Journey to the cloud ? An evolutionary perspective

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By Deon Del Mundo The market has been abuzz with news about the potential of cloud computing in the past few years, but really, it is embracing an evolution of sorts for enterprise businesses, one where the cloud is moving from boardroom conversations to reality. We envisage the journey to the cloud as a phased one. In their journey to the cloud ? more of an evolutionary process and not triggered by any particular development or revolution ? many organizations have consistently explored opportunities to strengthen their existing technology infrastructure to ensure they become a better internal service provider for various lines of business and organizational departments. Clearly, the objective has been to provide greater agility and responsiveness to business needs, higher quality of service in terms of latency & availability, and lower costs and higher utilization. Organizations have realized that their datacenters still have dedicated silos, where each application runs on its own middleware, database, servers, and storage. Each silo is sized for peak load and therefore there is a significant amount of excess capacity built in. Each silo is also different, leading to complexity and high costs to manage. Organizations are today moving from these silos to a grid or virtual environment with shared services, dynamic provisioning and standardized configurations or appliances. Majority of the companies I talk to are engaged in some form of consolidation, though they may be doing this in only a portion of their datacenter. Many organizations will further evolve to a self-service private cloud offering the same flexibility and incremental cost advantages to end users as public clouds, but with less perceived risk and greater assurances of security and accountability. This idea is gaining increasing acceptance among large organizations and according to a survey conducted by a leading analysts firm over 40 percent of approximately 1,000 organizations surveyed reported plans to implement some type of private cloud in the next few years. Similarly, a recent survey conducted among IT and data managers/professionals with the Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG) found that private cloud formations are growing in many companies, often outpacing adoption of the public cloud. In the meantime, we believe public clouds will continue to mature and eventually create a potent mix of private and public clouds, a ?hybrid cloud?, which will run a single application, managed in a federated manner, ?through a single pane of glass.? For example, in a cloud-bursting scenario, an organization might run the steady-state workload on the in-house private cloud, on hardware and data centers owned by the organization. But when there?s a peak in the workload (such as at the end of the financial quarter or ahead of the holiday season), it can dynamically burst out to a public cloud and take advantage of that capacity. When the peak is over, return that capacity back to the pool and shed that cost. We think cloud bursting is still someway off in the future, but it certainly is very compelling. Organizations which have adopted SOA in their datacenters will be in a better position to take advantage of Cloud Bursting. Organizations will evolve through these basic stages at different rates of speed, and will occupy several stages all at once. In other words, organizations will leave some stable legacy applications in a siloed mode. They will consolidate other applications to a virtualized, grid environment. And for some types of applications, they will move to a full self-service private cloud and ultimately to a hybrid cloud model. All of this will take time, as we are still in the early days of cloud computing. While a move to cloud computing can bring huge operational and financial rewards, it is a complex task and requires careful planning. Here are some suggestions for organizations embarking on the cloud journey:

? Integrated application-to-disk platforms speed up the ability to exploit cloud computing and reduce business and technology risks.

? Virtualization is a key enabler of cloud computing but managing clouds is another crucial element. Managing all virtual machines and clusters is quite complex, especially with self-service, multi-tenancy, metering for billing/chargeback, and other requirements of cloud computing. To reap the full benefits of cloud computing organizations need to choose the right management solution.

? It is imperative for organizations embracing the cloud to take an approach where security pervades the entire architecture rather than being bolted on as an afterthought. organizations should not only look at products with best-of-breed security in their respective categories, but also the one where security mechanisms are well integrated, enabling ease of deployment, ease of change, and high reliability.

? In order to reap maximum business benefits from this hybrid cloud approach, customers must adapt middleware technologies that will seamlessly bridge this divide and help them continue on their path of business agility and transformation.

Oracle offers a comprehensive set of cloud computing solutions that are complete, open and integrated ? spanning applications, middleware, database, operating systems, virtualization, servers, storage, networking and management of the entire stack. These include building and managing private platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds, customer options for running Oracle technology in public clouds or on-premise and enterprise applications that are deployed on a shared services private cloud as well as a public cloud model via Oracle on Demand. Oracle is a cloud computing leader with thousands of customer successes. For example, Oracle Cloud services have allowed Oracle University to reduce its hardware consumption to one tenth by increasing CPU utilization from 7 percent to 73 percent and automatically provision 2,300 environments on a weekly basis. Oracle University has also been able to reduce power consumption by 40 percent. Credit Suisse built a private, self-service, Java Platform-as-a-Service using Oracle WebLogic, consolidated over 200 applications onto the platform, saved 35 percent in operating costs, reduced 85 percent of their servers, and avoided 44 percent power increase while doubling capacity. As customers look to further reduce IT costs by hosting shared services, consolidating workloads on fewer physical resources and lowering IT administration costs, evolving from a grid to a cloud platform will become more prevalent. The author is the country sales director for technology at Oracle Philippines]]>

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