4 Reasons Why Flexibility in Choice is More Important than a Public Cloud Deployment

by December 9, 2015 0 comments

– Anantharaman Balakrishnan, Country Head, EMC Global Services India

In many ways, public cloud penetration started with Line of Business managers. Often it was this group of first-adopters that originally noticed how agile, inexpensive cloud solutions could be taken as-a-service and would deliver against their needs much more quickly than their IT department could, at that time.
The finance director who needed a simple, user-friendly way of pulling together reports at year-end; or the marketing manager in urgent need of some extra hosting capacity for a campaign… Whatever the circumstance or your need, the public cloud often provided a cheaper, faster and better service than IT departments could muster.
This – the birth of a public cloud era – was an important stage in the overall cloud story, but one from which we have moved on. A recent survey by EMC found that organizations are increasingly moving to the cloud, with 76% now agreeing that combining public and private cloud can improve security and agility. Businesses are demanding more than ever from IT. They want choice in devices, rapid creation and deployment of new services, and flexibility as to where applications live, how they are managed and by whom. Against this backdrop, they want to do more with less, lower their costs and have the ability to scale instantaneously. To meet these expectations IT organizations must deliver IT as a Service (ITaaS) via a well-run Hybrid Cloud that brings together the performance, security, and control of private cloud with the flexibility and cost advantages of public cloud.
Both technology and the role of the IT department have now evolved. Public cloud services still have a huge amount to offer, but they are by no means automatically the best option for business in every case. Yet some LoB managers continue to think it is. The fact is that when it comes to the cloud, LoB managers no longer need to face an either/or choice between public or private cloud alternatives. Today, managers can use both: the hybrid cloud delivers true agility that means that the business can access the right kind of service that delivers on specific requirements each and every time.
Cloud Offers Varied Choice
The beauty of cloud computing today is that we live in an ‘and’ world. The days of or’, where you had to choose one type of cloud over another, are shrinking into the past, happily mitigating certain risks that had started to become evident to those enterprises which had jumped into public-cloud-only services with both feet. Those risks? The following have emerged as key considerations for LoB managers in recent times:
• Agility – The ability of public cloud to provision infrastructure and applications at pace cannot be doubted. But fast provisioning does not always represent true agility – particularly at the point where early-stage experimentation gives way to putting an application into full production. Public cloud providers can provision quickly because they use a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach – and while this may be fine in some cases, in others it can lead to delays further down the line as a service proves to be inadequately suited to the in-production requirement. True agility comes from understanding the business requirement and then delivering the best solution against it. As knowledgeable consultants to your LoB, the in-house IT department should be the natural first port of call in these discussions.
• Cost – The public cloud is cheap… right? In fact, standalone public cloud services can prove to be more expensive than running IT from hybrid or on-premises infrastructure, especially when it comes to moving data around or extracting it. And don’t just take our word for it – marketing software company Moz is on record as saying it switched from Amazon Web Services to its own private cloud due to cost and saved $3.4m. Not only is Moz saving money, but they have also reported increased reliability and efficiency1.
• Performance, reliability and standards-based IT – Let’s face it, regardless of what LoB you work in, these are three of the most important long-term qualities that you will need from an IT resource. The dedicated focus of an in-house IT department will answer these needs more effectively than any generic public cloud service provider. This is because the IT department knows exactly what you need, right down to the workload level, and can therefore help architect a solution – or broker one from a public cloud provider – that exactly meets the business requirement, using the most appropriate technology (whether that is a public cloud or private). That’s why we advocate a hybrid, best-of-both-worlds approach. Every workload has its place and it is increasingly the job of the IT department to make the appropriate match.
• Simplicity – One of the public cloud’s primary strengths is that it is so simple. Simple to have provisioned and simple to consume. However, because of the need for due diligence around security, privacy, regulatory compliance, resilience and business continuity, at times the public cloud can add complexity. Many LoB managers do not have the time, resources or expertise to undertake this due diligence effectively, potentially leaving themselves open to issues further down the line. The IT department is experienced in accounting for these requirements, and can ensure these considerations are properly and quickly addressed before rolling-out a new application or service. Opting out of the checks and balances is not an option, though. The consequences of a security breach or failed compliance investigation will be extreme both for the organisation and the individuals involved. By working with the IT department with a clear governance approach in place, these pitfalls can be avoided.
The new generation of businesses especially the ones ‘born of the cloud’ are driving this change in expectations, thereby making it critical for businesses to redefine themselves in order to adapt and remain relevant. In a recent survey done by EMC, 76% of businesses in India think that SMAC has changed consumer expectations, so it becomes critical that they systematically explore the longer-term implications of an age in which information is at the center of everything we do.
Public cloud has a strong role to play in the future of IT but it is important that managers see it for what it is: not a panacea, but a key part of an optimal, hybrid IT infrastructure which, crucially, must be managed by experienced brokers in the in-house IT department. This hybrid approach fosters agility, the best TCO and the ability to manage important workloads on-premises as required based on performance, cost, security and compliance considerations. It is, in short, the best of both worlds, delivering agility and flexibility but on a foundation of security, control and bespoke tailoring to the business’ specific needs.

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