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Cloud availability trumps security concerns when it comes to Shadow IT

Dave LeClair, Senior Director of Strategy at Stratus Technologies | Feb. 3, 2014
As pressure mounts to deliver value with ever-increasing speed, lines of business (LOB) are often drawn to cloud computing's ease of use, flexibility and rapid time-to-value. The resultant Shadow IT created by use of consumer grade cloud computing resources usually raises questions about enterprise security, but the real risk is the potential for downtime due to inadequate availability.

The expectation of most public cloud providers is that your application needs to be constantly adjusting to their failures. This is exactly what led to the well-publicized Netflix outage last year. An entire Amazon region had availability issues and their expectation was that the individual customers needed to work around those failures. Better to have a solution that prevents failures from causing outages in the first place.

4. Tap the advantages of OpenStack for private clouds. Many enterprises are building private clouds to achieve control for applications with security, availability and compliance requirements. Which means making important decisions about which technology to build on. Implementing open source technology lets you avoid the dreaded "vendor lock-in" that can limit you down the road. OpenStack is emerging as the preeminent open source cloud computing platform. With broad industry support and open APIs, OpenStack offers greater flexibility to select the best-of-breed availability technologies that meet your needs — including the new breed of software-defined availability (SDA) solutions. Why limit yourself to whatever the "closed solution" vendor may (or may not) provide? With OpenStack, you'll be able to keep your options open.

5. Keep an eye on the innovators. In a space moving as rapidly as cloud technology, there is tremendous innovation in the works — including advances that offer exciting possibilities for private cloud availability. One such innovation on the horizon is technology that would enable selectable provisioning of availability on demand to ensure applications have the fault tolerance they need, when they need it.

For example, a financial application may only require the highest level of availability at the end of the month or quarter when the books are closing. Providing the highest fault tolerance during this timeframe, and lower fault tolerance the rest of the time, would be an efficient use of capacity while effectively managing business risk. Such an on-demand availability capability is not yet here. But it's coming.

The need to be more agile is driving LOBs to the cloud. The need to retain control over security and availability is driving IT organizations to deploy private clouds. By improving communication between LOBs and IT, by carefully evaluating real-world availability requirements, and by deploying the most flexible and open technologies, IT managers may just find a way to keep everyone happy.


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