Posts Tagged ‘ Hybrid Cloud and On-Premise ’

Emerging Trends in Cloud Computing

Due to its reputation as a game-changing technology set, Cloud Computing is a hot topic when discussing emerging technology trends. Cloud Computing is defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) “as a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”

IT optimization has largely been the reason for the early adoption of Cloud Computing in “Global 2000” enterprises, with the early drivers being cost savings and faster infrastructure provisioning. A December 2009 Forrester Report indicated that over 70% of IT budget is spent on maintaining current IT infrastructure rather than adding new capabilities. Because of this, organizations are seeking to adopt a Cloud Computing model for their enterprise applications in order to better utilize the infrastructure investments.

Several such organizations currently have data center consolidation and virtualization initiatives underway and look to Cloud Computing as a natural progression of those initiatives. Enterprise private cloud solutions add capabilities such as self-service, automation and charge back over the virtualized infrastructure and thus make infrastructure provisioning quicker, helping to improve the over-all utilizations. Additionally, some of these organizations have been beginning to try public cloud solutions as a new infrastructure sourcing option.

IT spending of “Global 2000” enterprises makes up less than 5% of their revenues, thus optimizing IT isn’t going to impact their top or bottom line. In the current economic state, IT optimization is a good reason for these large enterprises to begin looking at Cloud Computing. So what is the true “disruptive” potential of Cloud Computing? It lies in the way it is going to aid these large enterprises in reinventing themselves and their business models in order to rise to the challenge of an evolving business landscape.

Social Networking Clouds and e-Commerce

Worldwide e-Commerce transactions will be worth over $16 trillion by 2013, and by 2012 over 50% of all adult Internet users in the U.S. will be using social networks. Currently, 49% of web users make a purchase based on a recommendation gleaned from social media. This increased adoption of social media makes it easier for consumers to remain connected and get options on products and services. Basically, the consumer has already made up their mind about a produce before even getting to the website or store. This is causing major changes in consumer marketing and the B2C business models. The relationship used to be between the enterprise and the consumer, but it is now changed to a deeper relationship that encompasses the consumer’s community.

Large enterprises can’t afford to have “websites” or “brick-and-mortar stores” any longer if they want to remain relevant and ensure customer loyalty—they need to provide online cloud hosted platforms that engage the consumers constantly along with their social community. That way, they incorporate the enterprise business services in their day-to-day life. When the Gen Y consumers reach the market, for example, “community driven” social commerce just may replace traditional “website based” e-commerce. Enterprises need to begin building such next-generation industry specific service platforms for the domain they operate it in anticipation of this.

Computing’s Pervasiveness

One half of the world population—roughly 3.3 billion—have active mobile devices, and the increased use of these hand held devices is altering the expectations of consumers when it comes to the availability of services. Consumers expect that the products and services should be available to them whenever they need the service, wherever they are, through innovative applications, the kinds of applications that can be better delivered through the cloud model.

The number of smart devices is expected to reach one trillion by 2011, due to increasing adoption of technologies like wireless sensors, wearable computing, RFIDs and more. This will lead to significant changes in the way consumers use technology, as future consumers will be used to (and be expecting) more intelligent products and services such as intelligent buildings that conserve energy and intelligent transportation systems that can make decisions based on real-time traffic information. An entirely new set of innovative products and services based on such pervasive computing will need to be created for the future generation.

Service providers will look to increase customer loyalty by providing more offerings, better services and maintaining deeper relationships as products and services become commoditized. Several industry leaders are increasingly adopting open innovation models, there by creating business clouds supported by an ecosystem of partners, in order to increase the portfolio of offerings and innovate faster. A new generation of applications must be created as Cloud Computing becomes more pervasive with the increased adoption of smart devices.

To gain a competitive edge, reduce CAPEX on infrastructure and maintenance, and take advantage of powerful SaaS technologies offered in the Cloud, Companies need to build their next generation business cloud platforms in order to better manage the scale of information.

