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October 05, 2012

Executing a Successful Cloud Strategy with Confidence

While the small to medium-sized business (SMB) market is ripe for adopting cloud solutions, enterprises haven’t been as aggressive in implementing cloud-based technologies given that they have already made large investments in internal computing and infrastructure resources.

Much of that has to do with the uncertainty around cloud computing, according to industry experts who addressed conference goers at ITEXPO Austin 2012 in Austin on Friday.

“There is so much buzz and so much momentum behind it and there is this pressure to understand it. A huge part of cloud adoption has to do with education,” said Matt Wallace, director of cloud architecture at ViaWest. “There hasn’t been an enormous amount of use cases. There’s been a tremendous focus on vendor solutions and strategies, but there hasn’t been a lot of focus on enterprise use cases. There is an educational aspect where the ecosystem is catching up.

In terms of easing some of the barriers toward entry, there should be a focus on standardization, according to Gurvinder Ahluwalia, CTO of Private Cloud at IBM (News - Alert), who noted that many SMBS that are deploying cloud-based technologies are laying the groundwork for their larger counterparts.

“Until some of the softer aspects related to any change are prevalent in the characteristics in the SMB ecosystem, the behavior becomes similar to large enterprises,” in terms of reluctance to execute a cloud strategy, Ahluwalia said.

Control is another significant barrier toward cloud adoption, according to David Sampson (News - Alert), CEO at Cloud Provider USA, but the benefits of cloud are nevertheless intriguing for IT decision makers.

“A lot of the folks that are cloud-scared area also excited about no longer having to manage their internal infrastructure,” he said.

The management thinking regarding cloud also needs to change, according to Ahluwalia.

“What is going to be the new skill set, coming back to the software focus of the change. What is the new paradigm of managing virtual machines going to look like? The game of just managing VMs and spinning them up and down is no longer a sexy game, because that is no longer where the commercial asset of it is. You want to manage the entire stack, not just the VM,” Ahluwalia said.

“The aspect of ownership is a key one, but I also feel for the SMB it is less of an issue. There is a paradox toward security. The argument that security in cloud is better than security within the enterprise, which is the argument of cloud service providers because that is their core competency,” he said. “What’s going to drive [adoption] is not the technology, it’s going to be multi-tenancy, capacity, on a subscription basis and automation.”

Despite the uncertainty that looms among IT decision makers, enterprises can gain many benefits from cloud implementations which will be more understood over time, Wallace said, while emphasizing the confidence that businesses should have regarding cloud adoption.

“People who are deploying this, it’s their core competency. There is always this question of who is better at the IT function. When it’s your sole business, that’s the sort of person you want to trust,” he said.

Ahluwalia compared the current state of the cloud market to the early automobile market of the 1940s.

“It is at its infancy. We have a long way to go to get to that maturity. But we are now looking at is as not building the parts of the car and giving it to the customer and having them put it together,” he said. “We are giving them the driving experience.”

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Austin 2012, happening now in Austin, TX.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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