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Cloud computing calls for rebuilding enterprise IT

Bernard Golden | March 22, 2012
For all of the buzz about cloud computing, there remains confusion about its real implications for an IT organization.'s Bernard Golden argues that to take full advantage of the cost savings and efficiency improvements of the cloud, CIOs have to rethink their approach to IT.

Just as important, though, will be a financial approach that provides real-time feedback and analytics to enable application groups to assess the tradeoffs in terms of deployment location, load variation, time-of-day load shaping, and other factors.

To be blunt, the kind of crude assertion that an internal storage deployment can undercut a public storage provider based on the cost of an array fails to comprehend how revolutionary a transformation is required in terms of IT finance. This is not about proving that one alternative is cheaper than another -- it's about ensuring that the right alternative is selected based on application characteristics, and ensuring that any of those applications can be deployed into environments that support the necessary functionality at an appropriate price. Any CIO who cannot support such a sophisticated analysis of overall application costs is assuring his or her own obsolescence.

In my view, cloud computing represents a step change in IT. We've had lots of experience bringing in new generations of technology -- the shift from mainframe to mini, from custom RISC chips to commodity x86 chips and so on. The list is lengthy.

But cloud is the first technology shift that implements automation, thus removing human intervention from the equation. The logic of automation requires a radical rethinking of every aspect of IT processes and operations. Those who recognize this imperative can succeed in the future. Those who insist on cramming it into existing constraints will find the future a much less friendly environment.



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