Cloud conversations are becoming less and less technical on a daily basis. Let’s face it, everyone knows that virtualization works, shared storage is key, replications are a great thing, and so on. Great stuff, but everyone knows it. The conversations today are much more about business processes and impact, as well as from a financial angle. Adopting a cloud of any type will certainly change the way you are doing IT, whether that is in a closet in your building or at Amazon. You will also have to really understand the impact to your bottom line and whether or not a cloud solution will save you money, be relatively flat, or actually cost you more. In that analysis, you have to decide what the business value is of moving workloads to a cloud provider. The part that gets tricky? You may end up with lots of workloads in different clouds.
Let’s take a standard type of firm. They currently run their CRM system through software as a service. They also have several of their HR products they like to use for the ERP system out there as well, like talent management, recruiting, 401k management, etc. These feed back into their locally installed ERP system. They also run email and typical tools that they know are very business critical but are far from strategic and take much care and feeding. They want to get those workloads moved to one of the public cloud offerings. They are also tired of being in the hardware/Data Center business, so they are looking to get out of their current co-location and their own Data Center model for at least some things, like ERP, and have a cloud provider take those on.
Well, guess what? This creates anywhere from 5-20 clouds for this firm when you add them up. You have heard of the term VM Sprawl, right? Well, this is Cloud Sprawl. This is very real and it causes firms to try to figure out new ways to manage what can be tricky and confusing. They are trying to figure out how to apply services across these disjointed offerings in a way that is seamless to the end users and customer. This is a lot harder than people think. How do you get consistency across such disparate group of products and services? How do you integrate all of the systems in a way that allows your business to function properly? Security and access rights are quite possibly a nightmare, too!
Cloud Aggregation is the key to this dilemma. A firm has to get a handle on all aspects of their cloud formations so they can apply a consistent level of services. Cloud Aggregation is a strategy that involves deeply understanding your people, processes, and technology while being driven by conscientious business value decisions. IT leaders need to sit down and really understand their current state, where they want to go in the future, and design a roadmap to get there. Ultimately, they need to figure out how they will combine all of their products and services in a way that benefits the business in terms of value and practical management.
Aggregate those clouds before they end up raining all over you.
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