Interoperability, Cap Ex and Cloud Computing

At a time when organizations are coming under increased pressure to cut operational costs—especially when it comes to technology budgets—cloud computing offers companies interoperability and robust technology environment which in turn can improve cost savings. Because cloud solutions, apps and platforms are Internet-based and share compute resources, delivering software and information to computers on demand lessens the financial burden traditional IT ecosystems place on the enterprise.

A global IT research firm recently completed their second global research project on IT outsourcing practice and attitudes. The researchers polled IT and business decision makers in the U.S., U.K. and Singapore and discovered that more than two-thirds of business decision makers say upgrading infrastructure with a lighter budget is the main challenge facing them this year. Additionally, more than three quarters of decision makers regard cost savings as their main strategic priority for the fiscal year.

The pressure is not lost on IT managers either, with nearly half of respondents citing discovering a more cost-effective IT infrastructure as their main priority. Effective managing and prioritizing IT demand come next, followed by delivering faster data access across their organizations.

Reducing Your In-House IT Burden
Currently, public sector IT managers claim that only 7 percent of their infrastructure is outsourced, despite highlighting the need to reduce IT infrastructure costs as their key concern. Comparing this to the private sector, the figure changes significantly. In the private sector, IT managers say almost 20% percent of their infrastructure is outsourced.

Owning and operating your own IT infrastructure has previously been viewed as something that differentiated large from medium businesses, as it could allow for greater business flexibility of service design-once hardware and equipment was provisioned with enough capacity- and afford greater flexibility. This is changing with the availability of high-powered virtual servers and virtualization technologies, in addition to the increased standardization of platforms and ability of service providers to deliver leading-edge cloud services.

Only an exceptionally efficient enterprise can justify building and operating an IT infrastructure after a full audit of costs and impacts is taken—in both monetary and environmental terms. The ROI of maintaining infrastructure in-house rarely materializes, as replacement of machines outpaces cost efficiencies.

The Changing IT Environment
IT is heading down a path where a large-scale shift toward outsourced systems is occurring, and expected to increase into 2011 and 2012. Within the next 10 years, public sector respondents expect to have 64 percent of their organizational infrastructure under third-party management—approaching the assumed private sector level of nearly 67 percent.

The Adoption of Cloud Solutions
A large portion of this shift will result in applications moving to cloud environments where shared resources are provided to computers and other devices on demand. Currently, 59 percent of government and public sector IT teams are using or expect to use cloud for enterprise applications within five years, with the overwhelming majority expecting significant savings by switching to cloud-based infrastructure.

The primary differences between the cloud platforms are in the levels of service delivered. Both public clouds (in which resources are available for purchase by any organization) and private clouds (in which an organization shares a pool of resources amongst its divisions and partners) offer the same capabilities when it comes to rapid deployment, interoperability and scalability.

Although private clouds allow for simplified compliance auditing when the highest levels of security are required, only the modern generation of enterprise cloud services are able to offer the full range of security, application stack choice and service-level capabilities required for critical compute services.

Cloud computing offers the opportunity to do more by buying less, so the choice between cuts or the cloud is a no longer an issue. IT teams and service managers need vision and the courage to drive the required changes by working differently.

Decision makers in public entities currently lag behind their private sector counterparts in their cloud adoption ratios, and this proves to be a key barrier to a more over-arching support of cloud platforms. Currently only 8 percent of public service managers claim they understand what cloud computing is and what benefits in can offer. This shows a clear need for more dialogue between the IT teams and the wider organizations on what is now possible with cloud computing.

On the other hand, service managers do see the potential for development of new ways of working based on more flexible IT infrastructure. In fact, two-thirds of respondents agree they could change the way they plan for IT enhancements if they could reduce or reduce the cost of IT infrastructure.

This vision must apply to the regulatory environment, with virtualization being rapidly accredited for government use as an approved technology. It is important to learn from high security environments in the commercial world, in which virtualization is already accredited.

In order to benefit from the corresponding economic efficiencies, efforts must be accelerated as quickly as possible. Resources will be freed to deliver the services organizations need in a flexible, scalable and more sustainable way.

For more information about how we can implement a interoperable and cost effective cloud solution please visit nubifer.com.

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