Welcome to cloud reality
By Damien Wong, Red Hat 02-May-2012
Some might forgive you for thinking that window shopping for cloud computing opportunities makes you a progressive, forward thinker who is a foot ahead of the flock. That might have been true one or two years ago… but you're not going to get away with that kind of rationalization for much longer.
It is high time to put to rest the perceptions that cloud computing is merely a visionary, 'future priority.' Cloud computing is very much the here and now.
Whenever the topic of cloud computing is raised, everyone has an opinion, whether it's about questioning the value of cloud computing, evaluating the best and worst cloud computing models, or even probing the security behind cloud computing. And similarly, when it comes to the subject of investigating cloud computing, every business has its own priorities and decides what's important. But, no matter what the size of the business, its industry, its geographical location, or its maturity, every organization has this in common -- it needs to increase efficiency and keep down costs. Businesses across the region -- and the world -- are united by this need to control the bottom line.
In Asia Pacific we're seeing a growing realization amongst the enterprise community that cloud computing has even greater business potential. In his March 2011 report, "Benchmarking Asia Pacific CIOs' Attitudes Toward cloud Computing," Forrester's Tim Sheedy suggests in order to achieve cloud success it's essential to move beyond benefits like cost savings and speed of deployment.
"A vendor shouldn't just sell you a "cloud-in-a-box" that's limited to their technology stack."
-- Damien Wong, general manager, ASEAN, Red Hat
"The true test of business alignment of cloud services comes in their ability to drive real business outcomes. Increasing agility of specific business processes, adding new capabilities for the business, and helping develop a business-outcome-based testing strategy are the types of reasons that your peers are building cloud services into their current and future road map for business technology," says Sheedy.
Organizations like NTT Communications are actively demonstrating that cloud computing can be a powerful strategic force that places an organization in a highly competitive position. Efficiencies gained through cloud computing can enable more high-value projects that pave the way for improved business innovation and growth and ultimately, market leadership.
While that all seems straightforward, it begs the question why isn't every business in Asia Pacific actively engaging in the development of cloud computing strategies right now? From boardrooms and server rooms around the country CIOs and IT decision makers might reply in unison "If only it were that simple." But in fact, I believe that it can be. Unfortunately, like in other regions, Asia-Pacific cloud computing adoption has been impacted by a lack of education and understanding, which is giving way to confusion, uncertainty, and to a degree, fear. It's human nature to fear what we don't understand, but cloud computing should be celebrated for its potential, not become the source of a new phobia.
The media have commentated on numerous cloud migrations, particularly those that are best-practice implementations and that have achieved impressive returns. With a number of cloud computing models available, being guided by best practice is smart. The catch is to avoid vendor trickery and lock-in and maintain the freedom to build and adapt a cloud computing infrastructure that is advantageous for your business now and well into the future. A vendor shouldn't just sell you a "cloud-in-a-box" that's limited to their technology stack. A vendor should become a true cloud computing 'partner' who works with customers to ensure solutions are agile and scalable, as well as being secure and reliable. To deliver this, a vendor must understand the customer and its business and what it is required to run leaner, innovate faster, and be more flexible.
Damien Wong is general manager for ASEAN, Red Hat