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Cloud Computing — Been There, Done That!

Cloud Computing—
Been There,
Done That!
Harvesting its benefits
will still require the
guidance and direction
of smart integration.
Raj G. Asava,
Leader, Services Strategy Office &
Best Value Solutions (BVS)

when he rented idle computing power from one company (Southwestern Life) to carry out the processing needs of another (Collins Radio). The established businesses suddenly found that the development of this channel was critical for their survival against the new breed of companies. etc. day/ night. no matter how infrequent that need might be. Perot recalls that the staff consisted of just two individuals who worked diligently in leveraging the compute capacity that was idle. On the other hand.. highly scalable.). To ensure consistent and stable operations and to virtually eliminate risks. have disrupted traditional business models and a new category of companies has emerged: one that operates mostly over the internet based on “clicks” (e. Amazon.Cloud Computing — Been There. Mr. and started to offer a combination of “bricks and clicks” for the convenience of their customers. and managed computing infrastructure capable of hosting end-customer applications and billed by consumption. This is the value proposition based on which Mr. In response to this operational predicament. Ross Perot started the IT Outsourcing industry in 1962. This was the first instance of Cloud Computing. The fact that both these services operate out of a standard browser and do not require any proprietary/licensed software. eBay. …another way to look at Cloud Computing is that it is a highly automated. coupled with declining costs. to process Collins Radio’s data. harvesting its benefits will still computing platform require the guidance and direction of smart integration. others suggest it to be the highly automated. always available to carry out a task of any size and charged based on usage! Audacious — though possible today in a limited manner — it is certainly poised to be as pervasive a platform as the internet in the very near future. • Forrester defines cloud computing as a pool of abstracted. make them extremely usable. The organization that owned the computers monetized its down time. one time. storage. storage and While there are many definitions for Cloud Computing from credible sources… ubiquitous connectivity. readily scalable. readily harbinger of the diminishing role of the Systems Integrator. quarter/year-end. on-demand computing platform of virtually unlimited processing. storage and ubiquitous connectivity. is a web-based service that allows any entity to buy and use compute capacity on an as-needed basis. companies such as Amazon have started to commoditize their own idle capacity and monetize it under their EC2 and S3 labels. Elastic Compute Cloud. on-demand neither. ensured seamless delivery for a fee. in the role of a Systems Integrator. Cloud Computing has been around since the beginning of the IT Outsourcing industry. mostly during the night. and consuming significant amounts of energy and resources. Done That! The Information Technology (IT) Industry and publications have lately been abuzz with Cloud Cloud Computing is a Computing. Cloud Computing is about utilizing idle/excess compute power (processing. the organization that needed the compute power did not have to out lay capital. As a result. The Origin of Cloud Computing As a matter of historical fact. always available to carry • Gartner defines cloud computing as a style of computing in which massively scalable out a task of any size and IT-related capabilities are provided “as a service” using Internet technologies to multiple charged based on usage! external customers. While some claim it is the next disruptive technology.g. tied directly to the nature of an organization’s business activity (seasonal. EC2. While early adopters of EC2 and S3 were individuals and small businesses. etc. and connectivity) of one entity to carry out the work of another. depreciating in value. and turning it into a win-win situation for all. A closer examination reveals that it is scalable. taking up real estate. Google. of virtually unlimited Cloud Computing De-mystified processing. At its core. many businesses today are stuck with overengineered computing platforms that are underutilized for the majority of the time.). The Evolution of Cloud Computing Advancements in technology. Perot’s team. The disruption of business models created a higher demand and dependence on IT. Simple Storage Services provides for web-based storage and access to data. and Mr. businesses built their computing platforms at or above the highest peak points of their IT requirements. innovative CIOs are giving them the attention they are due and have started to test out the feasibility of this emerging Cloud 2 . But whatever descriptor is finalized for Cloud Computing. S3. Also contributing to this dependence are “peaks-and-valleys” of IT capacity needs.

However. followed by the offering of a choice of cloud environments. The cloud trend today closely resembles the offshoring phenomenon. hardware. and for businesses like Google & Amazon saddled with the need to have extensive IT infrastructure. Unlike the “electricity grid” where individual power generation units ceased to exist. customers are struggling with how to take advantage of the cloud. At one point. and even wrote system utilities and applications down to the quality of performance for operating system level to fill in the gaps left by the software vendors. software and networking companies matured. and protection of “secret sauce” formulas? It is critical to understand that for most businesses the cloud is not a panacea. Torn between the appeal for cost savings and fear of loss of control. this has become an economic engine that can be used to convert their unused compute capacity into revenue. through lease type agreements as opposed to capital outlay or long term fixed costs. While organizations may be lured to the affordability and scalability that Cloud Computing offers. 3 . The role of a Systems Integrator clearly is integral to configuring the optimum (extended) computing environment such that it is dependable/reliable and operating at expected quality of performance for a particular customer. and the optimum computing managing customers’ heterogeneous compute environments. The availability of a public domain computing platform (aka Cloud Computing) allows the Systems Integrators to extend their compute platform as needed. we need to first review how their roles and responsibilities Integrator clearly is have evolved over time. software and network vendors in a typical Systems Integrator business model. How confidential will their data be? How will they handle issues around data privacy. on-demand model. they take on environment such that the responsibility of filling the gaps between the customers’ IT needs and the available compute it is dependable/reliable infrastructure. A trusted Systems Integrator should be involved in the strategic design of the architecture for how a particular company may optimally exploit the cloud. Just as the initial concerns and resistance to offshoring gave way to intelligently architected and governed models to protect the integrity of customer data while taking advantage of the lower cost options. It will start with resistance to the cloud. they have experienced performance results and Capex/Opex savings significant enough to warrant the inclusion of Cloud Computing into their extended IT infrastructure. as the hardware. integral to configuring The primary focus of Systems Integrators continues to be planning. software and internet-based companies with deep pockets are rushing to establish Cloud Computing environments to make available to businesses out of a utility-type.Cloud Computing — Been There. not everything in IT will or should end up in the cloud — at least not just yet. this is an opportunity to sell tons of hardware. intellectual property. The strategy defining usage of the cloud should be on the CIO’s agenda. like Mr. a particular customer. for software companies like VMware & Microsoft. in today’s The role of a Systems Cloud Computing world. it is imperative that their environment is architected such that it provides these advantages without compromising on security and interoperability. the Systems Integrators were able to get back to their core business of integrating disparate systems. optimizing. Perot’s team. regulatory requirements. finally leading to Cloud Computing becoming mainstream and an integral part of the compute environment for most businesses. stabilized and more importantly innovated. Done That! Computing platform. Starting with architecting a cloud-based processing environment for one time transactions that were non-mission critical. For hardware companies like IBM & HP. The Future of Cloud Computing The adoption of Cloud Computing is not without resistance or confusion. a similar trend will emerge on the cloud front. at times. The emerging Cloud Computing companies are proving to be yet another participant joining the hardware. it is an opportunity to sell sophisticated software that allows efficient load balancing of computing resources between tasks. Systems Integrators used to manufacture hardware as needed to run and operating at expected their customers’ systems efficiently. Gradually. The Expanding Role of Systems Integrator In order to understand the role of Systems Integrators. integrating. Recognizing this phenomenon to be a viable business opportunity.

