What I Really Want to Know About Applying Cloud Computing Enterprise Environments – Part 1

I am going to moderate a panel session in a webinar hosted by BrightTalk. I'll announce the details in this blog shortly, after they have been worked out.

I have been to many conferences, workshops, and meetings that discussed cloud computing. Most of them were disappointing. Don’t get me wrong—the discussions were useful and informative. The problem is that they were all too general, and I could not apply the information in a practical environment. What if we imagine a hypothetical situation and ask some tough questions within that context?

Here goes:

I am CIO of a large enterprise that just virtualized and consolidated fifteen data centers into three. In this way, I reduced the IT and real estate footprints substantially. Now I just received a mandate from my CEO to further streamline the IT footprint without impacting SLA and jeopardizing security. I need to prepare a plan by the next quarter to indicate what needs to be purchased and worked on, along with ROI for the change. I would like to apply cloud computing to do that.

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Cloud Backup and Recovery
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I have three options: public cloud, on-premise cloud, and hosted private cloud. Let’s start with the public cloud. There are three flavors: SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS. SaaS probably has the least impact on my data centers. Which applications are suitable for SaaS? Most likely, the commodity type. I can probably move the email system to SaaS. This means I yank Microsoft Exchange and outsource email to Gmail. The impact on me is to lose the email support headache and remove the servers for that service. The overhead and logistics of the move may be easily recovered within several months.

I know what PaaS is about, but I am not sure how to exploit it. I need good guidance as to whether or not this is right for me at this stage. The examples I saw before regarding the application of IaaS are either high performance computation or scaled-out web applications. I do not have either type of application. What can I do with IaaS? I can probably use it for my testing. The testing team has been complaining about the difficulty of setting their testing environment together. They may not need the environment all the time, but when they do, they have to run around the company to secure extra machines for their tests. Since the testing does not happen all the time, the team does not have a fund to purchase enough servers dedicated for testing only. This may solve their problem. What is the ROI? How does this affect my capex and opex?

One question I have is this: in order to run their tests, they need to create virtual machines to run in a specific public cloud environment. My understanding is that there is little standardization in the cloud computing field. If I create a virtual machine (VM) for the Amazon Web Service (AWS), I cannot move that VM to other public or private clouds without converting to their file system. I would like to question my experts on the panel about this.

I can also look into the private cloud option. That will be in the next blog.

Zen Kishimoto

About Zen Kishimoto

Seasoned research and technology executive with various functional expertise, including roles in analyst, writer, CTO, VP Engineering, general management, sales, and marketing in diverse high-tech and cleantech industry segments, including software, mobile embedded systems, Web technologies, and networking. Current focus and expertise are in the area of the IT application to energy, such as smart grid, green IT, building/data center energy efficiency, and cloud computing.

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