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Cloud Computing: Out of the Boardroom into the Cloud

Incorporating cloud infrastructure into overall IT strategy

Cloud computing is taking IT by storm. Companies and departments that have ventured into the cloud have already started enjoying the benefits of reduced costs, and the ability to cost-effectively scale their infrastructure based on demand.

While these early adapters are adjusting to life in the cloud, other companies are still contemplating the shift and working to overcome resistance and speculation from upper-level management. As a result, cloud computing is stuck as a concept in boardroom discussions and has yet to become an IT reality.

The key to making the transition is to prove out cloud services in a way that doesn't pose a major risk to business operations and delivers immediate benefits. Many organizations are looking for a way to test out cloud services before jumping in head first. A good place to start is with low-risk adoption paths such as development and QA, IT ops testing, training, and demo lab environments. These distinct scenarios allow companies to monitor performance before switching over operations entirely.

IT managers who are looking to implement cloud computing into their environment can use the following 10 key efficiencies to justify their cloud initiatives.

Eliminate Infrastructure Constraints on Business
Oftentimes the lead time and cost of provisioning infrastructure impacts an organization's ability to deliver on business needs. This can happen when IT teams don't have sufficient lab resources for testing and they are forced delay schedules or cover a fraction of the key test cases. In this case, the availability of an on-demand virtual infrastructure could prevent a poor business outcome by removing infrastructure constraints on the IT organization. Cloud services enable infrastructure to be added to meet business demand as needed and costs less because it is provided using utility billing model.

Run Applications Unchanged in the Cloud
Some cloud platforms require applications to be rewritten to take advantage of proprietary application frameworks or storage services, making it challenging to use them to replace or augment existing IT lab environments. Companies considering the switch should look for a virtual infrastructure that allows them to achieve "cloud economics" with their existing application architectures and investments. This will enable companies to use a cloud service as an extension of their outside IT environment, and run existing applications, virtual machines and systems unchanged in the cloud.

More Stories By Steve Brodie

Steve Brodie is Skytap's chief product and marketing officer with responsibility for Skytap's product strategy and marketing. He joined Skytap from Hewlett Packard / Mercury Interactive where he was senior director of products for the Mercury Performance Testing product line. Steve received a BS in computer & systems engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

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