Monthly Archives: September 2013

The Politics of Cloud Computing

Image of data secruity for colocation and hosting center.Problems are sure to arise when companies first adopt a cloud computing solution. For example, new technical and economic issues can create headaches for IT managers. One problem many companies do not foresee, however, is the internal strife that can come when transitioning to the cloud. This strife can amplify your organization’s internal politics. Planning for and addressing these new issues will help you navigate a successful implementation.

Potential issues include programmers who don’t want to relinquish control of their software programs and servers because they may have difficulty deploying application updates. Users may resist cloud computing due to fear of change or the unknown. Financial managers may worry about the costs associated with adopting new technologies. Even with potential disruptions, it is possible to get your team onboard with transitioning to the cloud. These best practices will show you the way.

Meeting the challenges of cloud computing adoption

The first way to mitigate concerns is to communicate the benefits your company will receive from cloud computing adoption. Discuss how adoption will save the company money by reducing the IT investment needed for using software as a service (Saas), as well as by reducing the maintenance workload for the IT department. Explain which cloud offerings you are considering, along with the benefits of each one.

The next way to ease discomfort is to address the specific concerns your employees have. Are they worried about security breaches? Do they dread having to learn a new way of doing things? Or, are they simply uncomfortable with a new wave of changes brought on by cloud adoption? Do your research and prepare answers to any questions your staff is likely to raise.

Often, problems arise when managers and departments are competing for resources. You will need to take a team approach. Take into consideration the varying needs of different cloud computer participants. For example, finance directors must consider data protection, environmental and other laws, not to mention costs and risks. CIOs have to manage a mixed and complicated environment. End-users may only have SaaS experience as consumers and software developers will have to evolve to the new ecosystem.

As part of the team approach, you may want to create a specialized team first to address the business issues that will arise with cloud adoption, as well as an IT team that actually implements the adoption.

Starting small is wise for adopting any big changes, and this holds true for transitioning to the cloud. Preparing your company for these changes should begin with significant consolidation activities first, before moving into the actual implementation of cloud technologies.

Recognizing potential problems before they arise will help your organization adopt cloud computing at a greater speed, with fewer headaches. Like crisis planning, the best way to tackle these problems is to plan for them before they occur. Doing so will ensure that cloud adoption is no crisis at all, just a shift in IT practices that will benefit your company.

Making the Business Case for Virtualization

Image representing cloud and managed hosting.Challenging economic times push businesses to look for more efficient ways of doing things, even if these new ways include risks and learning curves. Adopting virtualization is one way companies are evolving to become more efficient, and thus, stay ahead of the competition.

As with any new IT initiative, managers often find they need to “sell” the new technology to decision-makers before their company will even consider adoption. After all, new technologies typically carry expenses in the form of new hardware and software. Combined with the learning curve mentioned above, implementation can be costly.

When attempting to bring everyone on board with virtualization at your company, you’ll need to develop a carefully crafted business case. The following ideas will help you ease concerns about risks and costs as you underscore the advantages virtualization would give your company.

In a nutshell, virtualization eliminates the inefficiency of the old “one server, one application” model, in which most business servers are underutilized. With virtualization, one single server can function as multiple virtual machines, with each one having the ability to operate in different environments such as Windows, Linux, or Apache. When companies adopt virtualization, they are able to consolidate multiple servers onto fewer physical devices, helping to reduce space, power, and administrative requirements.

Virtualization offers quite a few other business benefits as well. It helps with:

  • Business continuity
  • Offers complete data protection
  •  Achieves continuous application availability
  • Provides automated disaster recovery across physical sites

Virtualization also enables you to simplify data backup and recovery and related systems to improve responsiveness through increased efficiency and flexibility. With all of these benefits on your side, your company’s IT initiatives will help drive innovation.

Specifically, consolidating operations onto fewer servers enables you to:

  • Dramatically lower hardware costs and the associated cooling and space costs
  • Improve productivity across your organization and free up valuable IT time by simplifying your IT infrastructure, leaving more time to focus on strategic initiatives
  • Reduce costly downtime and streamline business contingency planning so you know your data is secure in the event of a natural disaster or other unforeseen event

Now, let’s examine the ways your business can use virtualization to improve efficiencies and reduce costs.

One of the best benefits of virtualization is lower server infrastructure costs. Consolidating excess server and desktop hardware increases utilization rates, and reduced hardware means lower energy bills, too. You’ll save floor space as well because virtualization eliminates server sprawl because you to run multiple applications on a single server. Some companies reduce hardware and maintenance costs by as much as half.

Virtualization makes your company more efficient because it improves staff productivity, allowing your IT team to focus on more strategic projects that can help speed time to market for new products or services you are developing. Since IT employees won’t have to order and set up a new server for every new application, you can get applications up and running more smoothly and more efficiently than in the past. And, with fewer technical issues to manage, your IT team can focus on improving customer service or developing new projects.

Finally, backup and recovery get a huge boost from virtualization because your company is protected from downtime and disaster. Business continuity solutions can be expensive and complex, but even the smallest organizations can achieve a solid continuity plan with virtualization.

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to consider adopting virtualization for business. Now, it is your turn to sell these points to your team so you can begin reaping the benefits of virtualization.