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When It Comes to Cloud, Which IT Executive Are You? Part 1: “Huh?”

A Special 4 Part Blog by Trevor Williamson, Director of Solutions Architecture

As I spoke last time about my experiences talking to senior management at some of the largest financial, insurance and banking companies about cloud infrastructures and what they thought about the whole space, I broke down my experiences into 4 simple categories:

  • Huh?
  • Been there, done that
  • I want dessert before dinner, and,
  • Where do I start first?

In this installment, let me talk about the experiences I’ve had with the “Huh?” senior executives who were the proverbial deer-in-the-headlights. More than anything else, they were just fatigued by the explosion of cloud and cloud related jargon and technologies (even if those technologies had nothing to do with cloud…more on that later) that they were being bombarded with.  I’ll start by first saying that I’ve yet to meet a single executive who has NOT heard of the cloud…in some shape or form.  It is literally blaring from every trade magazine, is the subject in almost every technology advertisement and is “the big thing” that is most talked about whenever more than two technology folks stop by the water cooler to talk.  Well, that and the newest tech gadget

What I also found out was that although everyone had heard repeatedly of the cloud, there was absolutely zero consistency in what they thought it was…or what it could or couldn’t do for them.  Simply put, there was so much conflicting information about cloud “anything” being pushed into the market that people were basically tuning it out as so much white noise.  So many choices were available about what to do, how to think and where to go to get it that no one was making any choices at all.  It was essentially paralysis by analysis because the available data was just too gargantuan.

From our perspective at GreenPages, we like to break down the cloud to a very simple, straightforward concept (not a thing at all) and it is that cloud computing is:

  • The decoupling of the business benefit of the compute asset from the operation of that asset so that each can be optimized individually.

–     The engineer in the datacenter should neither know nor care which application is running on the equipment, his job is to optimize the operation of that equipment so that application services are delivered as promised.

–     Conversely, the business leader should neither know nor care where his application is physically located, it’s his job to optimize the generation of revenue for the organization using the application services delivered to him.

  • Cloud Computing is an infrastructure management methodology designed to optimize the entire IT organization.

So all the conflicting information out in the marketplace is really about how different organizations and vendors separate those two areas; business benefit and operations.  That separation is commonly what is called the abstraction layer which consists of automation, orchestration, monitoring and ultimately management of all of the inherent processes.  For on-premise (private) clouds there are many vendors that provide the tools and technologies for helping you to create the abstraction layer between the two areas and for off-premise (public and hybrid) clouds there equally as many vendors offering turnkey services that supply that abstraction layer to you.

Whichever direction you go, it is best to ignore the blaring trumpet call of the vendors and seek out a trusted advisor who will help you sift through all of the conflicting information so that cloud can be explicitly relevant to you and your organization. Oh, and one last note about blaring vendors and cloud;  I was at a trade show in Las Vegas recently where a major monitor (LCD) manufacturer was showing “Cloud Ready” desktop monitors…haa ha, just another addition to the white noise!

Next Installment: Been there, done that


More from Trevor: Wish you had an application store in your IT organization that worked like iTunes? Learn how to begin delivering cloud services more easily, and MUCH faster than you imagine…automatically.