Shared Environment: A shared environment can be used to address the predictable compute need required to run regularly scheduled applications from inventory management to payroll processing. this arrangement proves to be predictable. highly sensitive/ secretive) to their business. As CIOs develop reference architectures of their functions. This represents the true core competency of an organization. Important to the operations of a business. Managed through well defined Service Level Agreements. Done That! The Emerging Conceptual Architecture At the onset. processes and data based on the strategy of their business. the low cost and ready access to on-demand computing offered through a cloud environment will cause businesses to rethink what is truly core (mission critical. 4 . it needs an environment that is highly secure like the dedicated layer. where mission critical tasks will be processed and highly sensitive information will be stored. seasoned Systems Integrators will help them configure their IT environment based on the following conceptual architecture made up of the interconnected four tiers. This layer would typically require investment in a dedicated computing platform. Organizations will be well served to revisit the classification of each piece of processing and storage that was earlier assumed to be sensitive and mission critical — in light of the high cost associated with running it in-house through a dedicated infrastructure. Private Cloud: This layer addresses similar needs as the “Dedicated” layer. and has in- built innovation from the Systems Integrator. this layer will be designed to be readily scalable and sharable between IT systems and applications across the organization.Cloud Computing — Been There. these systems can be carried out of an outsourcer’s facility where the computing platform is dedicated for the business but the ancillary processes and resources may be leveraged across multiple customers. Dedicated: The dedicated layer suggests a highly secure computing environment. leakage of which would give away the competitive advantage. Built on the principles of Cloud Computing. These systems typically represent a significant portion of the computing needs of an organization. enhancing and testing out mission critical systems as well as carrying out critical research & development work. cost effective. As such. or degradation of performance & reliability of its processing could prove to be catastrophic to the business. and shift an increasing amount of non-core processing to a shared or cloud environment. and is used for developing.

Simplify your IT Management at dell. Cloud Computing certainly holds the promise of reducing a company’s total cost of IT ownership. they are best served to visualize and architect their compute The advent of Cloud environment based on this 4-tier structure. high availability of quality resources. contact your Dell account representative or visit dell. customers and Dell Channel Partners should contact your sales representative for more information. with time. © 2010 Dell Inc. the concept of offshoring IT work also faced strong head winds from political. However. In conclusion. In today’s cost sensitive environment. on-demand computing capacity. Due to the open nature of the public cloud. While its early benefactors may have been small-to-medium sized businesses. To learn more. that some of the sensitive tasks processed in the private cloud will gradually be transferred to the public cloud as organizations become more comfortable with the security and governance models of this new computing platform. businesses to cut over to some derivation of an offshore-based in a global economy.Cloud Computing — Been There. For organizations to be successful. businesses will continue to depend upon the services of a skilled and trusted Systems Integrator provider to help them configure the right combination of computing environment that addresses their unique business needs. as the IT Outsourcing industry goes through another transformation driven by Cloud Computing. if not all. an organization must be able to disaggregate its system and parse out its computing needs into transactions that can be carried out in the external cloud without fear of exposing or losing its critical information. organizations may feel comfortable moving more and more of their data and processing to it. and faster response time due to around-the-clock operations caused most. For more information about solutions for your business or organization. All rights reserved. in the emerging on- demand computing environment. Computing makes the already level playing Cloud Computing. much like commerce has gradually shifted and become acceptable over the internet. The advent of Cloud Computing makes the already level playing field even flatter. 5 . How Real Is IT? field even flatter. Cloud Computing is poised to benefit businesses of all sizes giving them access to affordable. Skeptics who believe Cloud Computing to be just another buzz-word or the “flavor of the month” should remember that just a decade Availability varies by country. Done That! Emerging Architecture Public Cloud: Public cloud is an external cloud (like the EC2 and S3) that would be configured to operate as an extension to the computing platform of an organization to handle the spikes in its computing needs. business and social fronts. It is envisioned. As governance models and processes make Cloud Computing increasingly secure and user friendly. the benefits of offshoring in the form of reduced cost.