To learn more about Cloud Computing and how companies can adopt and interoperate with the cloud, Visit Nubifer.com

Understanding the Cloud with Nubifer Inc. CTO, Henry Chan

The overwhelming majority of cloud computing platforms consist of dependable services relayed via data centers and built in servers with varying tiers of virtualization capabilities. These services are available anywhere that allows access to the networking platform. Clouds often appear as single arenas of access for all subscribers’ enterprise computing needs. All commercial cloud platform offerings are guaranteed to adhere to the customers’ quality of service (QoS) requirements, and typically offer service level agreements.  Open standards are crucial to the expansion and acceptance of cloud computing, and open source software has layed the ground work for many cloud platform implementations.

The article to follow is what Nubifer Inc. CTO, Henry Chan, recently described to be his summarized view of what cloud computing means, its benefits and where it’s heading in the future:

Cloud computing explained:

The “cloud” in cloud computing refers to your network’s Internet connection. Cloud computing is essentially using the Internet to perform tasks like email hosting, data storage and document sharing which were traditionally hosted on premise.

Understanding the benefits of cloud computing:

Cloud computing’s myriad of benefits depend on your organizational infrastructure needs. If your enterprise is sharing large number of applications between a varying number of office locations, it would be beneficial to your organization to store the apps on a virtual server. Web-based application hosting can save time for people traveling without the ability to connect back to the office because they can have access to everything over their shared virtual private network (VPN).

Examples of cloud computing:

Hosted email (such as GMail or Hotmail), online data back-up, online data storage, any Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application (such as a cloud hosted CRM from vendors like Salesforce, Zoho or Microsoft Dynamics) or accounting applications, are examples of applications that can be hosted in the cloud. By hosting these applications in the cloud, your business can benefit from the interoperability and scalability cloud computing and SaaS services offer.

Safety in the cloud:

Although there are some concerns over the safety of cloud computing, the reality is that data stored in the cloud can be just as secure as the vast majority of data stored on your internal servers. The key is to implement the necessary solutions to ensure that the proper level of encryption is applied to your data while traveling to and from your cloud storage container, as well as when being stored. This can be as safe as any other solution you could implement locally when designed properly. The leading cloud vendors all currently maintain compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley, SAS90, FISMA and HIPPA.

Cloud computing for your enterprise:

To determine which layer of cloud computing is optimally suited for your organization, it is important to thoroughly evaluate your organizational goals as it relates to your IT ecosystem. Examine how you currently use technology, current challenges with technology, how your organization will evolve technologically in the years to come, and what scalability and interoperability will be required going forward. After a careful gap analysis of these determinants, you can decide what types of cloud-based solutions will be optimally suited for your organizational architecture.

Cloud computing, a hybrid solution:

The overwhelming trend in 2010 and 2011 is to move non-sensitive data and applications into the cloud while keeping trade secrets behind your enterprise firewall, as many organizations are not comfortable hosting all their applications and hardware in the cloud. The trick to making cloud computing work for your business is to understand which applications should be kept local and which would benefit most from leveraging the scalability and interoperability of the cloud ecosystem.

Will data be shared with other companies if it is hosted in the cloud:

Short answer: NO! Reputable SaaS and cloud vendors will make sure that your data is properly segmented according to the requirements of your industry.

Costs of cloud computing:

Leading cloud-based solutions charge a monthly fee for application usage and data storage, but you may be outlaying this capital expenditure already, primarily in the form of hardware maintenance and software fees—some of which could be wiped out by moving to the cloud.

Cloud computing makes it easy for your companies’ Human Resource software, payroll and CRM to co-mingle with your existing financial data, supply chain management and operations installation, while simultaneously reducing your capital requirements on these systems. Contact a Nubifer representative today to discover how leveraging the power of cloud computing can help your business excel.

Confidence in Cloud Computing Expected to Surge Economic Growth

The dynamic and flexible nature of cloud computing, software-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service may help organizations in their recovery from the current economic downturn, according to more than two thirds of IT decision leaders and makers who participated in a recent annual study by Vanson Bourne, an International Research Firm. Vanson Bourne surveyed over 600 IT and business decision makers across the United States, United Kingdom and Singapore. Of the countries sampled, Singapore is leading the shift to the cloud, with 76 percent of responding enterprises using some form of cloud computing. The U.S. follows with 66 percent, with the U.K. at 57 percent.

