Business Impact of Managed Cloud Services

David H Deans

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Disruptive shifts in power are forcing everyone to question the established status quo

The world of business is changing. Disruptive shifts in power are forcing everyone to question the established status quo. In particular, savvy chief executives are tasking IT organizations to help create compelling customer experiences, support new business models and adopt agile operational processes.

That's why the vast majority of IT and business leaders are joining forces on the organizations’ most pressing commercial needs and wants. They seek an open and flexible business technology foundation that's an enabler, rather than an inhibitor, to meaningful and substantive workflow progress.

Forward-thinking executives believe cloud services can empower them to achieve their strategic business outcomes. Moreover, they want their whole leadership team to collaborate across the business, developing a comprehensive IT strategy that utilizes existing infrastructure investments and the elasticity of cloud services.

Innovation: Opportunities vs Challenges
Meanwhile, CIOs are still compelled to manage the legacy IT infrastructure, while supporting new demands for flexible systems that enable digital innovation. Leading organizations are already blending traditional IT and cloud infrastructures to achieve better business outcomes.

They're planning to adopt more new technology, such as cloud-enabled video services, enterprise mobility apps, social business, IoT and big data analytics. They're very busy efficiently supporting current business objectives with existing infrastructure, and yet they must ensure that IT drives strategic value for the company.

What's more, they're using Hybrid Cloud to springboard to next generation activities that allow them to capture new markets. But there are many others that are still assessing their immediate needs, while considering all the options. Embracing cloud is a work-in-progress. The journey begins with an understanding of the basics.

Cloud Services: Enabler of Disruption
Cloud is now viewed as an impetus for innovation and collaboration. CEOs identify business technology as the number-one factor they see impacting the success of their organization. For these forward-thinking leaders, technology isn't just part of the infrastructure needed to implement a business strategy. It's what makes entirely new disruptive strategies possible.

And without that technology in place to spark continual innovation, CEOs fear being left behind. As a result, CIOs foresee a huge shift in their own roles and responsibilities, as they evolve from an IT service provider to a business innovation enabler.

Often, the private versus public cloud question is not viewed as an either/or decision. Informed organizations are frequently opting to utilize both platforms – what's typically called an Open Hybrid Cloud services environment.

Hybrid Cloud: Pathway to the Future
Hybrid cloud computing dramatically increases your ability to create, deploy and integrate new digital services quickly -- allowing your organization to keep pace with a shifting economic landscape and increasingly competitive marketplace.

We define hybrid cloud as the secure consumption and integration of services from two or more sources, including private cloud, public cloud and/or traditional IT infrastructure.

A hybrid cloud allows access to data, applications and services where they are most optimally placed -- whether on a public cloud, private cloud or on-premise within an existing IT infrastructure, such as the traditional enterprise data center.

A hybrid cloud approach typically encompasses a wide range of choices including service providers, delivery configurations and billing models. It's designed with the flexibility to change and integrate environments, data storage and services as needed.

Once implemented, a hybrid cloud offers many benefits, including the ability to compose, orchestrate and manage diverse IT workloads, thereby exploiting the portability of stored data assets and associated software applications.

Hybrid Storage: Data in Motion and at Rest
The growing adoption of cloud computing is having a corresponding impact on IT storage evolution. Today's digital business imperatives rely upon easy access to data insights. Next generation enterprise storage solutions support the need to capture, manage and perform real-time analysis on exponentially expanding pools of unstructured data.

That being said, most current enterprise IT environments already include some combination of on-premise block, file and object storage technologies. Over time, utilization of the diverse mix of storage platforms can become sub-optimal.

Data is grouped into three common categories: frequently accessed data (hot data), infrequently accessed data (warm data), and rarely accessed data (cold data) that's stored on slow, less-expensive storage. As hot data cools down and is accessed less frequently, it can be dynamically moved to the optimal storage platform(s).

An adaptive, modular hybrid cloud storage model can increase your flexibility and enable you to choose from all the best-fit solutions. So, how do you deploy a storage model that supports the fluid movement of data? Russ Kennedy describes an evolved approach to proactively securing and moving data to the most appropriate platform, in his insightful editorial entitled "Hybrid cloud storage: Past, present and future."

More Stories By David H Deans

David H. Deans is the Managing Director at the GeoActive Group. He has more than 25 years of experience in the Technology, Media and Telecom sectors.