Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, AppDynamics Blog, Ken Fogel, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, SOA & WOA, .NET, Virtualization, Big Data Journal, SDN Journal

Cloud Expo: Article

What CIOs Need to Consider When Migrating to Cloud Is the Next Big Move

The Great IT Debate

In enterprises across the globe, CIOs are looking cautiously in one direction: up - to the cloud. Migrating to the cloud changes not only the operations of the data center but also the roles of the CIO and IT staff. As a result, management must carefully weigh the pros and cons of shifting to cloud-based computing so that they can prepare their organizations and themselves for change that cascades across budgets, vendor relations, job descriptions and career paths, as well as infrastructure and processes.

The benefits of moving from an on-premises model to subscription-based, cloud-hosted computing are substantial. With cloud computing, CIOs have the opportunity to capitalize on a variable-cost structure. Until recently, data centers have needed to load up with hardware, software and networking devices to prepare for peak periods, even though these investments may lie underused or dormant for significant periods. Traditionally, IT costs only go up. By employing the cloud, however, IT departments pay for only the infrastructure and applications that they use, as they need them. They can easily scale up when the business grows or during peak selling seasons, then scale back if the economy shrinks. Over time, the cost of Software-as-a-Service subscriptions is far lower than that of licensing fees for software, middleware and databases, along with expenditures on hardware and staff to maintain it all.

Furthermore, cloud-based computing enables faster deployment of technology, since the enterprise needs only to add a subscription for a new employee, rather than configure permissions and upgrade data storage.

Equally important, migrating to the cloud substantially reduces pressure on the capital budget. The shift removes a huge amount of demand for data center infrastructure, since the cloud-computing vendor houses virtually all of the servers, networking systems and software.

Additionally, the cloud can relieve the CIO's team of the enormous amount of time and effort required to make upgrades and patches and to extend infrastructure. The CIO is traditionally responsible for ensuring these massive projects are completed in the right sequence and that changes are made in a compatible fashion. In a cloud environment, this demanding work goes away, with no need for patches or upgrades at the business level. The vendor manages it all.

Cloud computing also can make hiring decisions easier and more productive. Typically, finding and retaining people with the right set of skills to maintain and operate a data center has been frustratingly difficult. In a cloud environment, the vendor employs those individuals. As a result, the CIO gains the opportunity to refocus scarce and valuable IT resources on strategies and actions with much higher value to the company. In an on-premises center, routine maintenance and upgrading devours a great majority of the IT staff's time. Because staff is so consumed with must-do chores, the CIO seems to spend his career saying no to requests from the business for applications and capabilities that they really want. With cloud computing, the great majority of routine tasks disappear, freeing staff for more productive activity.

Another consideration is that the cloud environment is much more amenable to the bring-your-own-device trend that has been driving IT management to find ways to protect its networks from malware and misuse. Conventionally, on-premises systems block access with a big internal firewall; it's a system designed specifically to prevent connection of all but a limited set of outside devices. The cloud, on the other hand, is device-friendly. If you can access the Internet, you can work with vendor-hosted data from any type of mobile or desktop device.

Finally, cloud computing dramatically lowers the risk of obsolescence. The vendor automatically makes the latest version of cloud-based operating systems and applications available to every user, while ensuring the networking, storage and security systems evolve to meet the needs of all the vendor's customers.

While some have claimed that the sky's the limit for cloud computing, transitioning to the cloud environment can present difficulties and occasional obstacles that can draw CIOs back down to Earth. First of all, the CIO and the IT team need to develop a new skill. Previously, a large part of IT staff's role had been managing equipment, software and licenses; with the cloud, the CIO shifts to managing the relationship and subscriptions with the vendor. The job is completely different; instead of providing IT services directly to users, the CIO manages a third party that provides those services.

For IT staff, migration to the cloud potentially could be a career threat. For example, computer programmers who spend their days writing modifications to on-premises ERP systems lose that responsibility when the enterprise adopts cloud-based ERP. The CIO must decide what to do with these now displaced employees.

Similarly, a shift to the cloud may generate the perception that someone in the C-suite will decide to cut the CIO's headcount and budget. While this is not a common outcome, the perception may remain and impact productivity.

