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With the post-Thanksgiving holiday season now in full force, it’s a good time to take a step back and consider all the planning we do must do to make sure things go off without a hitch. Personally, there are a few areas that take a lot of planning cycles including travel, time off, gifts, and of course, food. Missteps in any of these areas can quickly lead to a holiday nightmare.

 

When it comes to planning, the cloud is no different from the holidays. A well planned cloud strategy is the difference between IT heroically ushering in a brave new era of cloud, and cloud being a failed project that creates a new silo and leaves users unhappy.

 

To be clear, there will be those in the business that oppose building a holistic cloud strategy. Some will object and say that the whole point of cloud is to remove irrelevant planning cycles. We don’t need to plan, we can just start using Openstack internally, and AWS for public cloud! Organizations that jump headfirst into cloud do so at their own peril. What they will quickly find is that Openstack is not ready for the enterprise (think Linux circa 1997). Not to say it won’t get there, but as many are realizing, it isn’t there yet.

 

Public cloud services like AWS pose other problems. With a little planning, companies can save a lot of money by pooling their usage and buying reserved instances, instead of using public cloud in an ad hoc fashion. And it’s no secret that public cloud usage, for all its benefits, creates governance challenges. From regulatory compliance to simple financial governance, diving into any public cloud without planning is a recipe for disaster.

 

At the end of the day, IT is ultimately on the hook to deliver services to end-users. IT must consider these end-users when planning for cloud. Are we building a developer sandbox that just needs to spin up development environments? Or are we letting folks in marketing provision their own SharePoint instance. Who is paying for this thing! Do we have enough capacity to meet users’ demand when we launch our cloud? Our experiences with customers thus far has taught us that answering these questions thoughtfully is not simply an interesting project, but crucial to the success of your cloud initiative.

 

So as you plan for the holidays, take a minute and think about what would happen if you skipped planning this year. Chances are you’d pay too much for your flights, your boss would be mad at you, your family wouldn’t get gifts that they wanted, and you’d serve substandard food that might ruin your holiday meal. You wouldn’t neglect holiday planning, and you should not neglect cloud planning either. You can learn more about how BMC helps organizations plan for cloud here

Dominic Wellington

Shadow clouds

Posted by Dominic Wellington Nov 25, 2011
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William Gibson famously said "the future is here already, it's just unevenly distributed". It's the same thing with cloud computing. Often I speak to architects, managers or strategists who tell me that of course they are looking at cloud computing, they are performing a market survey, they are analysing the technology landscape, and so on. However, while these worthies deliberate, very often back in the cubicles some developer or marketing person, fed up with the bottleneck and rigidity of corporate IT, is turning to Amazon or one of the other public cloud platforms for their needs.

cloudshadow.jpg

 

What is the problem here? Well, that public cloud resource that was purchased so easily requires the same care and feeding as the servers sitting snug behind the corporate firewall. However corporate IT is not even aware of the existence of that server, and the developer or marketing person is hardly likely to keep up corporate configuration standards; after all, they have their own jobs.

 

This is the first snowball rolling down the mountain, but it quickly becomes an avalanche. Maybe a development system goes into production by accident (an all too frequent occurrence), but now that dev system is sitting... Well, nobody knows exactly where it is, but we never get to find out because its lease expires and the provider turns it off automatically, sowing havoc. Maybe some details of an as-yet unreleased product wind up on the marketing server for restricted early access, but it's not properly locked down and by the next morning they're all over every blog's front page.

 

This is what is known as "shadow IT", outside of formal processes and control. Meanwhile, management is still planning, analysing and surveying.

The answer is not to lock everything down and prevent anyone from ever using these types of services. The correct response is to move at the speed of cloud and use all kinds of resources  appropriately. Today, a pharmaceutical company uses the public cloud, not for their intellectual property or for confidential patient details, but for complex calculations and simulations that demand a lot of compute power for each run. Today, companies around the world use public cloud providers for peak loads, but keep their core processes and sensitive data inside the firewall. We ourselves at BMC use public cloud resources for certain tasks, but ensure that no source code leaves our network.

 

In many ways the situation is similar to BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, the new tendency to allow employees to use their own devices together with, or even as an alternative to, the company-supplied standard. I wrote this blog post on my personal iPad, which I am also able to use to access internal corporate systems, at the cost of installing a management agent which enables BMC IT to wipe it if I lose it or leave the company - a reasonable trade-off for me. The same approach needs to be applied to the cloud: employees will use their iPads and Amazon clouds no matter what. IT's task is to make sure that they do so in a way which strengthens the company instead of exposing it to unnecessary risk.

