Doing nothing is not an option for cloud computing, says Lian Gunson, IDC New Zealand analyst.
Moving to the cloud is not a “one shot affair”, says Gunson at IDC’s ‘Powering the Enterprise Cloud’ forum in Auckland. He says enterprises should start planning their move into the cloud environment, measure success as they go, and chance tack if needed.
Gunson says cloud computing has “attractive benefits” like easy of deployment, ability to pay only for what the enterprise uses, and access to the latest functionality.
The last, he says, is important for SMBs for which it will not make sense to always get the latest technology.
Gunson says cloud computing has attractive benefits, among them ease of deployment, paying only for what you use, and getting the latest functionality. This, he says, is important for SMBs in New Zealand where it may not make sense to buy the latest technology.
Some of the challenges of moving to the cloud, however, are security, performance, availability and meeting regulatory requirements. Moving IP into the cloud is a different story and a real concern vendors need to address, says Gunson.
Interestingly, when IDC asked more than 200 New Zealand organisations about cloud computing, 40 percent said they have not heard of it, as against 12.5 per cent in Australia. Those who heard of it, over a quarter said it was too immature to judge.
Nonetheless Gunson says there are four imperatives before moving into the cloud. These are around consolidation, strategic virtualisation, application prioritisation and converged IT fabric view.
Consolidation covers datacentres and applications. You have to take a holistic view across the organisation, he states. He says there needs to be a process of qualification which applications should migrate to the cloud. He suggests checking out which applications are already being used successfully in the cloud environment. An IDC survey reveals the top three applications are IT management, collaboration and personal applications.
The other speakers in the half-day event likewise provided a range of pointers on the cloud as an ICT sourcing model.
“Choose your vendors wisely,” says Steve Osborn, service line manager, Gen-i. His advice is based on working with Novell in moving away from the centre’s legacy model. The New Zealand Supercomputing Centre, which is now a division of Gen-i, started providing on demand processing for high intensity customer computing applications and project paid per usage or on subscription basis. This set up was fairly static and challenges included overhead and costs to operate. The centre worked with Novell using its PlateSpin technology that enabled the Supercomputer Centre to provide auto-provisioning, auto-scheduling and auto-management capabilities.
“Don’t go for the scatter gun,” he says. Choose those who “get it” and will want a “win-win” partnership.
Jeff Healey, enterprise servers, storage and networking manager at HP, lists the four concepts included in the cloud:
Software as a Service (SaaS) where users can run predefined applications directly from their web browser.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) in which user can run applications as long as they are programmed in one of the languages supported by the platform like Java or .Net.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)), an environment that provides the user with processing power, networking, storage and the other necessary resources allowing it to run software and applications.
Everything as a Service (EaaS) where IT moves from from a physical environment into a capability that is available at people’s fingertips without knowledge of where the assets are.
Healey advises companies to start with applications that can be easily virtualised and parallelised. They can start with applications that are not critical and data that are not highly confidential.
Ensure you have policies in place to consistently deploy applications and automate as many elements in the environment. There are lots to gain from this, he states.
Paul Kangro, applied technology strategist at Novell says it is important for enterprises heading into the clouds to “have their feet on the ground”.
He says these include understanding the business simplifying workloads, understanding the identity issues like audit and compliance, and consolidate information through business service management.