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Controlled chaos

Article Type: Opinion          Published: 01-2014         Views: 1903   



Lee Fisher from Abiquo explains how poorly planned out cloud adoption can undermine the benefits on offer and frustrate the journey to the cloud.

Cloud services are designed to bring agility, simplicity, efficiency and self-service capabilities to a business and to support new ways of working and new opportunities. Among the many benefits on offer is the ability to select infrastructure and services from a range of different vendors. In reality though, many vendors are failing in their promise to deliver these services. In such a competitive and saturated market, vendors are all claiming to deliver the same thing - and as a result they are unable to differentiate themselves.

While businesses have freedom of choice in terms of selecting infrastructure and services, first and foremost they need to have an understanding of what they need and the capabilities of their existing infrastructure. There is a lack of education and understanding around the cloud, especially in terms of understanding the benefits that it can offer in the context of any existing capacity and capability. That said, enterprises are missing opportunities and not taking full advantage of the cloud because they do not know how to utilise it to its best advantage.

One of the biggest advantages attracting enterprises to the cloud is its ability to control how services are consumed, and in turn to better balance demands, costs, reliability, security and performance. However, when demand spikes, what is an enterprise to do? Scale up and purchase more infrastructure or infrastructure services, or identify existing capacity and reallocate resources?

Identifying existing under-utilised IT resources should always be the first port of call before any additional services or resources are purchased. While it's not necessarily an easy task, it can save enterprises a substantial amount of money. For the executives, cost efficiency by managing budgets, knowing what departments are spending their budgets on and ultimately, where money can be saved, is always on the agenda. Technology is no exception.

With the likes of Amazon shaping the cloud marketplace it has become shockingly easy to acquire cloud services. Enterprise application and business development teams can easily bypass their IT department completely and acquire additional services in minutes, meaning visibility and control over data and who has access to it is at an all-time low. Being able to browse through a catalogue of business ready services and produce the company credit card to instantly procure additional IT services, with no reference to the IT department, is appealing and easy. It's true, IT departments can quite often be the bottleneck in the approval and provisioning of cloud services, but ultimately this goes against the idea of having the cloud at the heart of the business. In this case the idea of the cloud is just an add-on and prevents true optimisation, which in turn impedes access to the benefits that the cloud can provide.

Spending on cloud services is increasing. Maximising cloud expenditure relies upon having a full and comprehensive understanding of the cloud platforms in place, and managing their provision. By using unified applications, IT departments can seize back their control of service allocation, budgeting, access and governance and define their own rules. They will also be able to gain a clearer oversight of what's being accessed, allocated, utilised and underutilised. This will not only substantially simplify cloud processes, but will ensure that existing assets and resources are being fully optimised. It will also ensure that money isn't being wasted on the procurement of services that aren't necessarily needed.

Knowing for certain that you can provide a seamless cloud service should be a vital part of any organisation's strategy. Equally, gaining control and independence of your cloud services, internal assets and their application, must also be a vital part of any cloud planning and deployment: something which shouldn't be overlooked.
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