Roy Ritthaler

Cloud = Competition

Posted by Roy Ritthaler Nov 7, 2011
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I have been reading a lot of good material recently about the impending renaissance of IT, the tension between formal and informal IT users, and what is and is not a real cloud project. This blog galvanized when I met an old friend this morning, who works for a competitive company, and within the first three sentences he stated "everyone is doing cloud, aren't they?”

portercloud.png


 

While an overstatement, cloud continues to gain not lose momentum in the market. It is today’s most vibrant technology market. Why? The answer is - competition. Cloud is a set of technologies and market structures that invite competition, not walls.  As a result, the market is hyper competitive in ways that are new and innovative.

 

We are used to competition among industry vendors. Cloud is not different - we are seeing intense competition for cloud infrastructure heat up between suppliers of OS and hardware. Also, since barriers to entry are relatively low, the industry is inviting new entrants at a rapid pace. We are seeing new categories emerge quickly, like cloud management, cloud security and cloud application management. Predictably, infrastructure vendors are trying to assimilate these adjacent spaces, but the growth of those categories, the number of participants, and the emergence of a different class of solutions and market leaders belies their 'one size fits all' assertions.


 

But what is truly novel in cloud, is that it is also enabling additional competitive dynamics we are not used to. For one, there has been a relative increase in the power of buyers. While the base technologies of cloud – virtualization, portals, automation, operations, capacity management – have been in place and are stable outside the cloud, they were pushed together primarily through economics. As the recession of 2008 took hold, IT purchasing decisions have been increasingly made at a business level, and the business demands for flexibility and cost savings became strong and concurrent. Vendors who communicate in the language of business and who can deliver on their requirements have the upper hand.


 

And perhaps most powerfully, we have witnessed the emergence of a credible substitute for IT service at a fine grained level - the public cloud. Public cloud offerings, at the infrastructure, platform and application level enable apples to apples comparisons with private cloud solutions that the infrastructure vendors focus on. And they are also not like outsourced offerings, offering a much simpler economic model, flexibility and low switching costs. The rapid rise of viable public cloud offerings has changed the competitive game, and is a huge disruptor to business as usual for vendors and buyers alike.

 

It comes down to a simple fact- businesses have, for the first time, the ability to manage their services, applications and infrastructures across internal and external suppliers. Their decisions are driven less and less by technology, and more and more by the factors that lineup directly with P&L And, there's a robust range of choice and tradeoffs between cost and quality and performance.


 

The result - a hyper competitive market and an emerging operating model that is new and fresh.  Implications?  You betcha.


 

For vendors, given this new dynamic, the old competitive models no longer fit. It's not just about disrupters and incumbents, or embrace and extend. It's about an entirely new class of competitor with a different delivery, pricing and customer service models. The disruption is multi dimensional, technology disruptors are enabling disruptionin the buyer’s home markets. Incumbency means less than ever. Closed, proprietary systems will not guarantee  success.


 

For IT shops used to competing with themselves and with last year's budgets, they not only have more choice, but are dealing with direct, head-on competition themselves.  No longer can they assume that if they build it, the business will come and use it. A pre-requisite to providing service to the business are competitively featured, priced and delivered offerings.  It's about selling the internal solution to business users and buyers on its merits, and helping the business find external sources if warranted. And, it’s about building and operating management processes, governance and tools to control and measure the new multi-service, multi-supplier landscape.


 

Will cloud computing cause a renaissance of IT? It depends completely on the vendor or IT organizations’ response to competition.

 

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There’s no doubt about it, If you haven’t already moved to the cloud, it’s time to consider doing so. The global cloud computing market is predicted to grow to $121 billion by 2015, up from $37.8 billion in 2010.

 

Yet while the pressure is on to join the massive rush to the cloud, doing so without thoughtful planning can create problems down the road.

 

Join us as we talk with Eric Blum, Chief Technology Officer for EMEA at BMC software about how cloud planning and design can lead to greater success and cover the following areas;

 


  • A lack of planning in a cloud initiative can lead to problems later. What kinds of problems are we talking about?

 

  • We talk more about moving to the cloud from a planning and design perspective. What are the key steps to cloud planning?

 

  • Beyond these initial steps,what are some strategies for success with a cloud initiative?

 

  • A failure to set priorities with a cloud initiative is equivalent to “boiling the ocean.” How do you prioritize the needs?

 

  • Some real-world examples of successful cloud planning?

 

  • What additional resources are out there to learn more?

 

 

To learn more about BMC's Cloud Management solution, view this short two minute video

 

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