Welcome!

Recurring Revenue Authors: Gopala Krishna Behara, Sridhar Chalasani, Tirumala Khandrika, William Schmarzo, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Enterprise Cloud Computing: A Question of Business Policy

What we are really witnessing here is the dawn of a new era in IT management

Few would disagree that the Cloud computing frenzy of the last year has put more, not less, pressure on the IT organization.   Much of this focus has been on the Public vs. Private Cloud debate, but what we are really witnessing here is the dawn of a new era in IT management.

For the last thirty years or so, since the earliest days of client-server computing, IT organizations have essentially run exactly the same way, desperately trying to keep their arms around an ever growing environment.  This includes growth in quantity and complexity of equipment, growth in applications, and growth in the level of significance to the business - and hence the demands from the business.

The IT organization's (wholly justified) need to retain control essentially came down to this simple maxim "if we let you play with it, you'll break it - and you'll likely break other people's stuff too".  In practical terms, this led to a line in the sand, where the IT organization provisioned everything, and then handed limited control to those that actually used it.   By ensuring users only had access to the machines running their own applications, or access as a mere user of those applications, all was well.

And for around twenty years this was workable.  But just as things started to creak, along came virtualization, which theoretically allowed you to do more with less, dramatically adding to reliability along the way.  And to some extent it did, but in reality it was just delaying the inevitable a while longer.

Fast forward to today, many enterprises are creaking again.   The level of work on the already over-stretched IT organization is becoming intolerable.  Machines (physical or virtual) take too long to provision and manage.  The business loses agility and gets frustrated.  The promised benefits of increased hardware utilization and lower costs haven't materialized.

And just when you thought things could not get any more complex, along comes Cloud computing to "save us all".    Elastic, fantastic, pay with your plastic, it's the answer to all our prayers, right?    Not quite.   What about those annoying little details like security and compliance?   And who is going to manage all this?  You guessed it - the IT organization, because nothing's changed, the Cloud is just another layer of complexity.

But there is an answer.   It's called the "Virtual Enterprise", and it's driven not by the necessary requirements of IT, but by business policy.

A Virtual Enterprise (of any size) has all the characteristics of a physical one, (machines, applications, storage, networking, administrators, users and so on) except that instead of computer hardware, it has computing resources.   These resources are familiar; terabytes of storage, gigabytes of memory, CPU cores, public IP addresses and so on, there just isn't any hardware - so you don't have to worry about buying it or fixing it - but you have total control over what you do with it.   Create Virtual Datacenters, appoint people to manage them, launch Virtual Machines and Appliances, either from a library of pre-built images, or upload your own, and launch them in seconds - all without any involvement or delays from the IT organization.

But before you IT types blow a gasket, all this comes at zero risk to the IT infrastructure.    First off, Virtual Enterprises operate within enforced resource limits, which cannot be exceeded.    Secondly, the actual mapping of virtual entities to the physical world is handled entirely by the system, according to the business policy.   Virtual Enterprise users never get near physical hardware, in fact, so long as business policy is applied, they neither know nor care where their stuff actually runs - so there is no chance of them breaking anything, or interfering with something that doesn't belong to them.

Freed from the tyranny of frustrated users, and the mind-numbing provisioning of virtual services, the IT organization can focus on what it does best - managing the IT infrastructure.   Infrastructure which can now be provided from a multitude of sources; your own local and remote datacenters, hosting providers, IaaS providers, wherever.  Complete elasticity, and the freedom to get the best cost/service for your requirements.

It's a cleanly delineated model where computing resources are provided by the IT organization and consumed by the Virtual Enterprises.  A model where neither side needs to interfere in the day-to-day operations of the other, and where both remain fully empowered.

Now for the really interesting part - business policy, which has the ability to resolve a multitude of problems, both existing, and particularly those associated with Cloud adoption.

First up is utilization.  Business policy decides where each virtual entity ends up, and hence can determine whether, say, to fully load one physical server before powering up the next, or whether to spread load evenly across available resources to maximize performance.   If you are a hosting provider, you likely want the former - in fact your business policy might even be to overload machines in the same way airlines overbook flights, and further to push load off elsewhere in the unlikely event everyone does show up.    Now we have an effective way to really improve utilization.

Next are security and compliance.   Need to comply with EU law ensuring employee data stays within the country boundary?  Set a business rule for the HR Virtual Enterprise.   Transaction processing must stay within a datacenter we own?  Set a business policy.   Need to ensure that Research and Investment Banking applications are physically separated?   Set another business policy.

And the list goes on - who gets to use the expensive hardware, what virtual entities need to be co-located, which must be separated for disaster recovery?     All these issues and more can be solved by business policy, and as public Cloud providers resolve concerns around security, those policies can be adjusted or relaxed accordingly.

The mapping of virtual to physical resources, hitherto largely determined by the provisioning IT guy, is a complex task which lends itself to policy based automation.   The benefits are potentially huge.

Virtual Enterprises, in conjunction with business policy, the basis of which would be determined at the CIO level, are the foundation upon which existing IT infrastructure issues can be resolved, and upon which Cloud computing can be safely realized.

Welcome to the new dawn.

More Stories By Pete Malcolm

Pete Malcolm is CEO of Abiquo, a leading vendor of Cloud infrastructure management solutions. Described by SYS-CON's Jeremy Geelan as “a beacon of light amid the murky fog surrounding Cloud Computing”, Malcolm is the inventor of the term “Resource Cloud”, a concept which provides complete separation between physical infrastructure providers and virtual enterprise consumers, with substantial benefits to both. Malcolm was previously founder and CTO of Orchestria, Benchmark Capital’s first European Entrepreneur-in-Residence, and a Senior Vice President with CA, Inc.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Among the proven benefits,...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile exhibited at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on qua...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cedexis will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cedexis is the leader in data-driven enterprise global traffic management. Whether optimizing traffic through datacenters, clouds, CDNs, or any combination, Cedexis solutions drive quality and cost-effectiveness. For more information, please visit https://www.cedexis.com.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Google Cloud has been named “Keynote Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Companies come to Google Cloud to transform their businesses. Google Cloud’s comprehensive portfolio – from infrastructure to apps to devices – helps enterprises innovate faster, scale smarter, stay secure, and do more with data than ever before.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vivint to exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California. As a leading smart home technology provider, Vivint offers home security, energy management, home automation, local cloud storage, and high-speed Internet solutions to more than one million customers throughout the United States and Canada. The end result is a smart home solution that sav...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Opsani will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Opsani is the leading provider of deployment automation systems for running and scaling traditional enterprise applications on container infrastructure.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Nirmata will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Nirmata provides a comprehensive platform, for deploying, operating, and optimizing containerized applications across clouds, powered by Kubernetes. Nirmata empowers enterprise DevOps teams by fully automating the complex operations and management of application containers and its underlying ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Opsani to exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California. Opsani is creating the next generation of automated continuous deployment tools designed specifically for containers. How is continuous deployment different from continuous integration and continuous delivery? CI/CD tools provide build and test. Continuous Deployment is the means by which...