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Agile Computing: Article

Approaching Cloudsizing

Cloud Computing and how to drive your enterprises in that direction - Part 1 of 4

You've heard of downsizing and rightsizing, so how about Cloudsizing? As properly defined, Cloudsizing is:

The improvement of efficiency and effectiveness of an organization through the selective use of computing resources that are delivered over the Internet

Simple but powerful, and fairly obvious, considering all that's been written about Cloud Computing recently.

However, what is not obvious is how you approach Cloudsizing, or how you get started. Thus, the purpose of this column/article, and the next three, is to introduce you to both the notion of Cloud Computing and how to drive your enterprises in that direction, and to do so through understanding and not just following the hype.

How the heck do you figure out what needs to be in the Cloud and what needs to be local to the enterprise? As with all things related to enterprise computing, it depends on your enterprise. However, there are steps you can take to figure out your requirements.

Here's how you approach Cloudsizing, in a 17-step process:

  1. Assess the business.
  2. Assess the culture.
  3. Assess the value.
  4. Understand your data.
  5. Understand your services.
  6. Understand your processes.
  7. Understand the cloud resources.
  8. Identify candidate data.
  9. Identify candidate services.
  10. Identify candidate processes.
  11. Create a governance strategy.
  12. Create a security strategy.
  13. Bind candidate services to data and processes.
  14. Relocate services, processes, and information.
  15. Implement security.
  16. Implement governance.
  17. Implement operations.

Assessing the Business
There is a saying in the world of enterprise IT: "The business drives IT." However, while that sounds good, that's typically not the case. Indeed, most of IT considers the business, but typically drives a strategy that's decoupled from the core business, when you get right down to it. When we say access the business is the first step to Cloudsizing, we don't mean consider the business, we mean understand the essence of the business and make sure to align the technology with it.

This means, understand the core strategy of the business, the direction of the products and/or services, the approach to obtaining business, the approach to partner integration, the approach to product development, etc., - all aspects, all understanding, again looking for ways to improve the business by leveraging Cloud Computing.

What you'll find is that the core business processes need special attention, and that there are areas where innovation can play a key role. For instance, the ability to validate the value of a sales lead, in process, by leveraging a D&B search from the Cloud, or the ability to locate a product for a customer by leveraging a remote logistics service and thus provide better customer service, which translates into higher sales.

Skip this step, and you might as well not bother. The business is at the essence of the opportunities found in the Cloud, thus you need to have complete knowledge of the business before proceeding.

Assessing the Culture
Once the business is understood, it's time to understand the people. In a recent Burton Group study, it was found that people and processes were typically the critical success factor for SOA, and considering that Cloud Computing is an extension of SOA, you'll find that that there are repeating patterns here.

Truth-be-told the "Cloud" is threatening to the rank-and-file who have gotten used to having all IT assets under their direct control. We saw the same thing back in the emerging days of SaaS, where IT blocked all attempts to deliver applications as a service, but the overwhelming need to have those applications up-and-running overcame the cultural pushback.

Cloud Computing is more invasive than SaaS. Considering that we now outsource infrastructure such as storage and application development as well as information and services, the cultural blocking will certainly be a factor here. Thus, you must take the time to access the culture of the organization, both understanding what will hinder success as well as create ways around the cultural impedance.

Next month we'll continue down our list.

More Stories By David Linthicum

Dave Linthicum is Sr. VP at Cloud Technology Partners, and an internationally known cloud computing and SOA expert. He is a sought-after consultant, speaker, and blogger. In his career, Dave has formed or enhanced many of the ideas behind modern distributed computing including EAI, B2B Application Integration, and SOA, approaches and technologies in wide use today. In addition, he is the Editor-in-Chief of SYS-CON's Virtualization Journal.

For the last 10 years, he has focused on the technology and strategies around cloud computing, including working with several cloud computing startups. His industry experience includes tenure as CTO and CEO of several successful software and cloud computing companies, and upper-level management positions in Fortune 500 companies. In addition, he was an associate professor of computer science for eight years, and continues to lecture at major technical colleges and universities, including University of Virginia and Arizona State University. He keynotes at many leading technology conferences, and has several well-read columns and blogs. Linthicum has authored 10 books, including the ground-breaking "Enterprise Application Integration" and "B2B Application Integration." You can reach him at [email protected] Or follow him on Twitter. Or view his profile on LinkedIn.

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