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June 21, 2012

Cloud integration and governance: Getting it all together

Posted by Arun Raghavapudi (View Profile | View All Posts) at 12:21 PM

As the Cloud business matures, its biggest opportunity might also present its greatest challenge. Today, corporate Cloud users are looking at outsourcing different components of infrastructure to different suppliers to optimize their costs. But managing multiple deployments means managing multiple vendor relationships (maybe even multiple technologies and delivery models) and the attendant complexities. Things get worse when different vendors are somehow dependent on each other, or have parallel relationships with end users.
In response, clients are streamlining the management of their Cloud vendor base in two ways - first, by creating a "single story" structure to oversee all their deployments, and secondly, by putting governance to work.  The latter spells a clear shift; from loosely written agreements and fuzzy monitoring to tightly worded Service Level Agreements with each vendor, and between the vendors themselves when their services overlap or become co-dependent. This shift is creating a new supplier order, one in which a client will holds a single major vendor responsible for its entire Cloud deployment. It will be left to this vendor to enforce all the SLAs with the subordinate suppliers on an ongoing basis. The upside is greater discipline in relationships between the client, vendors and end users.

A maturing Cloud brings new possibilities like the delivery of business processes on top of infrastructure, managed as a service. While this development will result in Cloud deployments that are more responsive to business needs, it will also create complex vendor management issues. Enterprises can make their lives easier by acquiring the capability to integrate their Cloud ecosystems and gain full visibility of their Cloud environment - public, private and hybrid.  In the absence of such an all-encompassing view, optimization will remain a distant dream.

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