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Building a Private Cloud: Considerations to Maximize Success

Many enterprises today want to build a private cloud to gain efficiencies such as on-demand service delivery and pay-as-you-go use of IT infrastructure services, all while maintaining control, accountability, and data sovereignty. There are two ways an organization can realize the benefits of cloud. One is to build and maintain a private cloud. The other is to have a trusted service provider host and manage your private cloud. The first step in making the decision is to gain a full understanding of business and application requirements.

Start by asking yourself some basic questions:

1. Do you have the right in-house resources to build and maintain a private cloud?

2. Is your company in a position to spend the capex necessary to build your own cloud, or is a pay-as you go model more beneficial?

3. What (if any) regulatory compliance issues does your company need to address regarding security, privacy, and data sovereignty?

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Just Say No to SLAs

Just say NO to SLAs

Most of you who’ve either purchased or delivered cloud services have been asked for an SLA (Service Level Agreement). I’ve seen SLAs that can be measured on inches of paper.  Why so big?

Just consider getting 10 people in a room and trying to write down the definition of what it means for an application to be down:

  • Do you mean a partial outage?
  • What if only one iPad can access the application, is the application up?
  • What if it’s down for one minute in the middle of the night? Is it down?

Now let’s imagine adding our lawyer friends into the mix to write in English our definition of application outage, and then discuss the terms of a penalty payment. If you do this, you’ll quickly see the contract getting thicker and thicker.

SLAs are an anachronism. They come from the day of companies using Model 3 and outsourcing. This means handing over all of your computers and staff to another company, so they can take over your mess and do it for less.

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Harnessing the Power of As-a-Service Cloud Offerings

When used wisely, consuming cloud as-a-service (aaS) can dramatically improve business outcomes. Primarily, cloud IT services can promote business agility, reduce expenses, and accelerate time-to-market. They also can provide access to highly trained professionals with focused technical expertise, solving a longstanding problem many IT leaders face with sourcing specialized talent.

Businesses today want speed and flexibility, and cloud IT as-a-service can help them achieve that because they don’t need to procure and deploy hardware and then build, test, and iterate software solutions. Although cloud offerings are attractive because they are readily available and can be deployed quickly, there are several factors to consider when deciding whether to build a solution in-house or outsource it to a cloud provider.

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State of the Cloud: A Case Study of One Company’s Journey

People often ask me: “Is cloud computing really being adopted?”

Over the years, I’ve talked to large and small companies to find out the state of the art in their particular businesses.  There is much more in both the recently released Cloud Computing: Operation Efficiency  and Cloud Computing: Transformation books, but I’ll give you one example here.

Based in Silicon Valley, this company’s revenue in 2014 was approximately $300 million.

Cloud Example

In 2008, I spoke to this company’s CIO and he shared with me that the cloud services in use were predominately application cloud services, in particular: Oracle On-demand, RightNow (later purchased by Oracle), ADP, and Trovix. In addition, the company was using an operations management cloud service Postini for spam filtering security management.

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Seven Ways to Move to the Cloud

While cloud computing is based on a number of technology innovations, I’m going to write for the non-technical person who I think needs to understand this major shift.  In the end, cloud computing will affect every business, every industry.  I’ll start this blog by sharing a story.

A few years ago, I was in a meeting with six CIOs of one of the largest healthcare providers. I asked each a question as they introduced themselves: “What are you working on?”

The first CIO, Bill, replied, “I’m working on a strategy to move to cloud.”

Next, I asked Mary, “What do you do?” Mary also said she was working on a strategy to move the cloud.

We got through every one of them and every one of them had the same answer.

I asked, “So what does that mean, working on a strategy to move to the cloud?”

They collectively said, “We’re really not sure, but we’re working on it.”

I wasn’t actually there to talk to them about cloud computing, but I said, “Give me 10 to 15 minutes to help you think about what it might mean to move to the cloud.”

I’d like to share an abbreviated view of this discussion in this blog, beginning with reviewing my cloud-computing framework.
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