Cloud IaaS – One Size Does Not Fit All

Tim Beerman<br/>EnsonoTim Beerman
Ensono

Tim Beerman is Chief Technology Officer for Ensono.

“Do more with less.” It’s an increasingly common phrase heard by CIOs as they watch their budgets remain flat or shrink, and the scope of their IT responsibilities grow.

IaaS cloud services is here to the rescue. Well, possibly. Established and new cloud offerings promise to increase productivity, reduce hardware and software costs, and provide scalability. Of course, these services come at a cost both in money spent on services and resources as well as training to leverage them appropriately. Optimally implementing a new cloud service to meet specific enterprise requirements can be challenging and time consuming. And more, leveraging cloud IaaS often requires CIOs to hire and/or train new resources to understand the capabilities and limitations of the cloud platform. Understanding this, CIOs are beginning to look to experienced IT service providers as a cost-effective way to implement and manage the cloud service infrastructure.

An experienced IT service provider that understands best practices aligned with a particular enterprise IaaS can make an enormous difference in the ROI of the entire endeavor. Unfortunately, a service offering that fits one client may not fit another. CIOs will generally be well served if their IT partner can provide the insight required to help establish a meaningful baseline based on the client’s vision and cloud service capabilities. This guarantees the clients’ short-term goals and future needs are met, and that the service can be effectively managed and its value determined.

With customization options available in many complex IaaS offerings, how can you leverage a service provider to determine the best combination of capabilities? The following approach could be a great place to start:

  1. Ensure your provider gets an accurate understanding of the current business process and the applications that drive that process. Leverage the service provider’s experience. Service providers have typically solved similar issues in the past. By understanding how business processes are being implemented and looking for similarities across current and past engagements, there are often best practices that can speed up the process. This may take some investment, however, it ensures the service provider can best meet the business needs.
  1. Identify gaps in the current process and understand elements best served by cloud IaaS. Reviewing current processes with internal stakeholders and the client allows for a collaborative effort to pinpoint the exact processes that are working, but most importantly, those that may not be working or working less than optimally. Cloud services implementation can be tricky, and initial needs and requirements frequently evolve over time. In some cases the best approach is not to move an entire application to the cloud, or at a minimum there are likely dependencies on other applications or data that won’t transition to an IaaS platform. It can be very beneficial to not only choose a service provider that has expertise in designing and managing cloud IaaS, but that can also provide similar services for those parts of the infrastructure that cannot reside in cloud IaaS,
  1. Forecast and planning. Anticipating the future is critical to ensuring objectives are consistently met over the long term. Business needs inevitably change, particularly as companies grow or make operational changes due to dynamic market conditions, and cloud services and infrastructure evolve over time as well. A service provider can help shepherd you through the rapidly expanding cloud services environment. With the right services and capabilities they can help you quickly navigate the evolving cloud landscape and provide insight into how the cloud is projected to shift in the coming years. The right service provider should offer the flexibly both technically and commercially help leverage cloud IaaS in the right ways to achieve performance, scalability and cost efficiencies as your company evolves.

Cloud IaaS providers build services to cover a wide range of future and current needs and services. While it may seem efficient, it can leave many clients with less reliability or more services and cost than they actually need. But, by using this approach, clients are optimally positioned to get the most out of their cloud service. Having an experienced partner, one that understands the client’s needs and infrastructure, as well as the IaaS offering, can speed up implementation, improve results, and save money.

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