This two year study about Cloud Computing reveals that IT decision makers are very confident in cloud computing’s ability to deliver within budget and offer CapEx savings. Commercial and public sector respondents also predict cloud use will help decrease overall IT budgets by an average of 15 Percent, with others expecting savings as much as 40 Percent.

“Scalability, interoperability and pay-as-you-go elasticity are moving many of our clients toward cloud computing,” said Chad Collins, CEO at Nubifer Inc., a strategic Cloud and SaaS consulting firm. “However, it’s important, primarily for our enterprise clients, to work with a Cloud provider that not only delivers cost savings, but also effectively integrates technologies, applications and infrastructure on a global scale.”

A lack of access to IT capacity is clearly labeled as an obstacle to business progress, with 76 percent of business decision makers reporting they have been prevented from developing or piloting projects due to the cost or constraints within IT. For 55 percent of respondents, this remains an issue.

Confidence in cloud continues to trend upward — 96 percent of IT decision makers are as confident or more confident in cloud computing being enterprise ready now than they were in 2009. In addition, 70 percent of IT decision makers are using or plan to be using an enterprise-grade cloud solution within the next two years.

The ability to scale resources up and down in order to manage fluctuating business demand was the most cited benefit influencing cloud adoption in the U.S. (30 percent) and Singapore (42 percent). The top factor driving U.K. adoption is lower cost of total ownership (41 percent).

Security concerns remain a key barrier to cloud adoption, with 52 percent of respondents who do not leverage a cloud solution citing security of sensitive data as a concern. Yet 73 percent of all respondents want cloud providers to fully manage security or to fully manage security while allowing configuration change requests from the client.

Seventy-nine percent of IT decision makers see cloud as a straight forward way to integrate with corporate systems. For more information on how to leverage a cloud solution inside your environment, contact a Nubifer.com representative today.

Four Key Categories for Cloud Computing

When it comes to cloud computing, concerns about control and security have dominated recent discussions. While it was once assumed that all computing resources could be had from outside, now it is going towards a vision of a data center magically transformed for easy connections to internal and external IT resources.

According to IDC’s Cloud Services Overview report, sales of cloud-related technology is growing at 26 percent per year. That is six times the rate of IT spending as a whole; although they comprised only about 5 percent of total IT revenue this year. While the report points out that defining what constitutes cloud-related spending is complicated, it estimates global spending of $17.5 billion on cloud technologies in 2009 will grow to $44.2 billion by 2013. IDC predicts that hybrid or internal clouds will be the norm, although even in 2013 only an estimated 10 percent of that spending will go specifically to public clouds.

According to Chris Wolf, analyst at The Burton Group, hybrid cloud infrastructure isn’t that different from existing data-center best practices. The difference is that all of the pieces are meant to fit together using Internet-age interoperability standards as opposed to homegrown kludge.

The following are four items to consider when making a “shopping list” when preparing your IT budget for use of private or public cloud services:

1.       Application Integration

Software integration isn’t the first thing most companies consider when building a cloud, although Bernard Golden, CEO at cloud consulting firm HyperStratus, and CIO.com blogger, says it is the most important one.

Tom Fisher, vice president of cloud computing at SuccessFactors.com, a business-application SaaS provider in San Mateo, California, says that integration is a whole lot more than simply batch-processing chunks of data being traded between applications once or twice per day like it was done in mainframes.

Fisher continues to explain that it is critical for companies to be able to provision and manage user identities from a single location across a range of applications, especially when it comes to companies that are new in the software-providing business and do not view their IT as a primary product.

“What you’re looking for is to take your schema and map it to PeopleSoft or another application so you can get more functional integration. You’re passing messages back and forth to each other with proper error-handling agreement so you can be more responsive. It’s still not real time integration, but in most cases you don’t really need that,” says Fisher.

2.       Security

The ability to federate—securely connect without completely merging—two networks, is a critical factor in building a useful cloud, according to Golden.

According to Nick Popp, VP of product development at Verisign (VRSN), that requires layers of security, including multifactor authentication, identity brokers, access management and sometimes an external service provider who can provide that high a level of administrative control. Verisign is considering adding a cloud-based security service.

