Cloud, conservatism and communications failure

In the IT world there are many new methods and ideas for how things can be done being developed and debated, and the move to the cloud is the big hot topic at the moment.

What is clear is that these new ideas could bring unexpected opportunities for any business under pressure to cut costs.

While CIOs should be trying to embrace these changes, it seems that senior management is getting in the way of the move to the cloud, as is shown by the results of the ITGI report published in Computerworld this month.

This will always be a sticking point for investment in any new technology that involves business-critical applications – but why cloud in particular?

Is it because the benefits of the cloud are being over-hyped and too technical and thus people are becoming even more cautious?

Whatever the reasons, it is understandable that the business is reserved about the security aspects of cloud services; however it appears that the main fear is being out of control as applications are spread over ever more complex set of heterogeneous environments.

This issue of CIOs failing to communicate the benefits of new technology such as virtualisation and the cloud is evident in a recent report from Acronis in its Disaster Recovery Index which found that IT managers are failing to back up virtualised servers as much as physical ones.

As part of its recent partnership with VMware to develop tools for virtualisation in business, Capgemini also claims that “efforts to virtualise enterprise infrastructure are being undermined by the failure of IT chiefs to communicate the benefits to business colleagues in non-technical terms.”

This could mean that not enough is being done to alleviate the concerns that the business has and that IT managers are not implementing best practice in managing different environments and applying them when they should be, which adds significant risk.

Surely the more complex the environment, the more important it is to ensure that data is secure and all applications are managed and under control.

And the move to the cloud should be no exception to this rule; especially with issues around cloud sprawl.

By adopting automation, software can be run to orchestrate workloads across hybrid environments, operating systems and applications, which if used effectively can solve these issues.

Service governance, as its natural evolution, will predictively diagnose and trigger resources at precisely the right times in line with agreed SLAs, around the clock, reducing manual resource requirements and capacity expense and limiting virtual and cloud sprawl.

While there is natural conservatism about putting business-critical applications in the cloud, this should be an area that IT managers look at first to identify how this can best be done to maximise the benefits for the business.

The issue appears to be that IT managers are too bogged down with administrative tasks to give enough time to planning and dealing with how to move the most urgent applications to the cloud.

This is where there is a disconnect between IT and the business as the IT chief lacks the time to demonstrate that they will mitigate against any security risks and maintain control in the move to the cloud.

It will not be until they gain the trust of the business will IT teams be able to move forward with the cloud.

Again, by using automation tools to take away the administrative burden of an IT manager’s job, they will have the time and energy to focus on innovating and thus being able to prove its worth to the business.

Trust is something that is built up over time, so IT teams need to start acting now to start planning and developing a valid business case for the cloud, but be careful to not make it too technical.

Craig Beddis, is a senior v ice president at  automation software vendor UC4 Software

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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