The Evolution of IT as It Moves to the Cloud
Technologies such as virtualization and cloud computing offer the potential to reduce costs and improve operational efficiency – benefits organizations can’t afford to ignore. The shift to a cloud-based IT infrastructure is a goal for many, with 75 percent of enterprises at least discussing the implementation of these technologies. Whether you are just beginning to implement virtualization and private cloud computing or are already in the process, here are a few recommendations to give you the smoothest transition possible, based on the results of our 2011 Virtualization and Evolution to the Cloud Survey.
Keep expectations realistic. Because virtualization and cloud computing are still maturing, it can be a challenge to set appropriate goals. The survey revealed that there is often a gap between what an organization expects before implementation and the end result. In the area of desktop virtualization, for example, 82 percent of organizations expected that it would be easier and faster to deploy new endpoints. Following implementation, however, only 55 percent had actually realized that goal. This shows that there is still a lack of understanding regarding the capabilities of virtualization solutions, underscoring the importance of researching the proposed solution to understand its capabilities.
Make the most of current infrastructure. There are steps you can take to improve the efficiency of your current resources, which will then allow you to see what will benefit the most from modernization. Creating pooled resources by virtualizing static servers, storage and networking gives you a solid architectural foundation, but it is just as important to modernize and automate operational processes for things like self-serve provisioning, disaster recovery, security and compliance, and storage management.
Extend and leverage your existing infrastructure. With every major architectural era IT organizations are faced with a choice between rip-and-replace vs. building and extending existing infrastructure. The comprehensive nature of cloud and virtualization technologies means that keeping them isolated will hobble their potential or cause them to fail altogether. Organizations having the most success with virtualization and private cloud initiatives tend to be those who are mainstreaming them and building on existing infrastructure and processes, rather than setting up silo’d initiatives.
Keep everyone on the same page. The survey showed that business executives such as the CEO and CFO are the most likely to express concerns over the adoption of cloud and virtualization, particularly when it comes to business-critical apps. In addition the overcoming technical hurdles for quality of service issues such as security, compliance, performance and project success also requires socializing and educating management on what is possible with these new technologies and the service-level and cost savings benefits they can provide. Be sure to involve not only your IT teams in planning and deployment, but line of business executives and upper management as well. By following a carefully laid out strategy, you can make the transition to the cloud as smooth as possible.