Wolf states that it requires technology that doesn’t yet exist. According to Wolf, an Information Authority that can act as a central repository for security data and control of applications, data and platforms within the cloud. It is possible to assemble that function out of some of the aspects Popp mentions today, yet Wolf maintains that there is no one technology able to span all platforms necessary to provide real control of even an internally hosted cloud environment.

3.       Virtual I/O

One IT manager at a large digital mapping firm states that if you have to squeeze data for a dozen VMs through a few NICs, the scaling of your VM cluster to cloud proportions will be inhibited.

“When you’re in the dev/test stage, having eight or 10 [Gigabit Ethernet] cables per box is an incredible labeling issue; beyond that, forget it. Moving to virtual I/O is a concept shift—you can’t touch most of the connections anymore—but you’re moving stuff across a high-bandwidth backplane and you can reconfigure the SAN connections or the LANs without having to change cables,” says the IT manager.

Virtual I/O servers (like the Xsigo I/O Director servers used by the IT manager’s company) can run 20Gbit/sec through a single cord and as many as 64 cords to a single server—connecting to a backplane with a total of 1,560Gbit/sec of bandwidth. The IT Manager states that concentrating such a large amount of bandwidth in one device saves space, power and cabling and keeps network performance high and saves money on network gear in the long run.

Speaking about the Xsigo servers, which start at approximately $28,000 through resellers like Dell (DELL), the manager says, “It becomes cost effective pretty quickly. You end up getting three, four times the bandwidth at a quarter the price.”

4.       Storage

Storage remains the weak point of the virtualization and cloud-computing worlds, and the place where the most money is spent.

“Storage is going to continue to be one of the big costs of virtualization. Even if you turn 90 percent of your servers into images, you still have to store them somewhere,” says Golden in summary. Visit Nubifer.com for more information.

The Future of Enterprise Software in the Cloud

Although there is currently a lot of discussion regarding the impact that cloud computing and Software-as-a-Service will have on enterprise software, it comes mainly from a financial standpoint. It is now time to begin understanding how enterprise software as we know it will evolve across a federated set of private and public cloud services.

The strategic direction being taken by Epicor is a prime example of the direction that enterprise software is taking. A provider of ERP software for the mid-market, Epicor is taking a sophisticated approach by allowing customers to host some components on the Epicor suite on premise rather than focusing on hosting software in the cloud. Other components are delivered as a service.

Epicor is a Microsoft software partner that subscribes to the Software Plus Services mantra and as such is moving to offer some elements of its software, like the Web server and SQL server components, as an optional service. Customers would be able to invoke this on the Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform.

Basically, Epicor is going to let customers deploy software components where they make the most sense, based on the needs of customers on an individual basis. This is in contrast to proclaiming that one model of software delivery is better than another model.

Eventually, every customer is going to require a mixed environment, even those that prefer on-premise software, because they will discover that hosting some applications locally and in the cloud simultaneously will allow them to run a global operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week more easily.

Much of the argument over how software is delivered in the enterprise will melt away as customers begin to view the cloud as merely an extension of their internal IT operations. To learn more on how the future of Software in the Cloud can aide your enterprise, schedule a discussion time with a Nubifer Consultant today.

App Engine and VMware Plans Show Google’s Enterprise Focus

Google opened its Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco on May 19 with the announcement of its new version of the Google App Engine, Google App Engine for Business. This was a strategic announcement, as it shows Google is focused on demonstrating its enterprise chops. Google also highlighted its partnership with VMware to bring enterprise Java developers to the cloud.

Vic Gundotra, vice president of engineering at Google said via a blog post: “… we’re announcing Google App Engine for Business, which offers new features that enable companies to build internal applications on the same reliable, scalable and secure infrastructure that we at Google use for our own apps. For greater cloud portability, we’re also teaming up with VMware to make it easier for companies to build rich web apps and deploy them to the cloud of their choice or on-premise. In just one click, users of the new versions of SpringSource Tool Suite and Google Web Toolkit can deploy their application to Google App Engine for Business, a VMware environment or other infrastructure, such as Amazon EC2.”

