Cloud is trend, not fashion, as fashion will fade away, but trend turns to be reality.
From Wikipedia: Cloud computing is the use of computing resources (hardware and software) that are delivered as a service over a network (typically the Internet). The name comes from the use of a cloud-shaped symbol as an abstraction for the complex infrastructure it contains in system diagrams. Cloud computing entrusts remote services with a user’s data, software and computation
Cloud is both reality and mainstream now, but cloud is more as an evolution than revolution. Small is the new big. Thin is in, in devices too. Some say we are addicted to shrinking devices with expanding services. Cloud computing is the engine that supports the continued trend of getting more done on smaller devices, regardless of location. Cloud computing provides the way to seamlessly access massive data stores via the elegantly simple services you find on your mobile device.
1. Cloud Lenses
Some may say, Cloud is a bit ambiguous, as Cloud has indicated the abstraction of IT As A Service eco-system. an overarching computing delivery model, it means different things for different audience and customers
(1) From business/IT leader perspective
Cloud becomes a cornerstone of almost every organization’s strategic differentiation to its customers, and the most valuable tool to engage its users. The more important question is: What is your customer-centric, cloud supported strategy? Will it deliver business benefit? Along with what business benefit?
- Agility: how to tackle business problems or enable innovation via better, faster, cheaper IT services, which can be accessed anywhere? Or running IT more like a business.
- Elasticity: Scale up/down easily. New business ideas testing / piloting without upfront capital investment of IT, software development teams are using cloud computing to accelerate development operations and achieve efficiency and effectiveness;
- Integration: Cloud instances and virtualization greatly enhance continuous integration and delivery. Cloud computing and virtualization make it easy for agile development teams to seamlessly combine multiple development, test and production environments with other cloud services.
- Resilience: via Cloud based backup restore or Business continuity services, business has better disaster-recovery capability;
- Flexibility: Update 80/20 rule: IT can spend majority of resources on business innovation related projects.
(2) From Enterprise Architect /IT Professional perspective :
SAAS model may not be a new concept for many IT veterans, it’s more about evolution of traditional IT, the Consumerization of IT, a more radical digitalization. Cloud makes EA ponder deeper on how to enhance SOA (application portfolio and virtualization) to actual infinite hardware resource, how to use API to glue Cloud building blocks, how to blueprint outside-in architecture to delight customers?
From one of the industry surveys: “Everything” has already changed, say the 511 business IT professionals, all from small to large businesses, Adoption of cloud services has been on a consistent upward pace for the past four years, One-third of 2012 respondents’ organizations are already receiving services from a cloud provider, and an additional 40% are in the planning or evaluation stages.”
(3) From employees or individual consumer lens:
It’s the internet of things, if you use internet, email, social media, mobile, etc., you are already on the cloud.. Interestingly, from another consumer survey: “54 percent of the respondents said they never use cloud computing, but nearly all of them do. The services they use constitute a decent outline of what consumers can actually do with the cloud. Forty-five percent said they have played online games; 29 percent store photos online; 22 percent store music or videos online; and 19 percent use online file-sharing.”.
2. Alphabetical Soup of Cloudification
Cloud does become critical tech “air” to survive and thrive both individual and business life, though it maybe still too soon to say XAAS –Everything As A Service, it’s time to cook interesting alphabetical soup of cloudification with all letters available:
- API as a service (APIaaS)
- Business Process as A Service (BPaaS), Back-Up as a Service
- Communication as a Service (CaaS), CMAAs (Cloud Migration as a Service), CRM as A Service
- Database As a Service (DaaS) .) Desktop as a service (DaaS)
- Email as a Service, ESB as a Service (Enterprise Service Bus), EDM(Enterprise Data Management) as a Service, Encryption as a Service..
- File as a Service, FOSS (Free & Open Source Software)
- Governance as A Service, Gamification as A Service
- Human Capital Management as A Service
- Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), Integration as a Service
- JDK (Java Development Kit) as A Service; JDBC (Java Database Connectivity As A Service)
- Knowledge Management As A Service
- Log Management As A Service
- Monitoring as A Service (MaaS)
- Network As A Service
- Open Source As A Service, OLTP (Online Transaction Process) as A Service
- Platform as a service (PaaS), Procurement As A Service
- Quality Assurance As A Service (QAAS)
- Risk Management As A Service
- Software as a service (SaaS), Storage as a service (STaaS), Security as a service (SECaaS)
- Test environment as a Service (TEaaS)
- Unified Communication as A Service
- Video As A Service; VOIP As A Service
- WLAN as A Service
- XML Web Service
- You Tube Service
- Zettabyte Data at Cloud
3. Cloud is A Business Strategy
Cloud is the most natural progression of web advancement and technology revolutions. However, just going to Cloud for the sake of cost reduction couldn’t help business for long term, as major gaps in how organizations are selecting, integrating and monitoring the services their employees depend on. The bulk of cloud initiatives come from the ground up and are reactive, in response to line-of-business requirements. IT rarely has an overarching vision of how it all fits together.
The business risks of using these services also depend on two key requirements: durability (protecting your critical data from loss) and availability (keeping your systems up and running). It is essential to evaluate the roles and failure modes of cloud services in your application, and how they affect durability and availability.
There’re three phases of evaluation and preparation in Cloud journey:(1). Pushing Cloud envelop takes good strategy; Organizations need well articulate the business cases, the goals, the pros and cons, the value/risk/cost when migrating to cloud; Especially for businesses which have well done the experiment on cloud, to take more aggressive steps, EA or data life cycle management, GRC., all need be considered accordingly.
(2). Cloud Vendor Evaluation, not every cloud is shaped as same: some are rain maker, some may not, and not every vendor is true cloud service provider, do research and accumulate more knowledge before jumping in. And get consultant’s opinion if necessary.(3) Cloud Security/GRC Enforcement: security and GRC may still be the biggest concern to step into cloud, the reality is: Cloud doesn’t make your business more secure or less secure, it’s just the different set of issues facing organization, and it’s actually good time to re-imagine the possibility with security innovation and GRC convergence.
The integration of Governance, Risk and Compliance Management initiatives into one converged approach is not easy. There are huge benefits to organizations that perform the duties involved in true GRC convergence. A successful, embedded and integrated GRC approach will result in a transparent organization, with streamlined processes, significant cost and time savings, reductions in key controls and risks, and numerous options for business performance improvements.
Cloud is about new mindset, cloud is the democratic way to enjoy technology, what a wonderful life in Cloud!