Enterprise IT organizations are being challenged to transform to enable their business to
compete in the digital economy. IT is being challenged to reduce the cost of operating their traditional application portfolio, enable new mobile, web, social, and analytics applications, while not compromising their data security and compliance requirements. These competing imperatives are forcing enterprise IT to embrace modern cloud infrastructure to help meet these needs. The challenge many are struggling with is finding a public cloud service that can meet all their needs: traditional client-server application, along with development of new applications with much more agile, flexible, and less expensive infrastructure. In addition, many are expanding their use of software as a service (SAAS) for not only CRM, and payroll services but for HR, collaboration, and office productivity. The question is how do you find one cloud provider to meet all these workload needs? I believe this is the wrong question. Cloud is not a place but an operating model. Enterprise IT will need to manage a portfolio of cloud services optimized for multiple groups of applications with diverse workload requirements.
At a high level, determining the IT Cloud Services needed for your application workloads is based on two dimensions:
- Application architecture: traditional client-server, modern mobile, web, and social
- Application locality: can it run off-premises or must it run on-premises
This creates four categories of cloud services. The lower left quadrant is optimized to service traditional client server application like SAP/R3, and Oracle ERP applications. The lower right quadrant is a new type of off-premises cloud service provider that provides application expertise in addition to the price advantages of public cloud. EMC Virtustream, and Oracle cloud are examples of these cloud service providers. The upper left cloud services are optimized for modern mobile, web, social application architectures that you want to run on-premises. The upper right quadrant is general-purpose public cloud providers and software as service providers. Each of these cloud types is architected to minimize the cost to run the target workloads while providing just the services the application needs. For example, a Oracle database application requires a highly resilient storage infrastructure. If your table space storage suddenly becomes unavailable it is going be a really bad day. For a Hadoop based application if a data node suddenly becomes unavailable existing and new requests are re-routed to other copies of the data with minimal user impact. You need to make sure your application workloads are mapped to the appropriate cloud service.
There has never been a single IT infrastructure architecture to service all application workloads. The best IT organizations are able to offer a portfolio of infrastructure services with differentiated services, flexibility, performance, and costs characteristics. I have described a model that has enabled many of my customers to start thinking about their cloud service needs. As this model of cloud portfolio services is created new IT services and organization roles and skills are created. In future blog posts I will discuss the new cloud inter-working services, organizational roles and skill sets needed.