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Cloud Expo: Article

Managing IT in an Environment of Change

Enterprises need to react to changes in new and innovative ways

The growth of mobile devices generated by smartphones and tablets is driving universal access to information in the multi-channel era. Similarly, social networking is a disruptive change that influences many aspects of consumer behavior. The large amount of data created through these means requires analytics to help enterprises respond to market dynamics. Cloud technologies help enterprises analyze this data in a timely manner, enabling enterprises to deliver significant advantages over their competition.

On January 22, 2013, Oracle hosted an executive roundtable in Cincinnati for enterprise IT users to discuss these changes and associated challenges. Attendees represented a variety of industries, so their requirements varied, but the fundamental need to transform how enterprise IT adapts to these changes was the same. Common questions that surfaced during this conference were mainly centered on:

  • Security: Thinking about security policy in the public cloud environment with the same passion as when using an on-premise data center is necessary. Cloud use cases are different from on-premise computing with a separate set of risks. In the current environment (without excellent skills and experience to build a foundation for secure cloud use), it would be shortsighted to place critical information on a public cloud.
  • Analytics: The volume, velocity and variety of data in today's world require newer technologies to provide rapid insights for timely decision-making. The biggest challenge in analytics is in simultaneously processing both structured and unstructured data coming from multiple internal and external sources. Cost effective analysis of unstructured information in near real time provides enterprises the capability to respond to fluid markets; however, these capabilities cannot be achieved without developing proper skills.
  • Consolidation: While moving towards cloud adoption, enterprises need to optimize their current IT infrastructure assets. Consolidating platforms, applications, communications and social collaboration tools is a good way to launch into a new era of business agility. Several vendors provide converged platforms to arm their customers with an infrastructure that enables them to gain a competitive advantage. While such infrastructures provide a cost advantage, it is more important to measure value from the standpoint of the business agility gained.

At the conference, Cardinal Health provided a great example of consolidating their infrastructure with a shared database environment using Oracle's Exadata platform. A company representative discussed the challenges of quickly implementing a new platform into an IT environment that prefers to control its own environment rather than depend on a common platform. However, the cost effectiveness of utilizing a common platform for development, testing, staging and production environment suited the needs of multiple departments. Performance and supportability also played a big role in encouraging the adoption of the Exadata platform by Cardinal Health.

In addition, Helen Sun from Oracle presented the "Art of the Possible" with analytics. Sun's presentation demonstrated how much data is created and consumed in 60 seconds that helped envision the volume, velocity and variety of data. Another area that Helen focused on that should not be overlooked is the information architecture model and data governance. Big Data use cases, like fraud detection and customer churn prevention, helps customers understand disruptive change possible with new technologies.

The dynamics of mobile, social and analytics are causing cloud technologies to become a critical resource in building an infrastructure capable of meeting new enterprise IT challenges. Infrastructure growth is a significant challenge to enterprises trying to meet these demands without blowing their budgets. One way enterprises are facing this challenge is through infrastructure consolidation that involves managing compute, storage and network capabilities in a single environment. The demand for a common platform to handle analytics is the answer for CIOs looking for business agility. For analytic workloads, the consolidation capability of Oracle's Exadata is an option customers should evaluate.

Disclosure: Oracle is one of my customers

This post was first published on Robustcloud.com. Republished with permission.

More Stories By Larry Carvalho

Larry Carvalho runs Robust Cloud LLC, an advisory services company helping various ecosystem players develop a strategy to take advantage of cloud computing. As the 2010-12 Instructor of Cloud Expo's popular Cloud Computing Bootcamp, he has already led the bootcamp in New York, Silicon Valley, and Prague, receiving strong positive feedback from attendees about the value gained at these events. Carvalho has facilitated all-day sessions at customer locations to set a clear roadmap and gain consensus among attendees on strategy and product direction. He has participated in multiple discussion panels focused on cloud computing trends at information technology events, and he has delivered all-day cloud computing training to customers in conjunction with CloudCamps. To date, his role has taken him to clients in three continents.