Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Anders Wallgren, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: 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
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
How will your company move to the cloud while ensuring a solid security posture? Organizations from small to large are increasingly adopting cloud solutions to deliver essential business services at a much lower cost. According to cyber security experts, the frequency and severity of cyber-attacks are on the rise, causing alarm to businesses and customers across a variety of industries. To defend against exploits like these, a company must adopt a comprehensive security defense strategy that is ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 18th International CloudExpo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
Customer experience has become a competitive differentiator for companies, and it’s imperative that brands seamlessly connect the customer journey across all platforms. With the continued explosion of IoT, join us for a look at how to build a winning digital foundation in the connected era – today and in the future. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Nguyen, Group Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how to successfully leverage mobile, rapidly deploy content, capture real-time d...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EastBanc Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EastBanc Technologies has been working at the frontier of technology since 1999. Today, the firm provides full-lifecycle software development delivering flexible technology solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing systems – whether on premise or cloud. EastBanc Technologies partners with p...
SYS-CON Events announced today that AppNeta, the leader in performance insight for business-critical web applications, will exhibit and present at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. AppNeta is the only application performance monitoring (APM) company to provide solutions for all applications – applications you develop internally, business-critical SaaS applications you use and the networks that deli...
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Isomorphic Software will exhibit at SYS-CON's [email protected] at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Isomorphic Software provides the SmartClient HTML5/AJAX platform, the most advanced technology for building rich, high-productivity enterprise web applications for any device. SmartClient couples the industry’s broadest, deepest UI component set with a java server framework to deliver an end-...
As machines are increasingly connected to the internet, it’s becoming easier to discover the numerous ways Industrial IoT (IIoT) is helping to shape the business world. This is exactly why we have decided to take a closer look at this pervasive movement and to examine the desire to connect more things! Now if you need a refresher on IIoT and how it is changing the world, take a moment and listen to Greg Gorbach with ARC Advisory Group. Gorbach believes, "IIoT will significantly change the worl...
The cloud era has reached the stage where it is no longer a question of whether a company should migrate, but when. Enterprises have embraced the outsourcing of where their various applications are stored and who manages them, saving significant investment along the way. Plus, the cloud has become a defining competitive edge. Companies that fail to successfully adapt risk failure. The media, of course, continues to extol the virtues of the cloud, including how easy it is to get there. Migrating...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discuss how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. We'll cite examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He'll also highlight how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? How do you coordinate the diverse moving parts that must come together when developing your IoT product? What are the key challenges addressed by Data as a Service? How does cloud computing underlie and connect the notions of Digital and DevOps What is the impact of the API economy? What is the business imperative for Cognitive Computing? Get all these questions and hundreds more like them answered at the 18th Cloud Expo...
SYS-CON Events announced today the Docker Meets Kubernetes – Intro into the Kubernetes World, being held June 9, 2016, in conjunction with 18th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Register for 'Docker Meets Kubernetes Workshop' Here! This workshop led by Sebastian Scheele, co-founder of Loodse, introduces participants to Kubernetes (container orchestration). Through a combination of instructor-led presentations, demonstrations, and hands-on labs, participants learn ...
As organizations shift towards 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, access and 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 general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Randy De Meno, Chief Technologist - Windows Products and Microsoft Part...
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, will explore the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences betwee...
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Cole, Director of Solutions Engineering at Peak 10, will discuss how the newest technology advances are reducing the cost and complexity of traditional business continuity and disaster recovery solutions. Attendees will: Learn why having a full disaster recovery strategy is more important now than ever before Explore the key drivers of a successful disaster recovery solution Achieve measurable operational and business value from a disaster recovery ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hanu Software will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Leveraging best-in-class people, processes, and technologies, Hanu provides high-quality, high-value software development and business process outsourcing services to independent software vendors (ISVs) and enterprises.