Here’s an excerpt:
Everybody is talking about cloud computing these days. The conventional wisdom is that, some day soon, entire enterprise data centers will be outsourced-offloaded to some secure, undisclosed location where IT resources will be available anytime at a nanosecond’s notice. It may sound outlandish. Then again, cloud computing is happening. While 55 percent of CIOs said in a recent survey(1) that they will not be using cloud computing in 2010, only 21 percent make the same claim about 2012. Many start-ups are already building data centers entirely in the cloud, and established organizations everywhere are testing the waters by contracting with software as a service (SaaS) providers, or outsourcing less-than-critical business services to cloud vendors.
Clouds, whether public, private or a hybrid of the two, will certainly become essential components of the enterprise IT mix in the coming years because of their potential for lowering costs, increasing efficiencies and enabling organizations to tap unlimited processing resources. But there are still serious issues to be resolved. Who do you call when something goes wrong? Will there be a paper (or digital) trail that proves compliance with policies and regulations? Can you identify physical, virtual and cloud resources and pinpoint their locations at any time? And can you control access to data, applications and infrastructure even while sharing processing resources with other firms?
The answer to all of these questions is a qualified Yes. The qualification? Intelligence, security and management must be integrated components of the cloud. Any cloud. Moreover, the workload—the integrated suite of software that includes the operating system, middleware and application—is where the necessary intelligence and management functionality must reside. To be truly intelligent, workloads must be self-contained, identity-aware, policy-driven software packages that contain integrated management and offer real-time monitoring and reporting capabilities. They must be able to optimize the use of enterprise resources. They need to be platform-agnostic and therefore able to run anywhere and be easy to move around. And, linked together, they have to be able to deliver business services.