Optimizing IT in the new hybrid Cloud world

Avinash Garg, senior director, Cloud and Infrastructure Services at Unisys India, says Cloud computing continues to be a critical game changer. It’s transforming the way business operates and how IT departments operate.

Even the essential skill sets in IT are developing to meet the challenges of this new model. Faced with the evident benefits of moving to the cloud environment, many companies are devising new strategies. But there is a lingering doubt and uncertainty about how to architect a cloud environment that best fits their needs and addresses their security concerns.

Security and cloud computing are some of the most strategic technologies for businesses today. Enterprise-proven security that evolves to meet future threats will provide additional assurance to enterprises and governments that are moving core operations to the cloud.

Cloud and Infrastructure Challenges

The fundamental challenge that the CIO and Head of Infrastructure are facing today is one of complexity. How can businesses safely leverage the full potential of cloud computing with existing IT delivery models to achieve faster time to market, mitigate risks and ensure regulatory compliance at reduced costs and overcome other challenges?

Cloud computing is a substantial trend with the potential to increase agility and lower TCO. Today, however, security risks, obsolete technology, and other concerns inhibit widespread enterprise adoption of clouds.

Key challenges

Cloud computing as a disrupter that increases complexity and challenges the IT company’s span of control

Infrastructure platforms facing total cost of ownership pressures due to implementation through application considerations as opposed to a standard infrastructure design

Security negotiated due to range of new IT “assets”, such as cloud and mobile, which break the old-style security perimeter

It is evident that the security issue has played the most vital role in hampering cloud computing acceptance in India and global.  Familiar security concerns such as data loss, phishing, botnets, stuxnet pose grave threats to organization’s data and software. Moreover, the multi- tenancy model and the shared computing resources in cloud computing has introduced new security challenges that require fresh techniques to tackle with.

Resulting Requirements

Reasonable judgement directs that the cloud platform should be enterprise-class in all aspects and should consist of not only Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), but also Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). And the level of integration between all these services should be important. Further, many analysts believe combining hybrid clouds with public and private platforms offer the utmost benefits. So cloud platforms should be common with on-premises IT, which enables moving workloads effortlessly between private and public clouds.

Tips for selecting cloud providers  

# Governance and an Integrated Service Management solution to monitor, analyze, predict and act across an enterprise’s entire IT infrastructure and to regulate usage, ensure stability and operational efficiencies

# Structured Platform Architecture that preserves existing factors, protects application performance – yet leverages benefits of cloud

# Advanced Security that extends the enterprise, at the same time proactively protecting at the data layer rather than the compute

As a result we believe that companies need to focus over the next three years on harnessing the power of hybrid IT. One of the first tasks in the hybrid IT journey includes understanding the various cloud service and implementation options available, and then choosing the right mix based on the specific needs of an organization’s users and/or customers.

For today’s global enterprise, making the decision to move applications and data to the cloud is just the beginning. As the hybrid model brings together the benefits of both the public and private cloud, it continues to emerge as the most suitable environment for enterprises seeking the most flexible, scalable and agile option.

The overlap of many forces – the consumerization of IT, explosion of mobile devices and social applications, increase in user expectations for high-performance service – have transformed the scope of mission-critical computing. As a result, enterprises are trading in their old, obstinate, on-premises data centers for hybrid IT infrastructures that bring the best of legacy systems, cloud services and platforms together into a unified fabric – one built to meet the many and variable needs of today’s user.

However the journey to a hybrid IT environment can be an uncertain one, marked by worries around interoperability, business continuity, security, and more. This is why it is imperative to partner with a cloud provider that not only covers the technology portion of the equation, but also has the capability, best practices, and established solutions to address the entire range of challenges the hybrid IT journey creates.

Avinash Garg, senior director, Cloud and Infrastructure Services at Unisys India