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In a mobile, connected world, everybody needs access to everything. They expect instant results anytime, anywhere. While this opens up a world of possibilities, it also places heavy demands on IT. How can enterprises keep up?
Many Canadian CIOs are considering cloud technology because it can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal intervention from a service provider. But should they take advantage of public cloud services, such as Amazon EC2 or Google App Engine, or build their own cloud behind the firewall? The question might miss an essential point: They can have it both ways.
Understanding the cloud models
At their core, all clouds—public and private—consist of shared, standardized services based on pooled resources. Moving data to the public cloud means avoiding purchasing and managing certain hardware and software, but it also means less control over your data and relying on the security policies and practices of the service provider. With a private cloud, you get total control over your data and the hardware on which it lives if it’s hosted on-premise.
Some organizations will want the affordability and flexibility of externally managed cloud services. Others will see the internal cloud as the best approach for certain services. But the vast majority will fall on the spectrum somewhere between those two extremes. The most effective way to run your service portfolio is to find the right source for each service—therefore many organizations can benefit from a hybrid delivery model using both public cloud and private cloud resources.
The important thing is to let your enterprise strategy guide your approach to the cloud. Here’s a quick overview of each delivery model and how it can support an enterprise strategy.
Cloud services for rapid application deployment
Enterprise cloud services offer bundles of server, storage, network and security that your organization can consume as a service. It lets you deploy applications without confronting the usual obstacles: the capital outlay for acquiring and maintaining hardware, the time it takes to provision new services and the IT resources to manage it. Cloud services let you accelerate time to revenue from new applications from months to minutes.
For Canadian CIOs in particular, security, reliability and privacy are top of mind as they try to balance the need for innovation, optimization and risk management for the enterprise. Some organizations, for example in the public sector, may have additional regulatory requirements to consider. Canadian enterprises can have very distinct needs for cloud services so it is important to ensure that your service offers these important features:
- Security, governance and compliance standards, with the ability to know exactly where your data is physically stored for compliance and reporting purposes
- Open, modular platforms that don’t lock you in
- Automation and management for end-to-end service quality
- The ability to ensure availability, quality and performance levels
- The ability to seamlessly interact with and be managed across a hybrid delivery service model