One of the issues in the ongoing debate over the pluses and minuses associated with cloud computing is how clouds will impact IT. From an IT management standpoint, many traditionalists believe that the proliferation of cloud services is creating chaos.
But I firmly believe that the alternative management that comes with cloud services offers advantages that can help IT and demonstrate its value to the organization.
There is no question that the consumerization of IT is cause for concern among the IT community, which fears that ad hoc cloud adoption can lead to real security problems. Renegade end users and strategic business units (SBUs) unilaterally adopting standalone software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and even platform as a service (PaaS) offerings can also produce interoperability challenges with legacy systems.
Just as these end users and SBUs have discovered that today’s cloud alternatives offer more than just greater ease of use at a lower cost than their old systems, enlightened IT people are also finding that leading enterprise-class cloud services generally provide stronger access control, activity monitoring, performance measurement, and configuration capabilities than their on-premise predecessors. This means that they are not only easier to deploy, but generate better management controls and reporting as well.
Ask any seasoned IT manager about the pitfalls of managing IT in the past and they are likely to point to the complexities of the established on-premise management platforms, such as IBM Tivoli or HP OpenView. Sometimes these systems have actually compounded IT challenges rather than solve them.
This is not the case with today’s cloud management solutions, the best of which provide analytics that enable IT to verify service level compliance among cloud service providers, performance management tools to enable service optimization, and management reporting to clearly prove the value of the services to corporate executives and end users.
So smart IT professionals are beginning to employ these new tools to help them better manage their mix of on-premise and cloud-based resources.
For example, the Enterprise Strategy Group found in their 2012 IT Spending Intentions Survey, published this past January, that 28 percent of organizations surveyed were using cloud computing services as a way to control IT costs, up from only 13 percent in 2009.
Leading IT management vendors are attempting to combat this new competition by acquiring some of the leading cloud management vendors and/or promising new startups in this space. This was the impetus of BMC Software’s decision to buy Numara Software in January and CA’s acquisition of Nimsoft in 2010.
What does cloud management mean for the IT community?
Just this: It’s time to get over your fears of the cloud. Learn how today’s cloud management tools and solutions can make your job easier and more clearly demonstrate your value to the rest of the organization.
Jeff Kaplan is the managing director of THINKstrategies and founder of the Cloud Computing Showplace. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.