It is currently the word on everyone’s lips, ‘it will revolutionise the way you work’, ‘it will solve all your problems’. The Cloud is this mythical beast that otherwise sensible and rational beings are falling over themselves to spend money on.
So, the question is, what is the Cloud?
Forget about trying to describe the physical nature of the Cloud. For me, all the Cloud is, is a method of accessing an IT Service without having to worry about how big the computer is or where it is all located.
What people seem to conveniently overlook is, you still need to ensure that the IT Service is what you want, being in the Cloud does not automatically mean it solves everything. Meeting all the classic functional and non-functional requirements are still of utmost importance if you are to deliver a solution that fits the customer needs.
The proliferation of Cloud services is undoubtedly down to the World Wide Web and the way information can be transferred, at high speed, from most places around the globe.
However, we have been using Cloud services from way back into the last century.
Does anyone remember ICL mainframes, for one?
ICL developed an operating system called Virtual Machine Environment (VME). This enabled their mainframes to be split into virtual machines, running independent services for any number of solutions. I was involved in an outsourcing solution (that was the word on everyone’s lips back then), where we ‘rented’ some space on an ICL mainframe. It was hosted somewhere in Yorkshire, but that was immaterial. The connection was via a piece of wire that wouldn’t support a PC these days, but it was then much less demanding of bandwidth.
The more demand put on the CPU and storage usage, the more the charge went up.
So, if we review this, it was:-
- Hosted somewhere outside of the organisation
- Accessed via a comms link
- A usage based charging model
Does this not describe the Cloud?
In Cloud speak, this was a Platform as a Service (PaaS), as the software continued to be developed in house, but none the less Cloud.
The Cloud is not new (relatively), by another name it has been used for many years, but Cloud is as good a name as any, just don’t be fooled into thinking it is the magic bullet.
The concept can take away the headache of provisioning infrastructure, it can also provide Software as a Service, but the point is that you must put in the work to design exactly what the solution will deliver for you.
From a Service Management point of view, the challenges are still the same, if not more so. How do you ensure availability and performance? How do you resolve any issues? How do you change any functionality? You may have absolved the need to record details in your CMS, but increasingly you need to step up your supplier management process, to ensure that these controls are suitably managed.
Additionally, it is increasingly prevalent to get your costs managed? As costs are usually based on usage, controlling Capacity is a big issue, it’s easy to create additional environments, but keeping them ‘rightsized’ is a challenge. Managing cost needs effort, so don’t assume the cloud supplier will be going that extra mile to help you on this score.
iCore have been managing Clouds before Clouds were invented, so we’re a step ahead.
iCore has provided consultancy and pragmatic delivery helping many organisations to change their IT Service Delivery to adapt to new and emerging technologies, frameworks and working practices.
If you would like to discuss how iCore can help you then contact us on +44 (0) 207 868 1600 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.