Every once in a while I still see articles questioning the cloud computing. Is it a fad? Will it go the way of video tapes? This whole idea is simply laughable. The cloud is now a fact of business life. Numerous market forecasts bear this out, projecting that 60% of CIOs plan to use cloud, up from 33% two years ago1. Over the next three years substantial cloud implementations will increase threefold, with predictions that 80% of new apps will be distributed or deployed via the cloud by the end of 20122.
So given all of this evidence why are there still nay-sayers? The reality is that they are not really questioning cloud itself; they are questioning the suitability of the cloud for critical business workloads.
We are at a critical inflection point in the evolution of cloud computing. Enterprises are moving from “sandbox” projects for cloud deployments to full-scale production environments of critical applications. As enterprises continue to embrace the era of Smarter Computing, they are striving to achieve the benefits of the economics of cloud computing.
And, with enterprise-ready systems, companies and managed service providers are realizing the big business benefits that the cloud promises. They are building and rapidly scaling cloud environments with unparalleled efficiency, integration and management. They are accelerating time to market with unprecedented choice, security and portability of applications. And they are gaining immediate access to business solutions, combined with deep industry insights, business process skills and analytics.
Enterprises are getting cloud-ready but with caution, and rightly so. Companies are very hesitant to simply purchase cloud services, opting for a more private or hybrid cloud infrastructure and the added control and security that brings. When I meet with IBM customers to discuss cloud computing two fundamental questions generally arise:
Question #1: How can I achieve, not just cost savings now, but true efficiencies at scale?
When 70% of IT budgets are spent on managing systems instead of developing innovative new services, cloud computing can play a vital role. With a fully virtualized private cloud infrastructure organizations can centrally manage a virtual pool of server and storage resources, enabling private clouds or managed services that lower costs by maximizing resource utilization and staff productivity.
With functionality to automate and prioritized resource provisioning, dynamic allocation of IT resources, real time compression, companies can contain costs, optimize performance and respond to the needs of the business as it grows and prospers.
The proof of these benefits can be seen throughout IBM client implementations. With the right strategy and tools in place, these customers are lowering cost and increasing flexibility for critical services with total cost of acquisition up to 79% less when deploying a private cloud on enterprise systems verses a leading public cloud implementation.
Simply put, the cloud is no fad or IT flavor of the month. It is fundamental shift in how CIOs can deliver the services the business demands. Creating efficiencies at enterprise scale, freeing up resources for new services, improving staff productivity and reducing the cost of core services are all part of the shift. And those kind of outcomes never go out of style.
Question #2: How can I achieve best in class security for sensitive data and critical applications?
A good question given that the average total organizational cost of a data breach is around $5.5 million3, not to mention the reputational risk that comes with it. When it comes to critical applications and sensitive data, you have to ensure that this is protected, but at the same time you want to benefit from the flexibility and efficiency that cloud computing delivers.
For many years, enterprise systems have been at the heart of the data center, running the applications that are at the core of the business. They are renowned for their high levels of security and resiliency and have been the systems that businesses trust for their most critical workloads.
Enterprise systems are designed for running multiple workloads, so, virtualization is part of their DNA. As a result, they can run hundreds, even thousands of workloads in a single system, maximizing utilization of resources and ROI. This leadership in virtualization capabilities have been developed hand in hand with the security capabilities for which they are renowned.
The result is the best of both worlds. Ideally suited for private enterprise clouds, they provide the efficiency and agility to reduce costs and enable the flexible delivery of services, while at the same time providing the protection required for sensitive data and critical applications.
The cloud is coming. There no debating that fact. How to get the maximum efficiency and security are the questions all companies must tackle next.
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