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Cloud Computing… Technical Decision or Business Decision?

That is the question that many organizations are asking themselves as Cloud Computing and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) continues to evolve and to grow exponentially.  In today’s environment, the decision to adopt Cloud Computing is primarily a business (financial and operational) decision. Once the business need for Cloud has been identified, then the process of making sure the solution will work technically can begin.

The main reason for this is that with the advent of Virtualization and mainstream adoption of Virtualization across all segments of the market, Cloud Computing is not as much a change in technology as it is a change in the delivery method of existing technology.  In other words, IaaS is Virtualization at its core, purchased on an as-you-go consumption basis, with the IT hardware, maintenance, and capital risk shifted away from the customer and onto the Cloud Service Provider.  In a true IaaS Cloud-Computing environment, the management of applications and data can and does remain with the internal IT Organization.  

Arguably in the early stages of Cloud Computing, the decision process was purely a technical one.  Will our applications work in the cloud?  Do we have the right network and security to adopt Cloud Computing?  The questions were many, but almost always began from a technical perspective.

Today, this discussion is as likely to take place with a CFO as it is IT Leadership, and many in a position of financial leadership have come to this same conclusion.

Top 7 Reasons Companies Hesitate to Adopt Cloud

When it comes to Cloud Computing, there are a number of reasons that companies hesitate to adopt the technology.  If you are considering Cloud Computing or Infrastructure as a Service, or have looked at them in the past, you probably heard or even voiced some of the following concerns.

1. Vendor Lock-In: The concern is once you move systems out to the Cloud, it’s hard to get back.  Additionally, the thought is “What we don’t own…we don’t control.”

FracRack provides assistance/support in the migration of systems to the Cloud.  And if the customer wishes to migrate systems back to their physical premise based data center or to another third party, FracRack will again perform those activities.  Before we launched our IaaS, we spent the last 10 years working with customers in their day to day support and projects within their datacenters.  This unique insight guided the development of our Cloud solution and how we would support it going forward.

The nature of our solution is unique to the market.  It matches what NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), says a Cloud Service Provider should be.  It is designed to fully emulate your premise based datacenter.  You can control it…just like you control your datacenter today.  This allows for easy migration to our Cloud…and away, should you decide to move in another direction.

2. Effect on Internal IT Staff: With the removal of hardware systems, skill sets within the IT Department could atrophy, and talented personnel may go elsewhere.

Again, NIST says that in order for a Cloud Services Provider to have a true Cloud offering, the end user must be able to add/delete and manage the Cloud as if it were on premise and without assistance from the CSP.  While FracRack personnel are always at our customers’ disposal..our Cloud solution is designed to emulate your premise based datacenter.

The real power of moving to our Cloud is the liberation of dollars that are trapped in budgets that do nothing more than keep the IT plumbing working.  This can be up to 70% of annual IT budgets.  Now what can IT departments do with that liberated cash?

Here’s what we’ve seen first hand:

  • Save jobs!
  • Begin projects/upgrades/enhancements to systems that have been in waiting due to budget reductions.
  • Begin customer facing, revenue generating IT projects such as mobility applications and social media monitoring and control.
  • Explore new markets, product lines and approaches as the IT ramp to support these new ventures require limited or no capital IT expense.

3. Cost:  The classic “suck the client in with a low price, lock them in and then raise the prices” approach.

FracRack has four fundamental value pillars.  These are Price, Performance, Security and Risk Avoidance.  Two of the four, Price and Risk Avoidance, address this concern.  We guarantee our pricing to the customer and structure our agreements that the customer has little risk in doing business with our company.  Again, this is about our clients remaining in control.

4. Integration Between Applications & Systems: Systems need to work with one another. When some or all of these systems move to the cloud the integration is broken.

A common example is Microsoft Exchange.  Many Cloud Service Providers offer Hosted Exchange.  The problem is that these solutions are typically a shared or multi-tenant environment and choices are limited, integration is broken and the price is high!

Since FracRack provides true Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), we are able to maintain whatever integration you now have with premise-based hardware.  In the case of Exchange, for example, integration such as between Exchange and your phone system stays intact!

5. Cloud Service Provides have limited or no Service Level Guarantee and are not on the hook for mistakes.

At FrackRack we put our money where are mouth is.  If we fail in meeting our commitments to our clients, our clients don’t owe us anything.  As a for profit business this provides great incentives for our Cloud to meet Service Level Agreements (SLA’s).

In our solution we don’t have a single point of failure in our design.  From multiple bandwidth providers to redundant systems throughout, our solution exceeds what our clients could provide within their premise based datacenter.

6. Cloud is a Bandwidth Hog:  The Cloud uses big uploads and downloads that add to the everyday cost.

We simply have found this not to be the case.  We look at every customer in detail and prescribe and define the cost of our Cloud solution up front, with no surprises.  And since we use pricing metrics that our customers are used to dealing with, not arbitrary measurements such as “data transfer” or “throughput” our clients receive bills that they expect.  No surprises!

7. Pressure:  We’ve seen management by “In-Flight” magazine or “Wall Street  Journal” article.  This can exert pressure to move to the Cloud before a customer is ready.

Our background and experience provides guidance when working with customers on particular systems and when it makes sense to move those systems to a Cloud environment.  Many times in working with clients we’ve recommended an alternative to the Cloud or other Cloud services such as a Software as a Service that we do not provide.  We are in it for the long run and understand that in the long run we will earn both trust and business from our customers.

Steps to Advancing a Cloud Strategy, Part 3

Our third step in Advancing our Cloud Strategy is developing our Use Cases.

Here, with our understanding of the various Cloud options and approaches, we examine our systems and seek out potential use cases within our environment.  In other words we begin to classify what systems we can move to the Cloud and what type of Cloud best suits each case.

For example…one might identify Microsoft Exchange as a target for a Cloud migration. Then we take a look at what approach for the company makes the most sense for Exchange.  Should we deploy an IaaS, (Infrastructure as a Service) Cloud for Exchange?  Or, does the company’s needs better align with a SaaS, (Software as a Service), Exchange solution.  In this case we would look at price, control, ease of migration of data, any integration with other systems such as the phone system, etc.

Once we build a list of use cases, the real fun begins in the next steps when we begin to explore Cloud Service Providers and how they would address each of our use cases.  This would include Public, Private, and Hybrid Cloud discoveries along with method, price and approach.