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Does Cloud Computing Have A Silver Lining For You? (Part 2)

Posted on Monday, Oct 4th 2010

By guest author Shaloo Shalini

In the first part of this post, we named three things those considering cloud adoption must do. Again, they are:

1.    Investigate your cloud adoption objectives and opportunities.

2.   Formulate your integration strategy.

3.   Discover your blue-sky opportunities in the cloud.

Part 2 will cover investigating opportunities, and we’ll finish with formulating strategies and discovering blue-sky opportunities in Part 3.

Investigate your cloud adoption objectives and opportunities

In terms of immediate and short-term adoption requirements, enterprises typically reach first for the low-hanging fruits, influenced by the experiences of early adopters. With the deployment of cloud-based solutions for several of the lower priority yet business-critical processes, which earlier required significant budgets, organizations find these becoming dramatically cheaper. Pay-per-use or subscription-based models, as opposed to traditional down payment for off-the shelf software and infrastructure along with licensing and support costs, have universal appeal. But look deeper past the low pay-per-use subscription pricing and do your own total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis depending upon your requirements, be they Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), or Platform as a Service (PaaS) and total time of service usage vs. the economics of owning the software and infrastructure.

There are numerous startups both within and outside the technology domain that have been able to focus on their real offering or core business proposition and quickly build, deliver, and monetize this proposition without having to deal with traditional barriers to entry for a new business – namely, large capital investment requirements. Even the large enterprises and established businesses have figured out how to attract newer customer segments by offering their traditional software through subscription models.

Research and development divisions see a radical change in the way they can develop, test, deploy, re-engineer, and perform large-scale testing of their solutions with IaaS offerings. For sales teams, the usual sales cycles have condensed with cloud adoption. They can now focus on displaying their offerings and cut through the time spent on getting approvals and budgets in order to set up appropriate IT infrastructure at the client site with the required scale in order to demonstrate their offerings and benefits to the cloud. Tearing up and down of demo-configurations was never this easy, both in terms of access to infrastructure and costs involved. For some companies where sales team used clouds, buying decisions were simplified; with IaaS, a company was no longer dependent on infrastructure availability and allocation permissions within the client IT infrastructure.

In terms of cloud adoption, be it IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS based, you need to have a holistic approach. How do you ensure this? First, you need to evaluate cloud technologies and offerings purely on the merits of the solution itself in the context of your requirements. Second, you need to be realistic about the expected benefits, whether those apply to workloads or business processes and are capable and adequate for you. Last, you need to look at the adverse impact and risks of cloud adoption in your context.

At some point in your cloud adoption evaluation, you need to answer the question, “What is that business edge that cloud adoption imparts to my enterprise in general?” You need to determine whether the costs involved in moving to the cloud justify the benefits in your specific case.

On one hand, the cloud model could provide you with the much-touted business agility and elasticity in terms of computing resources and software services. On the other hand, you could be dealing with extremely complex integration issues if you also happen to use legacy systems within your enterprise that cannot move to a cloud-based model.

You need to be aware that many of the cloud solution vendors have innovative products, but they themselves are new and do not yet have the mechanisms or expertise in place to help you with all of your requisite integrations. Even larger, more established companies that have ventured into offering some of their services via the cloud could suddenly stop offering their cloud-based solutions. Therefore, vendor evaluation in terms of product vision, long-term support, and services is crucial. Be prepared for the uphill task of identifying the right vendor and portfolio of cloud-based offerings for your requirements should you choose to evaluate cloud-computing adoption for your organization.

This segment is part 2 in the series : Does Cloud Computing Have A Silver Lining For You?
1 2 3

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