A journey to the cloud looms

Tech February 14, 2012 00:00

By Thomas Conrad Zack

4,432 Viewed

Cloud computing is coming and businesses need to be ready. The transition to public or private clouds is gaining pace as companies realise the potential for transforming business capabilities and driving new innovative services. In fact, while cloud servi


To put this in context, cloud-related IT spending was only 4 per cent of the total IT market in 2009, but is expected to increase to 12 per cent of the total IT market by 2014.
  Cloud computing is all about creating a solution that delivers a new class of distinctive services and business value while keeping IT investments costs at a minimum. Companies that embrace cloud computing have access to a massive amount of computing resources, including storage, applications and data. These capabilities were previously too costly for small and mid-size companies to implement on premises, but the cloud now provides the opportunity to access affordable yet sophisticated business management software and create new business connections. For large enterprises with established software and mature IT infrastructure, cloud computing provides significant opportunities to improve IT operations, efficiency and time-to-value.
  Before making a commitment, companies need to establish a road map to implementing cloud-based solutions and addressing important areas such as data integrity, data consistency, rigorous compliance, and unifying business processes across the company.
  Cloud computing represents a fundamental shift in how applications and services are developed, sold, maintained and consumed.  That’s why it’s imperative for vendors and IT service providers to take a comprehensive, flexible approach to help their customers drive greater innovation, integration and collaboration across three essential areas of cloud computing: Software as a Service (SaaS); Platform as a Service (PaaS); and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). 
SaaS enables companies to access applications on demand to meet their broad requirements, while PaaS provides an integrated business process platform with open and flexible deployment capabilities to help companies build and run applications on premises. On the IaaS side of the equation, while consumers do not manage or control the underlying infrastructure in this case, they do have control over operating systems, storage, deployed applications and some networking components. Instead of having to invest in the actual infrastructure, companies are being billed on a consumption basis. 
Cloud adoption is expected to accelerate at a rapid pace over the next decade. As such, the prevailing belief is that the best way to help companies prepare and successfully exploit the cloud is to provide a comprehensive portfolio of on-demand and on-premise solutions, as well as significant innovations and benefits from partner eco-systems.  
  In addition to accessing the public cloud, companies can also opt to virtualise their own data centres and run their systems on a private infrastructure cloud. Virtualisation has become an established opportunity to reduce TCO [total cost of ownership] through increased operational efficiencies. However, companies choosing this path require reliable and easy-to-use cloud management technologies and services in order to best virtualise and manage their on-premise systems. 
Based on the belief that a hybrid environment will emerge in which organisations source some services externally through the cloud while continuing to use their own systems, technology providers need to help customers embrace a cloud strategy based on their unique needs. On their journey to cloud adoption, organisations can use the following according to their needs.
Regardless of their location, companies that quickly embrace the cloud will have a significant advantage over their competitors. 
With a well-defined road map and a partnership with a trusted technology provider, companies can start reaping the benefits of cloud computing today, and are well positioned to pass up the competition tomorrow.
Thomas Conrad Zack is managing director of SAP Thailand.