|By Ajit Gupta||
|December 4, 2012 04:45 AM EST||
While the adoption of cloud computing in the enterprise offers all sorts of benefits, too many organizations are forgetting about risks. Yes, the benefits of cloud computing are very real. I’m certainly not a cloud denier (and they, like Flat Earthers, do still exist), but one costly misstep as you move to the cloud could quickly eliminate all of those benefits you were hoping for.
I’m not talking about security risks. Those have been dissected almost as thoroughly as the cloud’s benefits. Rather, I’m talking about business risks. If you move a mission-critical application to the cloud, what happens if you don’t have enough available bandwidth to meet demand? What if your headquarters now must suffer with the poor performance that your branch office managers have been complaining about for years?
What if your Internet service provider’s network is compromised? The service provider will invariably tell you that redundancy and failover capabilities are built into their systems, but should you trust them?
Recently, two severed fiber optic cables in Sprint’s network grounded Alaska Airlines for much of a day. What are the chances that two different fiber optic cables in two completely different regions of the country accidentally get cut on the same day? The chances aren’t great, but they obviously were greater than zero.
The risks don’t have to be that severe, however. Access to critical applications is essential to knowledge workers. If your ERP, CRM or SFA application performs poorly because you’ve moved it to the cloud, what have you gained other than headaches?
Legacy apps drag down cloud efforts
Even as we’ve started the full-scale migration to a cloud-centric world, most applications aren’t ready. Most applications were not designed to reside away from your office, outside of your firewall and in the cloud. Even newer versions of software that has “cloud ready” slapped on it are often not cloud ready. Sure, the software can be hosted in a cloud environment, but can it perform at a high level in that environment?
Remember, cloud-based apps must now perform over the chaotic public Internet, rather than over your tightly controlled, high-throughput LAN. Latency, dropped packets and congestion can all seriously degrade app performance – routinely.
To overcome this problem, deep-pocketed organizations invest in expensive MPLS lines, WAN optimization equipment or CDNs. These solutions aren’t cheap. Remember all of that money you hoped to save when you moved to the cloud? How quickly it can evaporate.
If this has you thinking that you should just go back to the on-premise status quo, I have more bad news for you. It’s not going to be possible. Many software providers are moving to a services model, meaning you won’t be able to host your own versions even if you want to, and, meanwhile, organizations of all types are becoming more and more decentralized.
Outsourcing is no longer a trend, but a mundane reality. Telecommuting is on the rise. Even traditional office workers often work a day or two a week from home. The workforce is becoming more and more mobile. And newer businesses, in order to compete with incumbents, are avoiding the overhead of big office spaces, instead opting for small headquarters, smaller branch offices, and many mobile and work- from-home employees.
In other words, the cloud is shifting the cost center away from apps (which will be consumed on a pay- as-you-go model) to networks, which are consumed on an overprovisioning one.
Putting your head in the sand and hoping that the old ways will suffice will simply let more nimble competitors catch you, pass you, and pick your carcass clean during your bankruptcy.
The cloud may be the problem, but it’s also the solution
Fortunately, cloud computing is not a static innovation. If applications can be delivered as pay-as-you- go services, why can’t network services be delivered the same way? Why can’t you avoid purchasing expensive WAN optimization equipment or signing up for expensive CDN contracts, instead consuming each as needed?
The answer is simple: as in any other established space, the incumbents resist change. WAN optimization vendors make money off of that expensive equipment. MPLS providers want you to buy those expensive links. CDN providers thrive on those expensive contracts, which are all the more juicy when you under-utilize the services.
However, that doesn’t mean that change isn’t coming.
These services will move to the cloud – they already are starting to – and the incumbents know it. Many will even tell you that they are actively preparing for this new reality, but until they face enough competition from either startups or some underperforming incumbent needing to shake up their business model, the market leaders will be slow to move. It’s just the way these things work. After all, Saleforce.com, AWS, Dropbox and NetSuite weren’t overnight hits, and they faced serious skepticism on the road to success.
How to prepare for the future
In an economic climate as cut-throat as this one, where a startup in India could just as easily threaten you as one in Silicon Valley, it’s not enough to simply embrace change. The winners will help drive it.
If your cloud-based applications are underperforming, don’t believe the experts when they give you a limited list of options, all of them expensive, all of them more suited to yesterday’s technologies and work patterns. Network virtualization is happening. It took a while for server virtualization to mature and move out of the science-project phase. Now, every business under the sun understands the importance of server virtualization. Fortunately, the adoption phase for network virtualization should be much shorter. After all, it’s a heck of a lot easier to be the second group traveling over the Oregon Trail than the first.
So, the first thing you should do is simply not accept the status quo, and distrust anyone who tells you there is no other way.
Second, if vendors try to sell you expensive hardware or lock you into inflexible contracts, push back. Remind them that everything from expensive CRM suites to engineering testing and development has moved to the cloud.
Why haven’t application delivery services? Why haven’t network services? Why haven’t WAN optimization and CDN services?
Chances are the vendors you’ll work with already have these things on their roadmaps anyway. Why not force their hand?
Finally, negotiate for a win-win. In the end, embracing these new delivery models will not only be in your best interest, but in theirs too. After all, if they drag their feet and insist on stale business practices, you won’t be working with them for very long because they simply won’t be around to work with.
Resisting change in an era of innovation is the risky choice. It’s a cutthroat, winner-take-all economy we’re in, and those who are too risk-averse are actually the ones who end up courting risk. It’s a cruel irony, but your less risk-averse competitors won’t have much sympathy as they steal your market share.
