cloud, i.e. who has control of a technology or virtual environment and how it is managed. Enterprise governance is key in the context of who owns the hardware – where it resides, who has access to it, how it’s secured and what patches need deploying into what environment.
Boosting efficiency and optimising resources is a key objective for many. However, in order to truly optimise resources, it is vital for businesses to migrate not only their technology, but their existing legacy processes in to the cloud too. Let’s not forget about the machine or lifecycle management and the capacity planning for that matter. Even workflow and Business Process Management. All of these aspects need incorporating too as their legacy is already processed from what they inherited for the business. From a customer perspective it is equally important, as they would like to automate them into a true cloud offering.
Mechanisms, management and control
Businesses also need to think about how they plan to leverage their current virtual environment to offer the next level of agility, flexibility and usage model. If you have control of virtualisation and the levels of usage, you can begin to accurately plan for future capacity demand and needs, you can also begin to plan which workloads require what level of capacity, compute, storage and network. In doing so, you are then also able to control where the capacity resides and how to ensure you have a higher level of efficiency and utilisation.
Assess your options
What is available to you? Can you begin to combine your own in-house infrastructure with “rented” options from public sources? Businesses need to assess whether they have the capability to manage both as a common ubiquitous set of resource, whilst maintaining the processes and management systems. Do you understand both the potential benefits and cost implications of mixing your own resources in your data centre? Also, the fact that you can procure “on demand” from public cloud providers whilst maintaining the control and processes that you have for your organisation?
Other questions to ask are, can you give your users the speed and flexibility they need to freely procure outside your organisation? With the consumerisation of IT, users are now accustomed to procuring resource over the web with a few clicks of the mouse. However, unfortunately they will invariably do this outside of the control of IT and the governance of the business, unless IT can provide the same experience from within.
Do not fret. It can be achieved. Users can be given access to self-service resource, governed by you and the policies you have in place surrounding where workloads should reside and what underlying infrastructure and applications should be used, which you deem appropriate.
With an array of cloud options in the market and the IT landscape evolving at such an exponential rate, it is important for businesses to have a long hard look at their cloud offering. Is it delivering what you had hoped? Are your customers or users finding it as accessible and valuable as they should? And fundamentally, what do you want your cloud and IT processes to look like in the future?
By Jim Darragh
Jim is the CEO of Abiquo and joined the company in September 2012 with a vision to aggressively grow the business and deliver shareholder value. Prior to this he held the position of SVP & General Manager of the Stingray business unit at Riverbed Technology, a role he began in July 2011 following his influential leadership as CEO at Zeus Technology.
Jim was instrumental in the acquisition of Zeus by Riverbed in 2011, spearheading an award-winning exit that attracted considerable attention in the European equity markets. Prior to Zeus, Jim has a long history of building successful international software businesses across the industry at SAP, CA Technologies and BMC Software.’