Enterprise & Cloud Computing
By Evi Rachmilewitz, ClickSoftware Contributor
Cloud computing is not just an IT buzzword – it carries with it real operational and economic value. Enterprises are still contemplating the benefits of Cloud and how these benefits could serve their business needs.
What are the various factors enterprises face when considering a Cloud-based deployment and what projects should move to the Cloud?
CFOs and CEOs are excited by the Cloud Computing model. The ability to move from CAPEX to OPEX and especially to dynamic OPEX in which you use a pay-as-you-go model is a dream come true for them. Yet, enterprises are careful with moving IT capacity to the Cloud. There is logic behind this approach. The bigger the business is the more strict and formalized are the procedures and rules that govern the deployment of IT. These rules are related to the availability, reliability and security of IT in the organization.
Thus, how should enterprises move away from on-premise solutions and into the Cloud? From a financial perspective moving IT to a Cloud Computing setup makes a lot of sense. Yet from a regulatory perspective the cloud seems like a risky move that might hamper the ability of enterprises to enforce their rules and procedures.
The solution must come from a fundamental understanding that not every enterprise IT project is suitable for Cloud Computing yet some projects are perfectly suited for it.
What are the characteristics of those IT projects that are best suited for a Cloud deployment?
Short Term Need
Some projects in the enterprise are short term by definition. These are usually new projects that a given team within the enterprise is working on or a project that is being tested before being released for production. These projects are ideal for Cloud Computing, mainly for financial reasons. When a CFO needs to write down purchased hardware over a short period of time, the cost per month goes up. In these scenarios the monthly cost of running the same deployment in a Cloud Computing setup is significantly lower. The shorter the time period is the more significant the difference in cost is in favor of Cloud Computing.
Some applications are characterized with high variations of traffic load. Take an online e-commerce site for example. During the holiday season peak capacity for this site can be 20 times that of normal capacity requirements. When dealing with these types of applications in house you are looking at increasing the cost of deployment by roughly the same factors. At peak utilization times, the entire infrastructure will be servicing the application but at all other times the infrastructure will be severely underutilized. In a Cloud Computing setup you can manage volatile traffic in a much more cost-effective manner. When traffic goes up you can bring up additional instances to handle the increased load. When traffic goes down you can shut down some of the instances and by that constantly match actual business needs to IT capacity.
Nonstrategic applications for enterprises are less likely to be restricted by regulation procedures and are therefore more applicable for Cloud Computing. A good example is IT backup. Instead of wasting internal IT resources on maintaining a backup system, IT managers can use a Cloud Computing based backup system. The advantages of this approach is that a backup of the business data resides in a remote location, it is being hosted by an expert hosting company that has a core competency of storing data hence is likely to do it more economically, backup procedures are commodities for enterprises hence are less likely to require strict regulations and internal IT capacity is freed for other purposes.