HP Canada president weighs in on cloud debate

The following article was submitted to CIO Canada through HP Canada’s public relations agency. Although we do not accept articles from vendors that promote specific products or services, we consider executive viewpoints on topics of interest to our readers that focus on strategy. IT World Canada does not endorse any particular vendor or accept payment for editorial content under any circumstances.  

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

Private cloud for self-service resources

For services that require tighter control over your data, deploy an on-demand service delivery environment that provides easy access to self-service resources from a secure environment.

Building internal cloud services doesn’t mean you have to rip out your current environment. You can often extend and protect your current investments by transforming legacy and virtualized infrastructure into fully automated cloud environments.

A private cloud can require more IT resources up-front to build. But a well-designed private cloud that takes full advantage of its compute resources can lead to a solid return on your IT investment. A finely tuned automated private cloud also gives your staff the freedom to focus less on management and more on the applications that drive the enterprise.

A hybrid delivery model for flexibility

The reality is, most organizations will benefit from consuming both public and private cloud services in addition to services run from their traditional IT environments. A hybrid delivery model combines all three sources into one unified whole. With multiple sources at your disposal, you can optimize your service portfolio to provide the right service to the right source at the right time.

For example, a financial services company might run a new mortgage lending credit check service from its private cloud, while simultaneously accessing compute resources for its developers from an enterprise cloud service provider. If use of the credit check service proves to be highly sporadic, the company may decide to move it to an off-site enterprise cloud that can better accommodate the service volatility. Using a hybrid delivery model ensures that the best options are available for each workload.

Finding the model that’s right for you

Not sure where to start? Enterprises need to understand their critical success factors, benefits and challenges so they can make informed decisions and map a clear and effective path to the cloud.

Using the best cloud solutions for your needs, your enterprise can respond in an instant to today’s — and tomorrow’s—rapidly changing enterprise needs.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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