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Riding on the Cloud

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DQI Bureau
New Update

Cloud computing has revolutionized the technology landscape and changed the way technology solutions were provided earlier by service providers and organizations. Though majority of the organizations are keen on adopting cloud to reduce their cost and convert their Capex to Opex by adopting a pay-per-use model, there are many other crucial aspects that need to be considered before an organization moves to cloud.

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KEY MODELS

Cloud is a delivery model and there are multiple ways to move the IT Infrastructure to cloud:

 

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  • Co-location hosting (where we rent a space at the data center and manage it ourselves)
  • Using public IaaS cloud such as AWS (while we pay for the space, the provider manages our infrastructure)
  • Subscribe to a SaaS application and let the provider manage both applications and hardware for you. While moving to cloud it is important to choose a model either public, private or hybrid cloud after assessing your business requirements.

In reality, most of these public cloud service providers have better data protection and security mechanism than most IT organizations. They achieve this through the usage of audit trail, encrypted storage, and network middle-boxes.

However, it would need a change in mindset before enterprises start adopting public cloud fully. A combination of the public and private cloud may be an ideal solution in such cases where you want to take advantage of the benefits of public cloud and at the same time manage/secure your data internally.

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In this case, enterprises will use a ‘hybrid cloud'. Here, data flow between public cloud and your own data center takes place through IPSec based secure VPN's. The hybrid cloud model, by combining the traditional data center with the scalable cloud services of a public cloud has the ability to retain important and sensitive data in the private company network and simultaneously externalize temporary exchange data and IT resources. This makes hybrid cloud a very practical model.

While moving to cloud, one of the crucial aspects would be to select the right vendor and draft a proper SLA (Service Level Agreement) that would define the services in details. As an organization moves their server and data to third party, they lose control to a great extent, and with a wrong partner, it may turn out to be a disaster. A rigorous evaluation process to ascertain the right vendor is crucial. SLA's should clearly define the clauses with regard to security, maintenance, and support services to avoid any confusion.

It is essential for users to be confident about the vendor's security approach, data center reliability, number of engineers accessing the data, and the like. Many large cloud service providers are SAS 70 Type II, FISMA, and ISO 27001 certified, and are audited by independent, third-party security organizations.

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In spite of the challenges, cloud computing will see remarkable growth. ‘Wearable and Mobile' devices and emerging markets will drive growth in the cloud industry. In the coming years, there will be more number of people using smartphones and wearable devices as compared to PC's.

KEY TRENDS

Some of the key cloud computing trends that we will witness in future are:

  • There will be a movement towards the virtual private cloud model (which is essentially a private cloud but not on-premise). As per IDC's Chris Morris, "For critical applications, only a secure, non-shared private cloud will pass all compliance requirements. Initial enterprise strategies for on-premises private cloud environments have been limited by cost and time overruns, while virtual private cloud solutions have provided an effective solution for some organizations."
  • Personal cloud will gradually replace PCs as the digital content would be centrally stored and can be accessed by people from multiple devices like PC's phone and even televisions in future. iCloud from Mac is one such example.
  • Mobile enablement of software applications and services will drive opportunities in cloud. Mobile devices are connected to cloud based back-end services that can elastically respond to mobile client engagements and shield your data center from unpredictable traffic.
  • Emergence of industry-specific or community clouds. For example, a cloud for healthcare industry that meets the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), regulations around standards for health-related data protection and storage. Another example could be telecom cloud complying with FCC regulations. There is a huge potential for IT professionals as cloud computing is expected to create over 2 mn jobs in India (and 14 mn worldwide) by 2015.
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