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Why Cloud Can’t Be Everything to Everyone By @Colin_Lacey | @CloudExpo [#Cloud]

Agility - not cost savings - has become the primary driver for enterprise cloud adoption

Why Cloud Can't Be Everything to Everyone (but What It Can Be for You)

Enterprise cloud adoption rates have climbed in leaps and bounds over the past several years and 72 percent of companies are expected to pursue a hybrid cloud implementation strategy by 2015.[1] But cloud technology's value proposition has transformed as business needs have evolved. Whereas cloud was once seen as being a way to reduce costs, cloud users are finding it's now much more than a matter of saving money. As business processes and applications have become more complex and simultaneously more automated, more companies have moved away from virtualized environments in favor of the flexibility, reduced capex, rapid service delivery and other business benefits experienced by their peers who have made the leap to the cloud.

For businesses that use the cloud, it's about more than the money saved. Agility - not cost savings - has become the primary driver for enterprise cloud adoption. Particularly as hybrid cloud continues to catch on in the enterprise, there are a number of things to keep in mind when evaluating a cloud strategy. If you're looking for pure cost savings, don't just assume public cloud is the de facto option. On the other hand, if an agile solution that allows you to scale and is fast to implement is what you need, a hybrid cloud environment is often the best way to go.

The Dos and Don'ts of Cloud
For organizations evaluating their IT environments and looking to migrate applications in order to help their businesses run more efficiently and strategically, here's what to look for-and not-in a cloud strategy.

Do Expect Cost Efficiency: Market forces will drive down costs for hybrid cloud services as adoption rates continue to spike and automation catches hold.

...but Don't Over-Rely on It: In the end, businesses won't be turning to the cloud exclusively for cost reductions, but for the overall agility and customizability it brings to businesses.

Do Avoid Lock-in: The flip-side of cloud provider platform capabilities is the potential for application lock-in, so be sure to architect with your desired flexibility in mind and look to leverage emerging container technology to provide a standardized approach to workload moves. For companies looking to pick and choose the services and providers that best fit into their overall business, a hybrid cloud approach is the way to go.

Don't Expect Reduced Complexity: Because of the multi-vendor environment, complexity will remain a challenge. While most services will be governed in a consolidated way, that's not the case for everything, so it's important to factor in for added complexity. To address this, make certain to:

  • Centralize your organization's cloud expertise
  • Maintain best practices in an easy-to-access repository
  • Pre-establish contracts and cloud provider relationships to streamline customer service needs

Do Think Simple: A multi-vendor hybrid cloud environment means that a cloud management solution that takes service level objectives, governance and compliance into account is necessary. Seek out cloud management services that are geared toward streamlining and simplifying these complex environments by providing an integrated view of your hybrid landscape.

Do Be Prepared to Move Fast: There's no denying it: cloud speeds up everything. And in today's business environment, that's a good thing when it means decreased time to revenue. But before signing on to a cloud-based IT environment, organizations must ensure that their infrastructure, employees, and ability to scale are all prepared to handle the rapid pace of change. Think beyond the basics - look at culture and communication as well as structure, policy and process.

Don't Expect Mature Technologies: We're still in the early stages, comparatively speaking, of enterprise cloud adoption. As such, some of the technologies and services you'll implement are still in rapid evolution. Be sure your people are prepared for this.

Do Expect to Address Latency Concerns: While cloud and latency do go hand in hand, a thoughtfully-implemented hybrid cloud architecture can eliminate unnecessary latency.

In the end, when looking at ways to optimize the organization, it's important to acknowledge that cloud strategies can have many goals - not solely cost reduction, renovating IT, or even enabling business innovation. However, by looking at the business as a comprehensive structure and identifying your needs, particularly around agility, you can determine and design a cloud strategy that will set you up for success.

Reference:

1. Gartner Presentation: "Hybrid Clouds and Hybrid IT: The Next Frontier," Thomas Bittman, September 9, 2014

More Stories By Colin Lacey

Colin Lacey, Vice President, Infrastructure and Cloud Solutions at Unisys, leads solution management for data center and cloud services covering advisory, implementation and managed services. He is an international technology and services marketing executive with experience spanning consumer and commercial PCs, enterprise storage, servers and mainframes, and services to enable data center and cloud transformation. His specialties are solution marketing, technology strategy, portfolio management and business development. Before joining Unisys, he was the director of Platform Marketing for Hewlett Packard’s ProLiant server family. He holds both a B.Sc. and M.A. in management from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.

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