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Cloud Enables a Win-Win on Both Sides of the Business

An exclusive Q&A with Manjula Talreja, VP of Global Cloud Business Development at Cisco

"I believe it is incumbent on the Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) and/or System Integrators (SIs) to understand the regulatory and compliance-related issues that their customers face," noted Manjula Talreja, VP of Global Cloud Business Development at Cisco, in this exclusive Q&A with Cloud Expo Conference Chair Jeremy Geelan. "Of course these issues are different in each industry and in each country."

Cloud Computing Journal: The move to cloud isn't about saving money, it is about saving time - agree or disagree?

Manjula Talreja: Putting aside the old adage that "time is money," Cisco agrees that cloud is more about creating efficiencies in business processes. This is true for the cloud consumers (to take advantage of new technologies more quickly and with maximum flexibility and to tap into pay-as-you grow business models where they pay only for what they consume). This is equally true for cloud providers (to create new services rapidly and with fewer barriers to sell, offer services to qualified resellers, and create demand for those services).

Cisco has firsthand experience with cloud's impact on time and cost savings with our IT organization. With some 70,000 employees (more than 20,000 of which are engineers), we are a huge consumer of IT resources. We created the Cisco IT Elastic Infrastructure Services (CITEIS) for the internal consumption of IaaS. As we went through our three-phased cloud journey, delivery time for a server instance was reduced from 6-8 weeks to 15 minutes, giving our engineers much more flexibility in their use of server infrastructure. Meanwhile, we experienced TCO reductions of approximately 30% at each of the three phases reducing total server infrastructure costs by 33%.

In summary the business achieves greater agility and finance cost reduction. Cloud enables a win-win on both sides of the business.

Cloud Computing Journal: How should organizations tackle their regulatory and compliance concerns in the cloud? Who should they be asking/trusting for advice?

Talreja: I believe it is incumbent on the Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) and/or System Integrators (SIs) to understand the regulatory and compliance-related issues that their customers face. Of course these issues are different in each industry and in each country. As an example, for financial it is Sarbanes-Oxley, and for healthcare it is HIPAA. And in many markets, data sovereignty issues continue to weigh heavily on cloud adoption as many enterprises refuse to move their data outside of their ‘home country' and into a public or even virtual public cloud.

For example, consumers in Europe and Latin America are concerned about the US government accessing their data as a result of the Patriot Act, and many countries are creating new legislation preventing personal, financial or government data from residing outside their countries.

These data sovereignty issues are creating "sovereign clouds," which are forcing cloud providers to create an instance of their cloud offers in each country but potentially with a centralized portfolio and centralized approach to orchestration. This is one of the reasons why Dimension Data has created the Cisco-Powered OneCloud Managed Cloud Platform, which can conform to data sovereignty laws but still has the economies of scale and efficiencies of a centrally managed platform.

Cloud Computing Journal: With SMBs, the two primary challenges they face moving to the cloud are always stated as being cost and trust: where is the industry on satisfying SMBs on both points simultaneously - further along than in 2011-12, or...?

Talreja: Our research suggests differently: cost is usually a lower barrier for SMBs to adopt cloud than a number of other factors that are best summarized as "trust."

On the cost side, SMBs usually are constrained with access to capital and access to talented IT staff. Cloud allows them to shift their costs from capital-intensive and dependence on specialized IT staff (which is usually not core to their business) to a monthly operating cost. Our findings in the US, Europe, Asia and Latin America tell us that although cost is always a concern, SMBs are usually willing to pay a premium for the flexibility that cloud gives them.

More important as a barrier is the broad issue of "trust." Three of the top barriers we see consistently with SMB cloud adoption are related to (1) security/privacy; (2) trust in the viability of a cloud provider; and (3) the fear of being locked in. As cloud providers become more mature, technology improves and customers become more educated, the first two concerns are fairly well addressed. The industry needs to work harder at addressing the fear-of lock-in, but new standards and "exit strategies" are becoming available as the industry evolves.

•   •   •

Manjula Talreja will be presenting "The Who, What and How of Selling Cloud to SMBs" at the 12 International Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York City on June 13, 1:40-2:25 p.m.

To register for Cloud Expo please visit http://www3.sys-con.com/cloud2013east/registernew.cfm.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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