Enterprise organizations can build and maintain their own applications on the same scalable infrastructure that powers Google Applications with Google App Engine for Business. Additionally,  Google App Engine for Business has added management and support features that are tailored for each unique enterprise. New capabilities with this platform include: the ability to manage all the apps in an organization in one place; premium developer support; simply pricing based on users and applications; a 99.9 percent uptime service-level agreement (SLA); access to premium features such as cloud-based SQL and SSL (coming later this year).

Kevin Gibbs, technical lead and manager of the Google App Engine project said during the May 18 Google I/O keynote that “managing all the apps at your company” is a prevalent issue for enterprise Web developers. Google sought to address this concern through its Google App Engine hosting platform but discovered it needed to shore it up to support enterprises. Said Gibbs, “Google App Engine for Business is built from the ground up around solving the problems that enterprises face.”

Product management director for developer technology at Google Eric Tholome told eWEEK that Google App Engine for Business allows developers to use standards-based technology (like Java, the Eclipse IDE, Google Web Toolkit GWT and Python) to create applications that run on the platform. Google App Engine for Business also delivers dynamic scaling, flat-rate pricing and consistent availability to users.

Gibbs revealed that Google will be doling out the features in Google App Engine for Business throughout the rest of 2010, with Google’s May 19 announcement acting as a preview of the platform. The platform includes an Enterprise Administration Console, a company-based console which allows users to see, manage and set security policies for all applications in their domain. The company’s road map states that features like support, the SLA, billing, hosted SQL and custom domain SSL will come at a later date.

Gibbs said that pricing for Google App Engine for Business will be $8 per month per user for each application with the maximum being $1,000 per application per month.

Google also announced a series of technology collaboration with VMware. The goal of these is to deliver solutions that make enterprise software developers more efficient at building, deploying and managing applications within all types of cloud environments.

President and CEO of VMware Paul Maritz said, “Companies are actively looking to move toward cloud computing. They are certainly attracted by the economic advantages associated with cloud, but increasingly are focused on the business agility and innovation promised by cloud computing. VMware and Google are aligning to reassure our mutual important to both companies. We will work to ensure that modern applications can run smoothly within the firewalls of a company’s data center or out in the public cloud environment.”

Google is essentially trying to pick up speed in the enterprise, with Java developers using the popular Spring Framework (stemming from VMware’s SpringSource division). Recently, VMware did a similar partnership with Salesforce.com.

Maritz continued to say to the audience at Google I/O, “More than half of the new lines of Java code written are written in the context of Spring. We’re providing the back-end to add to what Google provides on the front end. We have integrated the Spring Framework with Google Web Toolkit to offer an end-to-end environment.”

Google and VMware are teaming up in multiple ways to make cloud applications more productive, portable and flexible. These collaborations will enable Java developers to build rich Web applications, use Google and VMware performance tools on cloud apps and subsequently deploy Spring Java applications on Google App Engine.

Google’s Gundotra explained, “Developers are looking for faster ways to build and run great Web applications, and businesses want platforms that are open and flexible. By working with VMware to bring cloud portability to the enterprise, we are making it easy for developers to deploy rich Java applications in the environments of their choice.”

Google’s support for Spring Java apps on Google App Engine are part of a shared vision to make building, running and managing applications for the cloud easier and in a way that renders the applications portable across clouds. Developers can build SpringSource Tool Suite using the Eclipse-based SpringSource and have the flexibility to choose to deploy their applications in their current private VMware vSphere environment, in VMware vCloud partner clouds or directly to Google App Engine.

Google and VMware are also collaborating to combine the speed of development of Spring Roo–a next-generation rapid application development tool–with the power of the Google Web Toolkit to create rich browser apps. These GWT-powered applications can create a compelling end-user experience on computers and smartphones by leveraging modern browser technologies like HTML5 and AJAX.

With the goal of enabling end-to-end performance visibility of cloud applications built using Spring and Google Web Toolkit, the companies are collaborating to more tightly integrate VMware’s Spring Insight performance tracing technology within the SpringSource tc Server application server with Google’s Speed Tracer technology.

