Archive for June 2011
On Andrea Di Maio’s Gartner blog post, “Are government agencies getting obsessed with private clouds?”

By Paul French, VP, Product & Solutions Marketing, Axway

This article talks about government agencies obsessed with private clouds; but I think the ideas apply to any large-scale enterprise obsessed with private clouds.

When you get down to it, “private cloud” is just new nomenclature for the way the industry provides hosted or specific deployments that co-located in somebody else’s data center, or managed services provided exclusively by a third party for a specific customer. Private clouds don’t really leverage the true value of the cloud; while the public cloud, on the other hand, is emerging as a wildly valuable platform that provides scalability, elasticity and cost advantages that private clouds can’t possibly achieve.

Yet, there’s a list of “scary” questions circulating around the idea of the public cloud, such as:

1. Where is my data stored?
2. Will I have access to it when I need it?
3. Will I be able to deploy with minimal business interruption and without risking data loss?
4. Do I really want to worry about somebody else’s risk management capabilities when I’m having trouble with my own?

Let’s take a moment to recall that once upon a time we worried about the risks associated with having company information on laptops. What would happen if employees left the laptops on an airplane, in a car or in a coffee shop? The same kinds of fears now orbit around the notion of the public cloud. But these fears too will recede as we begin to benefit from a technology shift just as powerful as the massive increases in productivity that came with giving knowledge workers their own on-the-go technology.

There are some organizations for which a full-fledged, everything-in-a-public-cloud system doesn’t make sense. The government may be a good example. I don’t think any of us want personally identifying tax information stored in a place that anybody might be able to access, and the government knows that.

But is the cloud a reasonable place for, say, a large-scale global retailer to maintain a secondary infrastructure that could be turned on only during holiday and peak seasons, without having to sit idle for the other eight months of the year? Absolutely! That’s a brilliant use case. And there are hundreds of other use cases that make just as much sense.

Companies are always going to have an on-premise infrastructure that’s dedicated to data exchange; but they may not want to buy secondary value-added services in order to enrich that data exchange. The cloud is the perfect place to add in those services when they are needed, in the precise way they are needed, and at a cost that’s reasonable and makes good business sense.

On Mark P. McDonald’s Gartner blog post, “In the near future, doing your job may just be the way to lose your job, particularly for IT”

By Paul French, VP, Product & Solutions Marketing, Axway

This is a brilliant concept. With the emergence of cloud computing and a more consistent democratization of IT; increased power on the desktop; increased access to applications and mobile devices; and the way Apple has made technology more acceptable and usable across a wider demographic, the market has changed – IT is now expected to provide services.

It used to be that dealing with IT felt like dealing with a man behind the curtain. It was scary, you had to be careful how you asked for things, and you accepted it when they said they couldn’t give you an ETA or a price quote.

Not so today. Today, you are more likely to respond, “That’s fine, IT guy. I’ll go find a cloud service provider who will do this on-demand. I’ll access it from a browser. I don’t need you anymore.”

This turn of events is forcing IT to think about the services they’re going to provide and the SLAs and cost structures they’re going to support. And it forces organizations to think through just how much IT resource they want to make available to their internal business units. (But beware – if those business units are not satisfied, they may decide that the CRM the company provides isn’t sufficient for their needs, and opt to pay $50 a head per month for a service like SalesForce.com.)

IT organizations now have to do everything they’ve always done, but faster, with better usability, and cheaper than they ever thought possible. They have to think about the ramifications if they don’t (like in the Salesforce.com example above). And they also have to think through the ramifications of customer information living on somebody else’s server, including the policies, procedures, back-up plans and risks involved.

Most enterprises haven’t truly considered how they’re going to take advantage of these demands and properly leverage IT across their organization. They need to take a hard look at themselves, become more agile, become more cost-effective, and become a better partner for their own internal service providers, e.g., the IT organization.

Our high-performing customers are doing just that — being aggressive and out-in-front, not waiting until they can no longer deny the inevitable.