Australian Cloud Computing is Transforming IT
To become more responsive, organisations are seeking information technology solutions that align with business strategy and are truly flexible enough to support changing needs and conditions. At the same time, budgets remain static or barely keep pace with the growing data requirements of existing applications.
To reconcile these conflicting demands, organisations need to transform the way they manage their information technology – to reduce capital expenses and operating costs while becoming nimble enough to meet the business challenges they face today and tomorrow.
For many organisations, cloud computing presents an appealing opportunity to do more with less for their IT systems. Cloud computing enables organisations to consume technology infrastructure, applications, activities or content as needed.
The concept of cloud computing, where computer hardware and software is delivered on demand from centralised data centres, is transforming the way enterprises purchase IT infrastructure. The simplicity that comes with accessing computing resources – such as server, storage space and applications – from a secure data centre with complete self service capabilities is appealing to organisations that are struggling to control costs or cope with rapidly changing business needs.
Cloud Services represents a significant shift from the traditional client-server computing model where infrastructure is distributed and made available to users working across multiple locations. In fact, it more closely resembles the early days of computing when technology resources were deployed from a mainframe system at a central location. Users were oblivious to how services were delivered or which hardware and software platforms were used.
These days, however, organisations are engaging managed service providers, which own and operate data centres, to deliver server capacity and applications over high-speed broadband links. Cloud computing takes this concept one step further by making a set of predefined services, delivered from large, centralised computing and storage systems, available to customers ‘out of the box’.
Cloud computing is a ‘utility’ computing model where customers simply select how much computing power they need and when they need it. They can increase hardware capacity with business demand, more easily meet regulatory and compliance obligations, set services levels to match business requirements and avoid unnecessary capital expenditure.
However, IT departments may be reluctant to embrace cloud computing because of their doubts about:
- Security – through concerns of safety to put data outside the corporate firewall and how do I control it once it’s out there?
- Border Controls - with concerns on how to ensure the company’s data stays in the right place and within the legal jurisdiction necessary.
- Lock-in – raising questions about the ability to move a company’s data and applications in the need to switch providers at any time.
- Licence Options – questioning whether a business can use its current licences or what licences will work in a Cloud?
- Infrastructure – that is, on-demand infrastructure estate delivering compute, storage and infrastructure applications. This includes pay per use, providing the option to be billed for what is provisioned and consumed, thereby allowing for predictable and controlled costs that match the resources of the business.
- Application – which is predominantly the provision of an application through a pay per use or subscription based model. This includes Self Service, which enables a business to retain control and with the ability to govern IT services in real time with no involvement from the provider.
- Activity – the ability to subscribe to a business process or function as an activity. For example, Fujitsu is currently working with a customer to provide this service for large volume mailing services. Essentially delivering a platform which is able to respond to the dynamic shifts in business demand ensuring supply is equally coordinated up or down.
- Content – essentially, the provision of content services which can be subscribed to from an application or a platform. The best known consumer example of this is probably iTunes and the ability for that application to access a pool of content be it Music, Movies or Audio Books.