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December 3, 2012

A Fairytale on the Cloud

Posted by Vishnu Bhat (View Profile | View All Posts) at 5:02 AM

Most technology success stories come with a "tiger by the tail" moral. So there's Internet and violation of privacy; online banking and risk of fraud; social networking and loss of control... Now, what could it be for the Cloud?

I'm inclined to believe that as an increasing number of organizations go hybrid between private, public and on-premise  they will face big challenges from the resulting multivendor environment. Should they work with the best vendor of each application, or pare down the supplier list to a manageable number? How can they issue and enforce homogenous performance standards among vendors of vastly different services? And above all, how can they get disparate Clouds to integrate and get that elusive 'enterprise-one-view'? Really, enterprises don't need such distractions. What they need is to be free to run and innovate on their core business full time. And, they're hoping that the Cloud can make this happen.

And it can. A Cloud-based marketing platform can put the CMO in control of the organization's digital media campaign; another type can enable a bank serve remote locations with a digital wallet; a third platform can bring 100% of service procurement spends under management. And don't even get me started on its potential to streamline complex trade distribution channels, standardize common business processes, or enhance an organization's talent management abilities.  But, here it is again, the tiger and its tail. Because each time enterprises tap into another Cloud application, they invite the same problems of the hybrid Cloud environment - too many providers, a snarl of applications, services that don't talk to each other. In short, a CIO's management nightmare.

So, is this how the hybrid Cloud story is destined to end? Of course, not! An experienced partner can bring invaluable focus and direction to an organization's Cloud strategy. They can help find the right vendor for each service.  Define performance metrics and SLAs. Enable secure private, hybrid and service provider Clouds. "Broker" different Cloud options. Migrate services on to the Cloud. Even divest the organization of tedious business processes by serving them on a platform.  Most importantly, the right Cloud partner can build, manage and govern a unified hybrid cloud ecosystem under a hub to give the organization complete visibility - and the CIO complete control - over the enterprise's entire Cloud assets. Armed with this 'one-view', the CIO can support innovation initiatives with the best Cloud-based course of action. The hub's brokerage feature ensures the CIO can run workloads in a best-fit construct from a cost and efficiency perspective. This hub, when augmented with a self-service catalog, featuring a menu of service vendors from multiple environments, enables both IT and business users to pick and choose from Cloud applications, services, or processes at will. A transformation that allows seamless value creation across the IT provider and IT consumer divide within the enterprise. A perfect solution, I'd say, to the challenge of exercising 'control with flexibility' in a hybrid Cloud environment.

If there ever was one, then this is it - the fairytale ending every CIO longs for.

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