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Why IT Needs to Take Control of Public Cloud Computing

Thinking About IT As a Supply Chain Creates New Management Challenges

IT organizations that fail to provide guidance for and governance over public cloud computing usage will be unhappy with the results…

While it is highly unlikely that business users will “control their own destiny” by provisioning servers in cloud computing environments that doesn’t mean they won’t be involved. In fact it’s likely that IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) cloud computing environments will be leveraged by business users to avoid the hassles they perceive (and oft times actually do) exist in their quest to deploy a given business application. It’s just that they won’t themselves be pushing the buttons.

There have been many experts that have expounded upon the ways in which cloud computing is forcing a shift within IT and the way in which assets are provisioned, acquired, and managed. One of those shifts is likely to also occur “outside” of IT with external IT-focused services, such as system integrators like CSC and EDS HP Enterprise Services.


ROBBING PETER to PAY PAUL

The use of SaaS by business users is a foregone conclusion. It makes sense. Unfortunately SaaS is generally available only for highly commoditized business functions. That means more niche applications are unlikely to be offered SaaS because of the diseconomy of scale factors involved with such a small market. But  that does not mean that businesses aren’t going to acquire and utilize those applications. On the contrary, it is just this market that is ripe for Paul the SI to leverage.

imageFor example, assume a business unit needed application X, but application X is very specific to their industry and not offered as SaaS by any provider today – and is unlikely to be offered as such in the future due to its limited addressable market. But IT is overburdened with other projects and may not have the time – or resources – available until some “later” point in time. A savvy SI at this point would recognize the potential of marrying IaaS with this niche-market software   and essentially turning it into a SaaS-style, IaaS-deployed solution. An even savvier SI will have already partnered with a select group of cloud computing providers to enable this type of scenario to happen even more seamlessly. There’s quite a few systems’ integrators that are already invested in cloud computing, so the ones that aren’t will be at a distinct disadvantage if they don’t have preferred partners and can provide potential customers with details that will assuage any residual concerns regarding security and transparency.

Similarly, a savvy IT org will recognize the same potential and consider whether or not they can support the business initiative themselves or get behind the use of public cloud computing as an option under the right circumstances. IT needs to understand what types of applications can and cannot be deployed in a public cloud computing environment and provide that guidance to business units. An even savvier IT org might even refuse to locally deploy applications that are well-suited to a public IaaS deployment and reserve IT resources for applications that simply aren’t suited to public deployment. IT needs to provide governance and guidance for its business customers. IT needs to be, as Jay Fry put it so well in a recent post on this subject, “a trusted advisor.”

So what things would IT need to be able to do in order to help business users make the best IT sourcing choices, regardless of what the final answer is? They’d need to do less of what they’ve typically done – manually making sure the low-level components are working the way that are supposed to – and become more of a trusted adviser to the business.

Thinking about IT as a supply chain creates new management challenges

Jay Fry (formerly VP of Marketing for Cassatt, now with CA)

IT needs to be aware that it may be advantageous to use IaaS as a deployment environment for applications acquired by business units when it’s not possible or necessary to deploy locally. Because if Peter the CIO doesn’t, Paul the SI will.

 

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

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