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Featured Business Issue

06 Apr 2009
What is a Cloud? Is Cloud really a Rain maker?

The current economic scenario presents interesting challenges to business and IT. With companies moving to cash conservation mode, there is a significant drop in the IT spend and a near freeze in capital investment like infrastructure. This forces businesses to live with what they have while they should be empowered to meet the current challenges.

More than ever, rationalizing IT cost has become a key priority. Infrastructure and Support, key components of
TCO, has been gaining attention for significant cost reduction leveraging emerging trends like Cloud Computing.

What is a Cloud? Is Cloud really a Rain maker?

We define it as an abstraction of the physical computing infrastructure with the ability to assign and scale
computing cycles, memory and storage as per the needs of the application and to pay as per usage.

Cloud provides some outstanding benefits

1. No Capital Investment – With no upfront cost and fine grained billing for infinitely scalable resources, doing
away with investing in computing power provides a CIO enormous flexibility. In a service mode, Infrastructure
has to be only factored for average level of usage and spike in need is met through on demand availability of
any of the computing component. This significantly reduces the infrastructure spend.

2. No fixed or over provisioned infrastructure investments – Customer can start using this service with
flexibility to scale and to stop. The support team will aid/assist customer ramp up and down.

3. Big company advantages @ Small company prices – Shared services is an effective methodology to cut
costs and provide better quality of service. Cloud service enables just that for companies that internally don’t
have the economies of scale at prices that are suitable / applicable for the smaller /midsized companies.

4. Secure Environment – The relevant/applicable data center required security standards are available, with
required access / authorization restrictions in place. Additionally all data transfer can be encrypted for security
in transmission.

Where / how do I get started/Will cloud computing by itself solve the issues?

The biggest question organizations have is where do they get started and how should they go about
leveraging it, what are the applications they should start with, which cloud suits them, what are the workload
factors etc. Companies will need services capability to migrate pieces to the cloud and packaged managed
service for specific functionalities or capabilities.

Towards this, Thirdware created an Integrated Managed Service practice; the first offering from this practice
is delivering an integrated managed service leveraging the IAAS provider – AWS to deploy the enterprise
application suite of Oracle-Hyperion EPM products.

This Integrated Managed Service offering is made of 3 parts

Cloud based infrastructure – An external cloud based infrastructure, which has extremely low cost
structure with high SLA levels and usage based costing.

Prepackaged EPM Application Infrastructure – A Hyperion software infrastructure image that has been
uniquely created and optimized for cloud deployment. This completely removes the cost and complexity involved with set up and creation of the environments which is usually a challenge even in the on premise environments.

Built in Application/ Infrastructure Support Service – Setup of support team, which offers 24/7 support
services at the functional, technical, application & infrastructure layers. This support service offers pre
defined SLA’s and inherently cost efficient using the shared services model.



What are the immediate / current use cases which lends itself to Cloud Computing in the enterprise?

  • Development / Test Environment – external teams
  • Sandbox for developers – Prototyping
  • Training Environments
  • Proof of concept
  • Disaster Recovery environment



What are the concerns / challenges I should be aware of?

Data Security

a. Amazon Data Center Standards
b. Encryption for Data transfer (both ways)
c. Lock down server only client/support team can access
d. Backup & Recovery process (no single point of failure)

Ability to migrate to the cloud

a. Detailed Migration toolkits

Control over variable costs

a. Daily / Weekly Reports
b. Monthly Recommendation reports
c. Alerts against defined ceiling limits

SLA

a. SLAs at both infrastructure & at the application layer
b. Integrated SLAs

Software licensing in a cloud environment

a. Most big ISV’s have signed up to the cloud
b. Oracle, IBM, Red hat etc etc

Will Cloud then lead to a torrent?

IT Infrastructure has been always been treated as an asset held close to heart and protected with all of physical
and virtual securities. This may not change in the near future with companies holding on to their traditional data
center approach. But the economics of the cloud providers make Hardware / Infrastructure / Platform as a service
a compelling argument. This is perhaps the best time to evaluate Cloud and exploring relevant use cases for
your environment.

 
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