Speaking about the Google/VMware partnership, vice president at Nucleus Research Rebecca Wettemann told eWEEK, “In short, this is a necessary step for Google to stay relevant in the enterprise cloud space. One concern we have heard from those who have been slow to adopt the cloud is being ‘trapped on a proprietary platform.’ This enables developers to use existing skills to build and deploy cloud apps and then take advantage of the economies of the cloud. Obviously, this is similar to Salesforce.com’s recent announcement about its partnership with VMware–we’ll be watching to see how enterprises adopt both. To date, Salesforce.com has been better at getting enterprise developers to develop business apps for its cloud platform.”

For his part, Frank Gillett, an analyst with Forrester Research, describes the Google/VMware more as “revolutionary” and the Salesforce.com/VMware partnership to create VMforce as “evolutionary.”

“Java developers now have a full Platform-as-a-Service [PaaS] place to go rather than have to provide that platform for themselves,” said Gillett of the new Google/VMware partnership. He added, however, “What’s interesting is that IBM, Oracle and SAP have not come out with their own Java cloud platforms. I think we’ll see VMware make another deal or two with other service providers. And we’ll see more enterprises application-focused offerings from Oracle, SAP and IBM.”

Google’s recent enterprise moves show that the company is set on gaining more of the enterprise market by enabling enterprise organizations to buy applications from others through the Google Apps Marketplace (and the recently announced Chrome Web Store), buy from Google with Google Apps for Business or build their own enterprise applications with Google App Engine for Business. Nubifer Inc. is leading Research and Consulting firm specializing in Cloud Computing and Software as a Service.

Transforming Into a Service-Centric IT Organization By Using the Cloud

While IT executives typically approach cloud services from the perspective of how they are being delivered, this model neglects what cloud services are and how they are consumed. These two facets can have a large impact on the overall IT organizations, points out eWeek Knowledge Center contributor Keith Jahn. Jahn maintains that it is very important for IT executives to veer away from the current delivery-only focus by creating a world-class supply chain for managing the supply and demand of cloud services.

Using the popular fable The Sky Is Falling, known lovingly as Chicken Little, Jahn explains a possible future scenario that IT organizations may face due to cloud computing. As the fable goes, Chicken Little embarks on a life-threatening journey to warn the king that the sky is falling and on this journey she gathers friends who join her on her quest. Eventually, the group encounters a sly fox who tricks them into thinking that he has a better path to help them reach the king. The tale can end one of two ways: the fox eats the gullible animals (thus communicating the lesson “Don’t believe everything you hear”) or the king’s hunting dogs can save the day (thus teaching a lesson about courage and perseverance).

So what does this have to do with cloud computing? Cloud computing has the capacity to bring on a scenario that will force IT organizations to change, or possibly be eliminated altogether. The entire technology supply chain as a whole will be severely impacted if IT organizations are wiped out. Traditionally, cloud is viewed as a technology disruption, and is assessed from a deliver orientation, posing questions like how can this new technology deliver solutions cheaper and better and faster? An equally important yet often ignored aspect of this equation is how cloud services are consumed. Cloud services are ready to run, self-sourced, available wherever you are and are pay-as-you-go or subscription based.

New capabilities will emerge as cloud services grow and mature and organizations must be able to solve new problems as they arise. Organizations will also be able to solve old problems cheaper, better and faster. New business models will be ushered in by cloud services and these new business models will force IT to reinvent itself in order to remain relevant. Essentially, IT must move away from its focus on the delivery and management of assets and move toward the creation of a world-class supply chain for managing supply and demand of business services.

Cloud services become a forcing function in this scenario because they are forcing IT to transform. CIOs that choose to ignore this and neglect to make transformative measures will likely see their role shift from innovation leader to CMO (Chief Maintenance Officer), in charge of maintaining legacy systems and services sourced by the business.

Analyzing the Cloud to Pinpoint Patterns

The cloud really began in what IT folks now refer to as the “Internet era,” when people were talking about what was being hosted “in the cloud.” This was the first generation of the cloud, Cloud 1.0 if you will—an enabler that originated in the enterprise. Supply Chain Management (SCM) processes were revolutionized by commercial use of the Internet as a trusted platform and eventually the IT architectural landscape was forever altered.

