From government agencies to multi-national enterprises and SMBs, cloud computing is topping the agenda in IT boardrooms. Since the internet boom, experts and observers agree that there has never been a greater phenomenon than the cloud. With CIOs realizing that this new IT delivery model can bring significant potential benefits, the agenda has moved from considering cloud adoption to planning when and how their cloud implementation should begin.
As eager as organizations are to leap into the cloud, many have yet to understand that cloud computing brings a new reality to the data center. Early adopters have realized that a successful cloud implementation should run on a unified architecture that can provide elastic scalability and support an always-on service delivery model. To achieve this, data and applications must be decoupled from hardware, so that resources can be provisioned dynamically, transparently and seamlessly across the cloud environment.
Building success from the ground up
Many organizations focus on the server parts of their cloud implementation; but the new IT paradigm calls for a hard look at the storage infrastructure. For the cloud to deliver its potential benefits to the organization, CIOs must first understand that choosing the right storage platform is one of the most critical and strategic decisions that they need to make.
The new IT infrastructure must have the flexibility to respond dynamically to changing business requirements and the sophistication to offer strategies to enhance the efficiency of the shared environment. These can include solutions to optimize storage utilization, as well as features that can free IT teams from routine tasks and effectively transit into more strategic roles.
Here are three fundamental elements that today’s storage solutions must have to efficiently and effectively transit into the new IT reality.
- Service analytics can provide companies with greater optimization and efficiency. With full visibility into their end-to-end infrastructure, businesses can better understand how they are delivering their services and diagnose their performance and capacity problems. Additionally, good analytics can provide companies with insights to the usage levels of the services they use, allowing them to adjust service levels as appropriate and saving them unnecessary costs, while providing end-users with the tools they need.
- Automation will help companies save on time and resources required in data management. By defining storage service levels and policy-based workflows, the provisioning and protection of data can be automated, allowing businesses the flexibility to respond to business needs promptly.
- Self Service is another key solution to help IT teams save on time and resources. End-users would be able to request for, provision and enable protection for data, depending on the service level, which IT teams can define. This would free up critical IT resources for more strategic activities.
Nobody can go it alone
Since moving to the cloud means moving towards a shared infrastructure of pooled IT resources extending across the entire infrastructure – storage, networks, servers and applications – no one single vendor can provide the full scope of expertise, technology and services needed to build out a cloud. The migration to cloud computing is a multiyear/multiphase effort. Enterprises can look to best-of-breed solutions and cloud integrators to architect the right cloud business strategy to help them navigate the next steps toward a fully automated, service-driven IT environment.