Simple, Fast and Leveraged – Reasons to move to the cloud?

This post sponsored by the Enterprise CIO Forum and HP.

simplicity nuke By smemon87 on flickrI just finished watching an interview titled Cloud benefits are speed, simplicity and resource leverage on the Enterprise CIO Forum website with Joel Dobbs, Vice President of IT at Eisai Corporation of North America.

In the interview, Mr. Dobbs shares his view of cloud computing and why an organization should consider the cloud.

His main argument is that the cloud can free up IT professionals from the basic operational aspects of IT in order to pursue more ‘strategic goals’ for the organization.

Jump over and watch the interview…there are some good insights there.

After watching the interview, think about what Mr. Dobbs is saying. The reasons given for moving to the cloud are that its simple, fast and a way to leverage resources.

Let’s take a look at these reasons for a few minutes.

Yes…the cloud brings simplicity to infrastructure rollout and maintenance.

Yes…the cloud allows an organization to quickly turn on new systems and rollout new servers.

Yes…the cloud allows an organization to leverage resources.

As an example of this…I can turn on a new server with all the ‘fixins’ (RAM, storage, processors, etc) using Amazon’s EC2 service or RackSpace’s Cloud Servers and have that server running within about 10 minutes.   This is something that would be unthinkable a few years ago.

So yes…the cloud is simple, fast and leveraged. Something that used to take hours, days, weeks or months in the past and required a team of Server & Infrastructure professionals can be done in the matter of minutes buy a semi-knowledgeable person like me.

But…one thing that many people tend to overlook is the trade-off that this simplicity, speed and leverage requires.   Sometimes that trade-off is something major like the recent Amazon EC2 outage. Sometimes that trade-off is a security risk. Sometimes that trade-off isn’t known until it hits home.

The cloud does provide a simple, fast and leveraged resource that can be used to off-load work from over-worked IT professionals. But…just remember that there are trade-offs.  Make sure those trade-offs won’t harm your business…make sure the trade-offs are something you can live with.  If you plan to run your business from the cloud, be prepared for that ‘black swan’ event….because it will happen.  Amazon’s EC2 system failed and took down a large number of businesses.

So yes…the cloud is simple, fast and leveraged. Those are good things and bad.  Make sure you’re prepared for the good, the bad and the ugly…because all three will happen.

This post sponsored by the Enterprise CIO Forum and HP.

Image Credit: simplicity nuke By smemon87 on flickr

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  • Eric,

    Indeed wise words around being prepared for the good and the bad aspects of moving to the cloud. There are clearly benefits to leveraging the collective operational services offered by cloud providers compared to building and managing those services in-house. Yet, the classic need to map business process to system processes to continuity and disaster recovery needs still exists in the cloud. The cloud brings economies of scale to redundancy that a startup company would have to build from scratch at considerable expense. But, one still has to invest the time and energy into mapping the cloud services architecture against your business process and IT SLAs to ensure all work together as needed by all stakeholders.

    • The SLA for the cloud is something that many companies are fighting to really understand. Consider the Amazon failure last week…what SLA”s were in place between Amazon and the companies (like Hootsuite) who were down for ~15 hours? I know there’s no SLA in place for me when I go to Amazon and setup a new EC2 instance.

      Excellent comment. Thanks for stopping by!

      • Your article states when you choose to move to the cloud, you are trading speed, simplicity and the ability to better allocate resources for the potential “black swan” event. This is not true. Anyone that has worked in IT for any length of time has seen or been a part of that “black swan” event. It is going to happen, you just don’t know when and you pray that your back up and recovery plans play out. It is stressful, it is not fun and there are business outages.

        Your article should say that when you move to the cloud, you are putting your disaster recovery into the hands of another party. Make sure you know the SLA’s you are agreeing to and remember that you are not outsourcing your overall continuity plan. Stuff still happens.

        • Mary –

          Absolutely stuff happens.

          My point is exactly that. Stuff happens.

          Whether you are ‘in the cloud’ or in your datacenter, you are going to have stuff happen. How you (or your provider) react to that ‘stuff’ is important. How you plan for that ‘stuff’ is also important.

          I read a story about one of the companies that was affected by the recent Amazon cloud outage (Reddit, hootsuite…can’t remember which one). They were asked why they hadn’t planned for the Amazon outage and had a plan for this. Their answer was basically ‘well…it had never happened before, so we never thought to plan for it”. That’s plain stupid.

          The point of my post is really this – if your business is based on the cloud. Plan appropriately.

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