This model evolved and produced thousands of consumer-class services, which used next-generation Internet technologies on the front end and massive scale architectures on the back end to deliver low-cost services to economic buyers. Enter Cloud 2.0, a more advanced generation of the cloud.

Beyond Cloud 2.0

Cloud 2.0 is driven by the consumer experiences that emerged out of Cloud 1.0. A new economic model and new technologies have surfaced since then, due to Internet-based shopping, search and other services. Services can be self-sourced from anywhere and from any device—and delivered immediately—while infrastructure and applications can be sourced as services in an on-demand manner.

Currently, most of the attention when it comes to cloud services remains focused on the new techniques and sourcing alternatives for IT capabilities, aka IT-as-a-Service. IT can drive higher degrees of automation and consolidation using standardized, highly virtualized infrastructure and applications. This results in a reduction in the cost of maintaining existing solutions and delivering new solutions.

Many companies are struggling with the transition from Cloud 1.0 to Cloud 2.0 due to the technology transitions required to make the move. As this occurs, the volume of services in the commercial cloud marketplace is increasing, propagation of data into the cloud is taking place and Web 3.0/semantic Web technology is maturing. The next generation of the cloud, Cloud 3.0 is beginning to materialize because of these factors.

Cloud 3.0 is significantly different because it will enable access to information through services set in the context of the consumer experience. This means that processes can be broken into smaller pieces and subsequently automated through a collection of services, which are woven together with massive amounts of data able to be accessed. With Cloud 3.0, the need for large-scale, complex applications built around monolithic processes is eliminated. Changes will be able to be made by refactoring service models and integration achieved by subscribing to new data feeds. New connections, new capabilities and new innovations—all of which surpass the current model—will be created.

The Necessary Reinvention of IT

IT is typically organized around the various technology domains taking in new work via project requests and moving it through a Plan-Build-Run Cycle. Here lies the problem. This delivery-oriented, technology-centric approach has inherent latency built-in. This inherent latency has created increasing tension with the business it serves, which is why IT must reinvent itself.

IT must be reinvented so that it becomes the central service-sourcing control point for the enterprise or realize that the business with source them on their own. By becoming the central service-sourcing control point for the enterprise, IT can maintain the required service levels and integrations. Changes to behavior, cultural norms and organizational models are required to achieve this.

IT Must Become Service-Centric in the Cloud

IT must evolve from a technology-centric organization into a service-centric organization in order to survive, as service-centric represents an advanced state of maturity for the IT function. Service-centric allows IT to operate as a business function—a service provider—created around a set of products which customers value and are in turn willing to pay for.

As part of the business strategy, these services are organized into a service portfolio. This model differs from the capability-centric model because the deliverable is the service that is procured as a unit through a catalog and for which the components—and sources of components—are irrelevant to the buyer. With the capability-centric model, the deliverables are usually a collection of technology assets which are often visible to the economic buyer and delivered through a project-oriented life cycle.

With the service-centric model, some existing roles within the IT organization will be eliminated and some new ones will be created. The result is a more agile IT organization which is able to rapidly respond to changing business needs and compete with commercial providers in the cloud service marketplace.

Cloud 3.0: A Business Enabler

Cloud 3.0 enables business users to source services that meet their needs quickly, cost-effectively and at a good service level—and on their own, without the help of an IT organization. Cloud 3.0 will usher in breakthroughs and innovations at an unforeseen pace and scope and will introduce new threats to existing markets for companies while opening new markets for others. In this way, it can be said that cloud is more of a business revolution than a technology one.

Rather than focusing on positioning themselves to adopt and implement cloud technology, a more effective strategy for IT organizations would be to focus on transforming the IT organization into a service-centric model that is able to source, integrate and manage services with high efficiency.

Back to the story and its two possible endings:

The first scenario suggests that IT will choose to ignore that its role is being threatened and continue to focus on the delivery aspects of the cloud. Under the second scenario, IT is rescued by transforming into the service-centric organization model and becoming the single sourcing control point for services in the enterprise. This will effectively place IT in control of fostering business innovation by embracing the next wave of cloud. For more information please visit Nubifer.com.