Book Review: Is Your Company Ready for Cloud?

Our contributor Bill Kleyman reviews recently published book on cloud strategy, which features discussion of the high-level value of cloud computing while diving into specific use-cases as well. The authors - one currently at IBM, the other a former IBMer now at Dell, really delivered the message of where the cloud is beneficial – and where there are still challenges.

Bill Kleyman

August 23, 2012

7 Min Read
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The following review is for the recently released book, titled "Is Your Company Ready for Cloud? Choosing the Best Cloud Adoption Strategy for Your Business" by Pamela K. Isom and Kerrie Holley, IBM Press. Bill Kleyman, Virtualization and Cloud Architect, and Data Center Knowledge contributor, shares his review and thoughts on the subject.

The modern IT environment is struggling with identifying where a certain cloud model would be a good fit. Executives from all industries are attempting to enter the cloud market and ensure that the plans they put forward will be long lasting and scalable. One of the challenges facing these executives is the plethora of information on cloud computing already available for review. One of the most important planning points in designing a cloud solution is to go through the ever-important information gathering process – that's where this book is of true value.

Too often, books are written with a specific focus on a particular aspect of cloud computing. Authors Pamela Isom and Kerrie Holley were able to simplify the language and really take the definition of the cloud to a new level in “Is Your Company Ready for Cloud.” Approaching the high-level value of cloud computing while diving into specific use-cases really delivers the message of where the cloud is beneficial – and where there are still challenges. This review examines the book in its entirety and will illustrate the message that the authors do a very good job of delivering.

Identifying the Cloud Model and Establishing the Core Business Value

The authors of this book do an excellent job of making the reader pause and take a big step back to truly analyze the concept of cloud computing. With one of the best introductory chapters that I’ve seen in a while, “Is Your Company Ready for Cloud?” starts with a great list of expectations for designing a cloud solution. By establishing the layout for a cloud model, readers are able to understand all of the little prerequisites that go into designing a solid cloud platform. Summarizing just a few points, the authors analyze some of the following concepts early on in the book:

  • Creating the cloud vision

  • Using the cloud to drive business innovation

  • Defining cost structures and ROI

  • Creating a cloud management platform with metrics, governance and future planning.

As the authors note, creating the vision and drive behind a cloud model is an important first step in understanding how the cloud can help an organization. Once a solid foundation is set, there are several other considerations which need exploring. When creating the general lifecycle for a cloud model, it’s important to understand the adoption methodologies and initial planning points. This involves creating business architecture around the cloud and creating core transitioning plans for the cloud model.

It’s not enough to just design a cloud solution. As part of their general explanation, the authors take the time to highlight how organizations must take the time to understand how their current infrastructure. Furthermore, the elaborate on how the existing environment will scale and transition to a newly created cloud model.

Managing and Identifying a Cloud Candidate

A large part of having a successful cloud deployment is delivering the right cloud model in the first place. This book takes the time to help the reader identify and establish the right cloud candidate and how to make the right decision. There are two ways the authors examine this question:

  • Top-Down Analysis

  • Bottom-Up Analysis

Once a strategic model is in place this book carries over into a very important and very well laid out topic: management and governance. Controlling the cloud is an essential part of creating a powerful solution. Making policies, understanding financial ramifications and creating an organizational structure are just a few of the topics covered by the authors. Visibility into a corporate cloud environment means using the right processes and tools. The idea here is to be proactive – rather than reactive. Furthermore, when is it the right decision to create a private cloud model or to outsource? This is where the book begins to really outline the details of a cloud computing migration.

Controlling Risk and Planning the Transition

Whenever a new technology is being deployed, there will always be an element of risk associated with that project. “Is Your Company Ready for Cloud?” takes a truly holistic approach to the concept of risk management by identifying root causes for risk in a cloud environment. The authors highlight one of the first steps in mitigating cloud risk as identifying whether the cloud model is truly conducive to the overall business strategy. Too often organizations fail to look within their own structure to understand whether a cloud model is good for the entire company. In further analysis, the authors do a great job of outlining some hurdles which some IT executives might face. Pushback may include stakeholder rejection or a lack of internal expertise. “Is Your Company Ready for Cloud?” does a great job of examining this risk among other as well.

Cloud models will often spark the privacy conversation early in the adoption process. In this book, the authors aim to not only advise the reader to the right model – but they go a step beyond. They examine the balance between privacy and having a more transparent cloud infrastructure. This means understanding the levels of privacy that go into the cloud environment and how it will affect the organization.

Once a plan is in place, it becomes time to plan for the full transition into a cloud model. The actual process is an entire planning step in itself. Preparing the infrastructure for a cloud migration takes time and the coordination of several departments. As part of their explanation, the authors dive into the transition and implementation planning process. Depending on the model of the cloud, the reader can truly take away the various components of cloud computing.

Final Thoughts

There are many white papers and books covering cloud computing. However, few can truly identify how cloud computing behaves and the various planning components that go along with the technology. In “Is Your Company Ready for Cloud?” the authors do an excellent job of keeping the conversation very agnostic and highly informative. The book closes with some very practical considerations including:

  • POC and pilot programs

  • Workload considerations

  • Buyer and seller recommendations

The reality is that cloud computing can have a lot of uses. There is no one right answer for every environment simply because every infrastructure is unique. In this book, the authors are able to outline core financial considerations and deployment strategies which will undoubtedly help guide the reader into the right decision-making process. As an added bonus, the book includes a few cloud case studies as well as current business trends revolving around cloud computing.

Overall, I would highly recommend “Is Your Company Ready for Cloud?” to anyone looking to move their environment into the cloud. Remember, this is just one book – there are many ways of delivering a powerful cloud solution. In the area of cloud computing, information gathering is one of the most important first steps. From that perspective - “Is Your Company Ready for Cloud?” is the perfect place to start.

Book Details

"Is Your Company Ready for Cloud? Choosing the Best Cloud Adoption Strategy for Your Business" presents a complete guide to cloud decision-making for executives in both technology and business roles. Isom and Holley provide case studies and techniques to help readers understand when cloud investments do and don’t make sense for a given organization. Pamela K. Isom is a Global Principal Consultant at Dell Inc., where she leads very large cloud strategy and next generation data center engagements. She formerly led cloud integration and interactive solutions at IBM Global Business Services. As a graduate of Walden University, she is an active alumni and participates in IEEE, The Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).  Kerrie Holley, IBM Fellow, is the global CTO for application innovation services in IBM’s Global Business Services (GBS). Holley's expertise inlcudes technical leadership, oversight, and strategy development, consulting, and software architecture as well as providing technical leadership for IBM’s SOA’s and Center of Excellence.

Editor's Note

We encourage readers to share their favorite or recent cloud-related book or resources in the comments below!

About the Author(s)

Bill Kleyman

Bill Kleyman has more than 15 years of experience in enterprise technology. He also enjoys writing, blogging, and educating colleagues about tech. His published and referenced work can be found on Data Center Knowledge, AFCOM, ITPro Today, InformationWeek, NetworkComputing, TechTarget, DarkReading, Forbes, CBS Interactive, Slashdot, and more.

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