The commoditization of technology has reached its pinnacle with the advent of the recent paradigm of Cloud Computing. Infosys Cloud Computing blog is a platform to exchange thoughts, ideas and opinions with Infosys experts on Cloud Computing

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September 27, 2013

Building Tomorrow's Digital Enterprise on Cloud - Part 1

IDC in its 2013 Predictions "Competing on the 3rd Platform" predicts that the Next Generation of Platform opportunities would be in the intersection of Cloud, Mobile, Social and Big Data.

My discussions with Client IT executives across industries over the last few months has clearly shown a growing interest for building such a platform to address their digital transformation needs. They realize the importance to look at this strategically from a Digital Consumer engagement perspective and the need to align their internal projects and initiatives focusing on Mobility, Cloud and Social Integration to maximize business value. Consumers today demand seamless access across devices/channels and the ability to integrate into the context of their digital experience. Next generation of platforms need to address this transforming consumer engagement model.

Foundations of such a platform I believe would leverage Cloud-based applications enhanced with API Management at its core to address the needs of Integrating the Enterprise with their Digital Ecosystem and consumers on Mobile Apps & devices, Social Media by leveraging Cloud Services for elastic scaling and Analytics on API usage trends to generate business insights.

In this blog series we will talk about Cloud adoption trends that we are seeing in the marketplace and how this Digital convergence is influencing cloud adoption models and the evolving need for Enterprise API Management on Cloud for value realization.

In this initial blog, we will look at Cloud adoption trends. While a large number of enterprises are still figuring out their Cloud adoption strategy and are riding the initial wave of cloud adoption (Infrastructure as a Service), there are a few out there in the Wild West who are surfing their way up to the second wave of cloud - building, deploying and managing business services on Cloud.

I sometimes wonder if there really is a long-term (sustainable) value for clients to merely port or migrate existing applications onto Cloud. While the adoption of IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) aspect of cloud provides clients with lower TCO in the short-medium term and enhances IT Department's ability in responding to dynamically changing business needs with agility, it does not by itself deliver any net new business value. Analysis of Client's cloud adoption trends indicate that SaaS is still the preferred model to deliver business capabilities from cloud and the drive for PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) adoption by migrating your existing apps to a cloud-based middleware platform is still the least preferred one.

For platform-as-a-service model to work and deliver business value, they cannot afford to be merely technology driven. They need to embody a Business Platform that can be 'offered as a service' and provide value to their partners and customers in the marketplace. Health Information exchanges is a good example of such a Industry PaaS / Business Platform that can be offered as a service and this is driven by the continuous digitization of health records and the value around collaborating and sharing this on-demand information about customer health data in real-time, across the different parties involved in the health ecosystem. This data is no longer confined to some back-end applications of the hospital, clinical labs and insurance companies.

Transformations in this growingly digital world requires enterprises to reinvent themselves using cloud and not re-package themselves.

Entering the "As-A-Service Era"

 

All of us have seen various waves of technology that created huge buzz ranging from mainframes, client server architecture, PCs and now its cloud. With the lingering economic uncertainty, cloud is indeed a liberator for many. Working for the past 4 years in cloud computing makes me feel am living in the cloud world- "a world of diverse clouds".

The cloud has arrived with a bang and is here to stay. The future looks only in cloud. Enterprises are becoming "cloud active", progressing very rapidly from being reactive to proactive and have now begun the march to be innovative. The huge potential of cloud has emboldened organizations of all sizes to think out of the box to be the leaders in the race for innovation. In this blog, I would like to talk about the significant aspects that enterprises should consider before choosing a cloud service provider (CSP) for the cloud journey.

Cloud has been advancing rapidly in our lives making significant improvements. Cloud is being driven by the increased number of devices, users, consumption of -storage, network, compute and power. As the cloud adoption gains more and more momentum, we are also witnessing a sudden sprawl of CSPs. With multiple delicate intricacies that a cloud strategy needs to be worked upon, it becomes all the more critical to choose the right CSP. While we head towards an As-A-Service-Era, consumers too want everything-as-a-service. In this marathon of transforming everything into a service, enterprises are often caught in mayhem to plan their journey to cloud. Cloud is not virtualization. Virtualization is just the first step towards cloud, which is more about amalgamating people, process and technology. In its truest sense, cloud means user empowerment thru its features like on-demand scalability, automation, business agility and integrated dynamics.

Working with a CSP will certainly help enterprises to deal with a lot heavy-lifting tasks which are cost intensive. However, many CSPs just extend their services to a build a catalog of offerings but do not attempt in augmenting technologies to help enterprises derive business value. The cloud market is highly fragmented with numerous technologies and service providers. Finding the right CSP to vet and align business objectives can indeed be a daunting task. In order to benefit from all the cloud capabilities, enterprises need a CSP who can offer a single point of accountability for all their cloud needs and shields them from the burden of having to deal with the commercial, technical, and legal barriers that impede cloud adoption. 

The biggest hurdle for many organizations is to integrate their legacy infrastructure with cloud. Building an effective and efficient cloud strategy is more about carving a new cloud operating IT model which drives business process efficiency and transparency resulting in increased productivity. Some crucial factors that enterprises should consider for a CSP are technical expertise for executing your IT transformation from an "asset centric to a service centric" organization, security standards, audit options, Application Programming Interface standards and architecture, performance window dashboards and service level agreements.

Cloud is the perfect platform to reach beyond the sky. As we head towards "As-A-Service-Era", garnering a winning streak is only possible by working with the right cloud service integrators.

September 5, 2013

Getting cloud management and sustenance right -- Part-3

 

In my first blog I spoke about why enterprises need cloud and in my second blog I spoke about cloud governance and compliance. In this blog let's look at how cloud is transforming IT from an asset centric to a service centric organization. Automating basic IT operations with processes, increases productivity and fosters business innovation. Besides governance and integration, the cloud sustenance and management framework includes a cloud service automation solution.

Typically, cloud automation solutions involve ensuring service fulfillment and managing cloud and operational activities. These include driving efficiencies into processes such as service procurement, provisioning and deployment; providing users with a self-service option through a portal that lists all available services within a service catalog ;managing various automation workflows as well as metering and billing ; updating/ modifying templates and operational activities to maintain and administer the automation solution.

Cloud managed and security services are responsible for providing proactive, predictive and reactive service assurance to the business and ensuring end-to-end security of the ecosystem.

Automation of operational activities such as backup services, event management, monitoring thresholds, security monitoring etc enables proactive and faster responses to potential issues and threats. This helps the organization adopt a service-driven operational framework with minimum manual effort.

It allows organizations to shift their focus from enabling machine resource levels (CPU utilization, disk performance) to ensuring user service levels (application availability, transaction speeds, etc).

Despite the benefits that cloud delivers, enterprises remain cautious about adopting cloud solutions for business transformation. This is because deploying cloud in a traditional managed services offering restricts the range of benefits.

While employing multiple CSPs is a step in the right direction, enterprises need to partner with experienced cloud ecosystem integrators to ensure successful business transformation from Cloud transitions. Such ecosystem integrators can deliver the whole range of benefits through an effective Cloud management framework with capabilities such as governance and compliance, integration and orchestration, automation, and managed security and services models.