Overview: To correctly understand the benefits and issues surrounding public clouds, we first need to go back to the definition of "cloud." Different organizations (like NIST), vendors, and consultants have produced definitions that are often too verbose or address only one key characteristic of the cloud. It is important to identify the key concepts that differentiate the cloud from prior ways to procure and deliver computing resources.
It is useful to examine the hype surrounding the concept, propagated by a number of public cloud providers. While this is often anecdotal, this discussion helps customers challenge salespeople who recite marketing points without substance. It is also quite educational to see how certain vendors have changed their story as the new model emerged.
The next thing potential adopters need to know is what the categories of issues that cause all the fears about cloud computing are. Some of these fears are exaggerated: for example, availability issues, while they create a lot of adverse publicity, are not in fact as serious as people often fear, and there are good reasons for that. On the other hand, other issues are actually often understated (e.g., the problem of data residency in applications that manipulate data associated with some form of national interest or in highly regulated industry sectors).
After considering both extremes of this ongoing debate, a customer needs to develop a balanced vire - not only of the technology, but also of the sourcing and governance issues that can make a project fail. In support of this evaluation, it helps to understand the evolution of multi-tenant computing solutions from the start of timesharing 50 years ago, to the current types of offerings. There are common principles, but the cloud does bring something genuinely new compared to the initial IBM offerings of the 1960s. It is also important to read or listen to case studies, of which there are now a good number. Some of them are public, while others are shared in conferences and consortia. Vendor-published stories should be considered suspect. Finally, it is also important to understand the full scope of services that can be procured in the cloud: it is not just CRM applications, Web sites, or disk space, but it includes many more types of communication and collaboration capabilities, and this provides an opportunity to "start small" and get familiar with the issues while starting to save some money and decrease cycle times.
Once all this is understood, an organization needs to proceed in a pragmatic manner. Key steps of this journey have been documented in particular by the Cloud Standards Customer Council, which has published them in three successive guides, including a 9-step "Practical Guide to Cloud Computing" and two guides related to Cloud Service Agreements.
Why should you attend: Since the Cloud Computing model started taking off around 2007, the vendors have been promising miraculous benefits, and the naysayers have been raising the specter of major disruptions to performance and security.
Without a neutral source of information and a balanced perspective on the advantages and risks of public clouds, CIOs and IT sourcing managers will easily make the wtong decisions. If you adopt a cloud solution that is not well-suited to your needs, under a Service Level Agreement that is biased toward the vendor, you could indeed be faced with disruptions about which you will have ver little control. On the other hand, if you do not adopt any cloud solutions out of fear, your competitors may become more agile and your customers or users will ultimately find that you cannot deploy new capabilities fast enough. You will also continue to pay upfront for a fixed amount of software or hardware that you need to amortize over several years, instead of taking advantage of the cloud’s elasticity and its ability to replace capital investments with operating expenses.
The emergence of the cloud also changes the relationship between IT and the business. If IT cannot deliver new services fast enough, the business will start procuring those services on its own in the cloud. Ultimately, this can make IT irrelevant, and will lead the business to make poor choices in terms of redundant solutions, lack of integration, uneven security, etc. The business needs to understand what’s at stake, and IT needs to use clouds wisely in order to maintain its role as a partner to the business.
Areas Covered in the Session:
Back to Basics: Defining "Cloud"
Cloud Computing Use Cases
Cloud Computing, or "Cloud Whatever"
Service Level Agreements
Who Will Benefit:
IT Manager (reports to CIO)
Senior IT Consultants