Working in the cloud, users and IT staff no longer have the ability to modify software. That may be a good thing or a difficult proposition, depending on the organization. Manufacturers of on-premises software traditionally have made their products as configurable as possible, since each release must be able to meet the needs of hundreds of thousands of different companies. Configuration is a process that IT has taken for granted on premises. In the cloud, software customization is very limited, with someone outside the organization controlling the applications.

A final consideration is that a fundamental change in relationships within the business may accompany migration to the cloud. With the on-premises model, users within the company depended solely on the IT department for their computing needs. In the cloud, the relationship changes to one between users and the vendor. It's the vendor that handles user requests, interacts with them and provides the services. Whereas the CIO once controlled and managed all the IT systems and information in the organization, the cloud suddenly empowers individual users and departments. They no longer need to go to the IT department. For some CIOs, this may be a welcome development; others may not wish to relinquish the connections they have nurtured with colleagues in the enterprise, or must seek to evolve them.

CIOs should carefully analyze the potential benefits and drawbacks of migrating to the cloud before making the leap. More resources to assist in that decision can be found at the Plex Systems Knowledge Center (www.plex.com/knowledge-center) and discussions of cloud computing by Microsoft (www. msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/ee309870.aspx) and Cisco (www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns340/ns517/ns224/ns836/ns976/white_paper_c11-543729.html ).

More Stories By Jim Shepherd

As vice president of strategy, Jim Shepherd is responsible for defining the strategic direction of Plex Systems (Plex) with manufacturers across multiple industries and global markets. He has 40 years of leadership in manufacturing and technology. Prior to joining Plex, Shepherd was vice president and distinguished analyst for Gartner Inc., the world’s leading information technology research company. Among his many accomplishments, Shepherd was the first AMR research fellow.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
rcopperman 06/21/13 01:59:00 PM EDT

Nice article from Jim at Plex. The other points to stress with movement to Cloud/SAAS is the importance of the back-end infrastructure related to access and availability. Eliminate as many single points of failure for getting and staying connected to the web. This should include redundant switches, routers, Firewalls, and so on. Also, must assure there is adequate bandwidth (dedicated if possible for business critical apps like ERP) and multi-points of access.

