Advertisment

Finding a Way Out of The Cloud Maze

author-image
DQI Bureau
New Update

Cloud is taking up an increasing portion of IT budgets. The early trickle is turning into a rush as cloud services are flooding the market and organizations are getting lured by the many advantages. But not all early adopters are cheering. Like any new technology, if not managed correctly, cloud too can be as much a burden as much a benefit. Organizations that sign up to cloud in a piece-meal and unplanned way-without any long-term vision-may find themselves tackling a host of unwanted problems.

Advertisment

Double Edged Sword

Before examining some of the traps and pitfalls it's worth looking at the key reasons why so many organizations are opting for cloud. One important cloud deliverable is flexibility. A cloud-based infrastructure allows enterprises to respond to varying operational demands on a daily basis-with the speed of implementing another winning factor. Both computing power and software-as-a-service are available for deployment at short notice. It's this agility that gives users a competitive edge and capability to respond quickly to changing market and business requirements. Through the cloud, organizations can avoid lengthy hardware acquisition cycles, lower initial investment costs and reduce the need for complex and time-consuming integration work. Another benefit driving cloud adoption is the potential to gain greater utilization of technology spend. With cloud, organizations are able to reduce maintenance and deployment costs. Cloud also provides the flexibility of shifting costs from a capital to operating expense and paying on an as-need basis. This enables IT to allocate more funds to drive innovation.

But as we cut through the benefits many things can go wrong. As organizations rush to reap the benefits of cloud, they must be mindful to avoid over-investing and wasting resources. Private and hybrid cloud assets may be virtual, but they still need to be managed. Easy access to so much computing power is akin to virtualization on steroids and can lead to over-provisioning with increased complexity and management demands.

Advertisment

Left unchecked, this lack of insight and planning leaves organizations faced with spiraling costs and an increasing problem of cloud sprawl and supplier sprawl. Rather than a solution to mounting technology challenges, an already complex IT environment becomes even harder to manage.

Securing Cloud Agilty: 3 Pronged Approach

Enterprises must realize that cloud is not an all-purpose solution to every IT challenge. Specific needs must be examined to establish if a cloud solution will help or not. There are three common uses of cloud. Its application should be carefully monitored and measured to ensure full agility is being realized. Ask these questions before any deployment:

Advertisment

Is software application development faster?

One of the biggest uses of cloud today is in development and test environments to accelerate the design of new software applications. Provisioning infrastructure as a service (IaaS) provides additional flexibility and speed so that test labs can be set up in minutes or hours, rather than weeks or months. This means more time can be spent on finding defects earlier in the application lifecycle, leading to reduced costs and the production of higher-quality apps. But such rapid application development is of little benefit unless the entire product release process is optimized. The overall concept-to-launch lifecycle of the software application needs to be carefully planned to ensure other key elements-such as production, marketing and a launch window-are fully in place.

Is service delivery faster?

Advertisment

When designing a cloud environment, organizations must first decide which services to leverage externally versus building internally. While cloud is a powerful tool, correct decisions are needed on which types to adopt to best achieve the organization's IT goals in the most cost-effective and efficient way. For example, will the enterprise benefit most from infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) or software as a service (SaaS), or elements of all three?Systems must be in place to manage vendors from an end-to-end perspective and also internally to measure how well the interaction with cloud is progressing. For example, public cloud IaaS delivers on-demand servers, networking and storage in minutes, but designing and building the actual services still takes time. The key is to find and remove any bottlenecks so that all systems are working at the same speed as the cloud services.

Are service level agreements being met?

It's important to compare outages and breaks in cloud service level agreements (SLAs) with traditional infrastructure to determine how well it's enabling business agility. Organizations can run into trouble if they don't have granular SLAs and transparency with their cloud service provider. For example, in multi-tenant public clouds, performance can be affected by the ‘noisy neighbor' effect when one application impacts the performance of others on the same server. Any business that depends on services in the cloud should consider pre-buying computing power or, if offered, a premium service that guarantees availability.

Circumvent the Challenges

Organizations should not be turned off by these potential drawbacks. Those that adopt good governance and have the proper automation in place with effective monitoring tools will reap the benefits. Take advantage of software and services available to help IT departments adopt and manage cloud computing implementations, both public and private. To plan and design a cloud strategy and architecture, use software that supports workshops services, cloud roadmap solutions, cloud design solutions and management consulting services. The competitive advantages of cloud services are considerable for those who are strategic in their approach and diligent in their application. Plan well and the rewards will flow. Cloud enables organizations to react with agility, turn on new revenue streams and create entirely new businesses.

Advertisment