"MathFreeOn.com is a line coding platform for engineers and scientists. When they want to solve an engineering problem and they have to use software - they have to pay a lot of money for licenses - but with MathFreeOn you don't have to pay a lot of money. Just go to our site and write the code and you can check the result right away," explained Simon Lee, CMO of MathFreeOn, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Cla...
Dec. 11, 2016 08:45 AM EST Reads: 551
Enterprise IT has been in the era of Hybrid Cloud for some time now. But it seems most conversations about Hybrid are focused on integrating AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google ECM into existing on-premises systems. Where is all the Private Cloud? What do technology providers need to do to make their offerings more compelling? How should enterprise IT executives and buyers define their focus, needs, and roadmap, and communicate that clearly to the providers?
Dec. 11, 2016 08:00 AM EST Reads: 796
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation; Alan Williamson, Principal...
Dec. 11, 2016 07:30 AM EST Reads: 776
Video experiences should be unique and exciting! But that doesn’t mean you need to patch all the pieces yourself. Users demand rich and engaging experiences and new ways to connect with you. But creating robust video applications at scale can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zohar Babin, Vice President of Platform, Ecosystem and Community at Kaltura, discussed how VPaaS enables you to move fast, creating scalable video experiences that reach your aud...
Dec. 11, 2016 07:00 AM EST Reads: 494
Get deep visibility into the performance of your databases and expert advice for performance optimization and tuning. You can't get application performance without database performance. Give everyone on the team a comprehensive view of how every aspect of the system affects performance across SQL database operations, host server and OS, virtualization resources and storage I/O. Quickly find bottlenecks and troubleshoot complex problems.
Dec. 11, 2016 06:45 AM EST Reads: 2,321
President Obama recently announced the launch of a new national awareness campaign to "encourage more Americans to move beyond passwords – adding an extra layer of security like a fingerprint or codes sent to your cellphone." The shift from single passwords to multi-factor authentication couldn’t be timelier or more strategic. This session will focus on why passwords alone are no longer effective, and why the time to act is now. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Chris Webber, security strateg...
Dec. 11, 2016 05:45 AM EST Reads: 743
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
Dec. 11, 2016 05:30 AM EST Reads: 748
"We are an all-flash array storage provider but our focus has been on VM-aware storage specifically for virtualized applications," stated Dhiraj Sehgal of Tintri in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 11, 2016 05:00 AM EST Reads: 1,190
"We are a leader in the market space called network visibility solutions - it enables monitoring tools and Big Data analysis to access the data and be able to see the performance," explained Shay Morag, VP of Sales and Marketing at Niagara Networks, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 11, 2016 04:45 AM EST Reads: 682
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
Dec. 11, 2016 04:30 AM EST Reads: 884
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smart...
Dec. 11, 2016 03:30 AM EST Reads: 1,175
Complete Internet of Things (IoT) embedded device security is not just about the device but involves the entire product’s identity, data and control integrity, and services traversing the cloud. A device can no longer be looked at as an island; it is a part of a system. In fact, given the cross-domain interactions enabled by IoT it could be a part of many systems. Also, depending on where the device is deployed, for example, in the office building versus a factory floor or oil field, security ha...
Dec. 11, 2016 03:00 AM EST Reads: 815
An IoT product’s log files speak volumes about what’s happening with your products in the field, pinpointing current and potential issues, and enabling you to predict failures and save millions of dollars in inventory. But until recently, no one knew how to listen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dan Gettens, Chief Research Officer at OnProcess, discussed recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and OnProcess Technology, where MIT created a new, breakthrough analytics model for s...
Dec. 11, 2016 02:45 AM EST Reads: 926
In IT, we sometimes coin terms for things before we know exactly what they are and how they’ll be used. The resulting terms may capture a common set of aspirations and goals – as “cloud” did broadly for on-demand, self-service, and flexible computing. But such a term can also lump together diverse and even competing practices, technologies, and priorities to the point where important distinctions are glossed over and lost.
Dec. 11, 2016 02:45 AM EST Reads: 1,808
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2017 New York. The 20th Cloud Expo and 7th @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Internet to enable us all to im...
Dec. 11, 2016 02:30 AM EST Reads: 1,076
"We are the public cloud providers. We are currently providing 50% of the resources they need for doing e-commerce business in China and we are hosting about 60% of mobile gaming in China," explained Yi Zheng, CPO and VP of Engineering at CDS Global Cloud, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 11, 2016 02:30 AM EST Reads: 1,320
"We are a custom software development, engineering firm. We specialize in cloud applications from helping customers that have on-premise applications migrating to the cloud, to helping customers design brand new apps in the cloud. And we specialize in mobile apps," explained Peter Di Stefano, Vice President of Marketing at Impiger Technologies, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 11, 2016 01:45 AM EST Reads: 773
When it comes to cloud computing, the ability to turn massive amounts of compute cores on and off on demand sounds attractive to IT staff, who need to manage peaks and valleys in user activity. With cloud bursting, the majority of the data can stay on premises while tapping into compute from public cloud providers, reducing risk and minimizing need to move large files. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Jeschonek, Director of Product Management at Avere Systems, discussed the IT and busin...
Dec. 11, 2016 01:45 AM EST Reads: 4,060
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, director/senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Dec. 11, 2016 01:30 AM EST Reads: 1,757
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
Dec. 11, 2016 12:00 AM EST Reads: 1,137