@CloudExpo Stories
The speed of product development has increased massively in the past 10 years. At the same time our formal secure development and SDL methodologies have fallen behind. This forces product developers to choose between rapid release times and security. In his session at DevOps Summit, Michael Murray, Director of Cyber Security Consulting and Assessment at GE Healthcare, examined the problems and presented some solutions for moving security into the DevOps lifecycle to ensure that we get fast AND ...
Docker is becoming very popular--we are seeing every major private and public cloud vendor racing to adopt it. It promises portability and interoperability, and is quickly becoming the currency of the Cloud. In his session at DevOps Summit, Bart Copeland, CEO of ActiveState, discussed why Docker is so important to the future of the cloud, but will also take a step back and show that Docker is actually only one piece of the puzzle. Copeland will outline the bigger picture of where Docker fits a...
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use c...
The Workspace-as-a-Service (WaaS) market will grow to $6.4B by 2018. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Seth Bostock, CEO of IndependenceIT, will begin by walking the audience through the evolution of Workspace as-a-Service, where it is now vs. where it going. To look beyond the desktop we must understand exactly what WaaS is, who the users are, and where it is going in the future. IT departments, ISVs and service providers must look to workflow and automation capabilities to adapt to growing ...
Software Defined Storage provides many benefits for customers including agility, flexibility, faster adoption of new technology and cost effectiveness. However, for IT organizations it can be challenging and complex to build your Enterprise Grade Storage from software. In his session at Cloud Expo, Paul Turner, CMO at Cloudian, looked at the new Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) market and how it is changing the storage world. Now Software Defined Storage companies can build Enterprise grade ...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., showed what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. ...
Hadoop as a Service (as offered by handful of niche vendors now) is a cloud computing solution that makes medium and large-scale data processing accessible, easy, fast and inexpensive. In his session at Big Data Expo, Kumar Ramamurthy, Vice President and Chief Technologist, EIM & Big Data, at Virtusa, will discuss how this is achieved by eliminating the operational challenges of running Hadoop, so one can focus on business growth. The fragmented Hadoop distribution world and various PaaS soluti...
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what th...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly in the process of breaking from its heretofore relatively obscure enterprise applications (such as plant floor control and supply chain management) and going mainstream into the consumer space. More and more creative folks are interconnecting everyday products such as household items, mobile devices, appliances and cars, and unleashing new and imaginative scenarios. We are seeing a lot of excitement around applications in home automation, personal fitness,...
Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are increasing at an unprecedented rate. The threat landscape of today is drastically different than just a few years ago. Attacks are much more organized and sophisticated. They are harder to detect and even harder to anticipate. In the foreseeable future it's going to get a whole lot harder. Everything you know today will change. Keeping up with this changing landscape is already a daunting task. Your organization needs to use the latest tools, methods and ex...
In his session at DevOps Summit, Tapabrata Pal, Director of Enterprise Architecture at Capital One, will tell a story about how Capital One has embraced Agile and DevOps Security practices across the Enterprise – driven by Enterprise Architecture; bringing in Development, Operations and Information Security organizations together. Capital Ones DevOpsSec practice is based upon three "pillars" – Shift-Left, Automate Everything, Dashboard Everything. Within about three years, from 100% waterfall, C...
Disruptive macro trends in technology are impacting and dramatically changing the "art of the possible" relative to supply chain management practices through the innovative use of IoT, cloud, machine learning and Big Data to enable connected ecosystems of engagement. Enterprise informatics can now move beyond point solutions that merely monitor the past and implement integrated enterprise fabrics that enable end-to-end supply chain visibility to improve customer service delivery and optimize sup...
Dale Kim is the Director of Industry Solutions at MapR. His background includes a variety of technical and management roles at information technology companies. While his experience includes work with relational databases, much of his career pertains to non-relational data in the areas of search, content management, and NoSQL, and includes senior roles in technical marketing, sales engineering, and support engineering. Dale holds an MBA from Santa Clara University, and a BA in Computer Science f...
Even as cloud and managed services grow increasingly central to business strategy and performance, challenges remain. The biggest sticking point for companies seeking to capitalize on the cloud is data security. Keeping data safe is an issue in any computing environment, and it has been a focus since the earliest days of the cloud revolution. Understandably so: a lot can go wrong when you allow valuable information to live outside the firewall. Recent revelations about government snooping, along...
The cloud is now a fact of life but generating recurring revenues that are driven by solutions and services on a consumption model have been hard to implement, until now. In their session at 16th Cloud Expo, Ermanno Bonifazi, CEO & Founder of Solgenia, and Ian Khan, Global Strategic Positioning & Brand Manager at Solgenia, will discuss how a top European telco has leveraged the innovative recurring revenue generating capability of the consumption cloud to enable a unique cloud monetization mod...
FedRAMP is mandatory for government cloud deployments and businesses need to comply in order to provide services for federal engagements. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Abel Sussman, Director for Coalfire Public Sector practice, will review the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) process and provide advice on overcoming common compliance obstacles.
As organizations shift toward IT-as-a-service models, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and now cloud environments grows with it. CommVault can ensure protection &E-Discovery of your data – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud, or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enterprise. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Randy De Meno, Chief Technologist - Windows Products and Microsoft Partnerships, will disc...
Are your applications getting in the way of your business strategy? It’s time to rethink your IT approach. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Madhukar Kumar, Vice President, Product Management at Liaison Technologies, will discuss a new data-centric approach to IT that allows your data, not applications, to inform business strategy. By moving away from an application-centric IT model where data integration and analysis are subservient to the constraints of applications, your organization will b...
Docker is an excellent platform for organizations interested in running microservices. It offers portability and consistency between development and production environments, quick provisioning times, and a simple way to isolate services. In his session at DevOps Summit at 16th Cloud Expo, Shannon Williams, co-founder of Rancher Labs, will walk through these and other benefits of using Docker to run microservices, and provide an overview of RancherOS, a minimalist distribution of Linux designed...
Cloud data governance was previously an avoided function when cloud deployments were relatively small. With the rapid adoption in public cloud – both rogue and sanctioned, it’s not uncommon to find regulated data dumped into public cloud and unprotected. This is why enterprises and cloud providers alike need to embrace a cloud data governance function and map policies, processes and technology controls accordingly. In her session at 15th Cloud Expo, Evelyn de Souza, Data Privacy and Compliance...