Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Mihai Corbuleac, Pat Romanski, David Bermingham

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Containers Expo Blog

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Business Value and Cloud Computing

What is the business impact of leveraging a Cloud delivery model?

In our last post we discussed the positive shift in the Cloud Computing discourse towards actionable steps rather than philosophical diatribes on definitions. And to support that discussion we offered the following list of things not to do:

  1. Not understanding the business value
  2. Assuming server virtualization is enough
  3. Not understanding service dependencies
  4. Leveraging traditional monitoring
  5. Not understanding internal/external costs

In this installment we are going to focus on the first mistake - failing to understand the business impact of leveraging a Cloud delivery model for a given application or service.

What are you trying to do?
The first step when evaluating a Cloud delivery option is to define the service: is it new or are you considering porting an existing service? Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. If new, there is a lower financial bar to justify a Cloud model (no legacy infrastructure to write off), but there's also the downside of having no historical perspective on consumption trends to aid in evaluating financial considerations or performance. We'll discuss both financial and performance considerations in a future blog, so for now let's continue and assume we are talking about a new service.

Is Cloud a better option than traditional approaches?
The next step is to clearly articulate why you are looking at Cloud, and for many IT executives this may require a dose of painful honesty. Are you looking at Cloud because:

  • Your business requires a highly scalable solution?
  • Your data center is out of capacity?
  • You expect this to be a short-lived service?
  • You need to collaborate with a business partner on neutral territory?
  • Your business has capital constraints?

If so, those are all good reasons to consider a Cloud option. However, if you are looking at Cloud because it takes weeks/months to get a new server in production, or your Operations team has no credibility maintaining a highly available service, or your internal cost allocation models are atrocious...well, perhaps there are some in-house improvements you should be prioritizing before exploring Cloud.

Just because you can doesn't mean you should!
A painful lesson learned early (and for some of us, often) in life is that just because you have the ability to do something doesn't necessarily mean it's a good idea. Look no further than the disastrous results many firms had in the early days of e-business when they exposed legacy internal applications to the Internet for evidence of this axiom. As you contemplate moving applications/services to the Cloud (particularly public services), you need to answer these questions:

  • Does this application consume or generate data with jurisdictional requirements (i.e., data cannot be stored outside of a specific geography)?
  • What will happen if there is a security breach/data loss? Will your company face fines or a public relations nightmare due to an expose on the front page of the Wall Street Journal?
  • If this service runs poorly, what part of your business value chain is exposed? Are there critical systems that rely on it?
  • What happens if the application/service doesn't run at all? Would you be dead in the water, or are there alternatives that allow the business to continue functioning?

The last bullet warrants further explanation, as many IT professionals experienced with outsourcing/hosting relationships may point to contracts with strict SLAs as their answer. Penalties are well and good, but what happens to your business if this service cannot run? Although Cloud Computing is still in its infancy, there are already numerous examples of failures that no SLA can guard against: bankruptcy (and/or going out of business); change of ownership (something that is inevitably going to happen more frequently as the market matures); or even government investigations (if a government agency has a search and seizure warrant to investigate a company using the same Cloud provider as you, it's highly unlikely that they will take the time to sort out the bad from the good - they will take everything). The lesson here is that SLAs are not enough - you must have a contingency plan to restore the application/service/data on another provider or internally or accept the risk of this service being unavailable for an extended period of time.

There are tremendous benefits to embracing Cloud services (public or private). We hope that this piece does not discourage anyone from pursuing this goal, but rather generates a candid dialogue about the business value of the service in question.

In our next blog we'll explore the next segment on our list - holistic virtualization.

More Stories By James Houghton

James Houghton is Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer of Adaptivity. In his CTO capacity Jim interacts with key technology providers to evolve capabilities and partnerships that enable Adaptivity to offer its complete SOIT, RTI, and Utility Computing solutions. In addition, he engages with key clients to ensure successful leverage of the ADIOS methodology.

Most recently, Houghton was the SVP Architecture & Strategy Executive for the infrastructure organization at Bank of America, where he drove legacy infrastructure transformation initiatives across 40+ data centers. Prior to that he was the Head of Wachovia’s Utility Product Management, where he drove the design, services, and offering for SOA and Utility Computing for the technology division of Wachovia’s Corporate & Investment Bank. He has also led leading-edge consulting practices at IBM Global Technology Services and Deloitte Consulting.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
CloudNinja 06/23/10 09:57:00 AM EDT

There is alot of thrashing in this space and it is hard to determine which Cloud to goto as everyone is doing something a little different – its hard to compare Cloud 2 Cloud.

