Compromise likely on Cloud computing

Migrating IT applications to the Cloud may have its appeal, but how many organisations could or would migrate all their IT?

At this week’s Gartner Summit in Sydney a suggestion that by 2016, 20 per cent of all business organisation’s IT will be purely Cloud-based was put to delegates and a panel of IT gurus. Roughly 70 per cent of an audience of around 250 agreed with the prediction. Here’s some of what the panel had to say.

Although Software AG vice president Business Infrastructure Solutions, Jignesh Shah, agreed with the statement, he expressed surprise that so many in the audience did.

“Most people here are from the larger organisations,” he noted.

“I think it will be very difficult for a lot of those organisations to become completely Cloud-based. However, the statement stipulates ‘all’ business organisations, which means drilling down to all the SMEs out there.

"A 20 per cent migration of all IT will very easily happen as we are seeing a lot of smaller organisations already outsourcing to third-party providers.”

According to Andrew Bearsley, product lead HP Application Lifecycle Management: “For small-to-medium size enterprises (SMEs) and even some larger businesses, in some ways it is actually easier to pick up a Cloud-based service and run with that, rather than re-engineer existing infrastructure.

“An obvious problem for large enterprises, however, is the scale of their existing services (and the overheads) involved in replacing them.

"It’s been said that some applications never die, which will inevitably lead to a combination of new Cloud-based services with older enterprise applications. There is going to be a compromise between the two.”

VMWare senior director Cloud Application Platform, Matt Stodolnic, also focused on the appeal of Cloud-based services to SMEs.

“Anyone starting their own company with three to 30 employees and considering the infrastructure they need would first look at the likes of Google Docs and Salesforce.com,” he said.

“Clearly you need some infrastructure to support your development, but even with such infrastructure why wouldn’t you go to a trusted Cloud provider and either lease their services or platforms.

“I think people are going to be surprised to see some major initiatives in some standard applications such as Salesforce for CRM and Workday for HR. They offer a great value proposition and as a result, I think 20 per cent is easily achievable.”

Gartner managing vice president Chris Haddad offered this advice: “It is very important to take a metrics and measurement approach,” he said.

“If you are looking to migrate applications to the Cloud, track them in a meaningful way based on understanding whether those applications are becoming more elastic and scalable, whether there is self-service provisioning, and whether there is a pay-as-you-go consumption model on any given application.

"There is far more involved than just moving an application to a virtual machine. Yes, that will provide you with a minimal set of benefits, but to take it to the next level requires more.

“If there are 2000 applications in your IT portfolio and your goal is to migrate 20 per cent, or 400 of them in five years so that they become more cloudy, you are going to have to track that on a dashboard to show your IT leaders — your CIO — exactly what progress is being made (and the benefits being realised) from your journey to the Cloud.”

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Tags businesscloud computingVMwarevirtualisationenterprisevirtualizationGartner Summit 2011Matt Stodolnic

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