Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Andreas Grabner, Stackify Blog, Liz McMillan, David H Deans, Automic Blog

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
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real r...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Systena America will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Systena Group has been in business for various software development and verification in Japan, US, ASEAN, and China by utilizing the knowledge we gained from all types of device development for various industries including smartphones (Android/iOS), wireless communication, security technology and IoT serv...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in compute, storage and networking technologies, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CollabNet, a global leader in enterprise software development, release automation and DevOps solutions, will be a Bronze Sponsor of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, taking place from June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CollabNet offers a broad range of solutions with the mission of helping modern organizations deliver quality software at speed. The company’s latest innovation, the DevOps Lifecycle Manager (DLM), supports Value S...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus intern...
The 21st International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Machine Learning 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 busin...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. 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 ad...
Everywhere we turn in our industry we can find strong opinions about the direction, type and nature of cloud’s impact on computing and business. Another word that is used in every context in our industry is “hybrid.” In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Alvaro Gonzalez, Director of Technical, Partner and Field Marketing at Peak 10, will use a combination of a few conceptual props and some research recently commissioned by Peak 10 to offer a real-world consideration of how the various categories of...
In his opening keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Michael Maximilien, Research Scientist, Architect, and Engineer at IBM, will motivate why realizing the full potential of the cloud and social data requires artificial intelligence. By mixing Cloud Foundry and the rich set of Watson services, IBM's Bluemix is the best cloud operating system for enterprises today, providing rapid development and deployment of applications that can take advantage of the rich catalog of Watson services to help drive insigh...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold 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. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deli...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...
SYS-CON Events announced today that WineSOFT will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Based in Seoul and Irvine, WineSOFT is an innovative software house focusing on internet infrastructure solutions. The venture started as a bootstrap start-up in 2010 by focusing on making the internet faster and more powerful. WineSOFT’s knowledge is based on the expertise of TCP/IP, VPN, SSL, peer-to-peer, mob...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EARP Integration will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EARP Integration is a passionate software house. Since its inception in 2009 the company successfully delivers smart solutions for cities and factories that start their digital transformation. EARP provides bespoke solutions like, for example, advanced enterprise portals, business intelligence systems an...
SYS-CON Events announced today that delaPlex will exhibit at SYS-CON's @CloudExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. delaPlex pioneered Software Development as a Service (SDaaS), which provides scalable resources to build, test, and deploy software. It’s a fast and more reliable way to develop a new product or expand your in-house team.