A similar diagnosis is by David Chappell: "If I ruled the world”, says David Chappell, “I would make the phrase ‘private cloud’ illegal”. In conversation with David Gristwood, David Chappell, during his recent world tour, discusses the Cloud, its importance and role in the partner ecosystem, and cloud players, such as Google, Amazon, Salesforce.com, VMware and more. You can see his Cloud2Cloud comparison in brief here:

A more recent talk" with David Chappell on this topic where he covers others issues such as:
- IaaS vs PaaS
- Private vs Public Cloud
- Applications that are not a great fit for the Cloud and those which are.
- The threat of Public Cloud to IT departments

thoughts?

hope that helps,
-cn

@ThingsExpo Stories
What a difference a year makes. Organizations aren’t just talking about IoT possibilities, it is now baked into their core business strategy. With IoT, billions of devices generating data from different companies on different networks around the globe need to interact. From efficiency to better customer insights to completely new business models, IoT will turn traditional business models upside down. In the new customer-centric age, the key to success is delivering critical services and apps wit...
The essence of data analysis involves setting up data pipelines that consist of several operations that are chained together – starting from data collection, data quality checks, data integration, data analysis and data visualization (including the setting up of interaction paths in that visualization). In our opinion, the challenges stem from the technology diversity at each stage of the data pipeline as well as the lack of process around the analysis.
As cloud and storage projections continue to rise, the number of organizations moving to the cloud is escalating and it is clear cloud storage is here to stay. However, is it secure? Data is the lifeblood for government entities, countries, cloud service providers and enterprises alike and losing or exposing that data can have disastrous results. There are new concepts for data storage on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive data around the world. ...
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
Designing IoT applications is complex, but deploying them in a scalable fashion is even more complex. A scalable, API first IaaS cloud is a good start, but in order to understand the various components specific to deploying IoT applications, one needs to understand the architecture of these applications and figure out how to scale these components independently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nara Rajagopalan is CEO of Accelerite, will discuss the fundamental architecture of IoT applications, ...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty ...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit y...
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will discuss the vast to...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu, a leading provider of cloud hosting solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to foc...
SYS-CON Events announced today the How to Create Angular 2 Clients for the Cloud Workshop, being held June 7, 2016, in conjunction with 18th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Angular 2 is a complete re-write of the popular framework AngularJS. Programming in Angular 2 is greatly simplified. Now it’s a component-based well-performing framework. The immersive one-day workshop led by Yakov Fain, a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? How do you coordinate the diverse moving parts that must come together when developing your IoT product? What are the key challenges addressed by Data as a Service? How does cloud computing underlie and connect the notions of Digital and DevOps What is the impact of the API economy? What is the business imperative for Cognitive Computing? Get all these questions and hundreds more like them answered at the 18th Cloud Expo...
Customer experience has become a competitive differentiator for companies, and it’s imperative that brands seamlessly connect the customer journey across all platforms. With the continued explosion of IoT, join us for a look at how to build a winning digital foundation in the connected era – today and in the future. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Nguyen, Group Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how to successfully leverage mobile, rapidly deploy content, capture real-time d...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, will provide an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that 24Notion has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. 24Notion is full-service global creative digital marketing, technology and lifestyle agency that combines strategic ideas with customized tactical execution. With a broad understand of the art of traditional marketing, new media, communications and social influence, 24Notion uniquely understands how to con...
The demand for organizations to expand their infrastructure to multiple IT environments like the cloud, on-premise, mobile, bring your own device (BYOD) and the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow. As this hybrid infrastructure increases, the challenge to monitor the security of these systems increases in volume and complexity. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stephen Coty, Chief Security Evangelist at Alert Logic, will show how properly configured and managed security architecture can...
When it comes to IoT in the enterprise, namely the commercial building and hospitality markets, a benefit not getting the attention it deserves is energy efficiency, and IoT's direct impact on a cleaner, greener environment when installed in smart buildings. Until now clean technology was offered piecemeal and led with point solutions that require significant systems integration to orchestrate and deploy. There didn't exist a 'top down' approach that can manage and monitor the way a Smart Buildi...
SYS-CON Events announced today BZ Media LLC has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. BZ Media LLC is a high-tech media company that produces technical conferences and expositions, and publishes a magazine, newsletters and websites in the software development, SharePoint, mobile development and Commercial Drone markets.
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, will discuss the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to fo...