Archive for December, 2010

Key Considerations When Moving to IaaS

Rahul Bakshi is  the Vice President, Managed Services Solution Design at SunGard Availability Services

Now that more enterprises are starting to embrace IaaS and the cloud, here are some key considerations when making the cloud move:

First and foremost – prior to evaluating providers – it is critically important for an organization to know and understand how its applications are architected and the benefits it is looking to obtain from an IaaS solution.  This includes, but is not limited to – testing and certifying on virtualization, testing performance characteristics, and understanding any application interdependencies.  Similarly, enterprises need to articulate what they are hoping to achieve from a cloud solution.  Is it capacity on demand – reduced provisioning, services and infrastructure as needed?  A solution addressing those needs could look completely different from one where the goal is improved service delivery via automation and integration which reduces the costs and dependencies associated with building foundational solutions. 

Secondly, as all clouds are not created equal, enterprises also need to weigh their own security and compliance requirements as they evaluate options.  Different solutions providers offer different levels of security, and some providers cater specifically to vertical markets that might have particular compliance requirements.  How the service provider delivers the service (architecture, support structure, reporting capabilities) must be align with the business requirements.  For instance, PCI Level 1 merchants will likely not use a shared fabric whereas those processing lower volumes of transactions may, if the appropriate controls are in place.

Lastly there is the question of managed versus unmanaged cloud.  An organization needs to understand the line of demarcation between what the cloud vendor provides and what the customer picks up on its end.  For example, is the solution managed all the way up through the operating system (virtual machine) and then the customer focuses on its applications?  Or is the customer primarily looking to capitalize on a provider’s investment in infrastructure and offsetting capex?  And organizations that are looking for managed services need to ensure that those services are backed by SLAs around availability and/or performance.

Should Email Live in the Cloud?

It’s a question a lot of people are asking.  Let’s hear from Matt Carey, senior director, product marketing, at SunGard Availability Services and one of the Cloud team members on the topic. 

Should email live in the cloud?  The customers I’ve talked to say yes, and the analysts agree that email is the #1 application being evaluated for migration to the cloud. 

Fact: 71% of companies will adopt cloud

Recent research  by SunGard and IDG Research among key decision makers from mid- to large-sized companies shows 71% of respondents will be operational within the cloud over the next 18 months.  Forty-size percent already have implementations in progress, 12% will be operational within the next 6 months and the remaining 14% within 12 to 18 months.

Fact: 59 % see email as the most popular candidate for cloud

Email rated as the most likely production application to be moved to a cloud by these same respondents, followed by CRM/BI/Business Analytics and E-Commerce/Transactional applications

The drivers of this trend to migrate email to the cloud are the economics and the elasticity.  The economic appeal is obvious.  It is a labor-intense application requiring 24/7 monitoring and management.  Because the cloud is elastic, you can turn-up or turn-down the infrastructure as needs dictate, rather than always support the peak scenario.

Right for you?

Regardless of what others are doing, is moving email to the cloud right for you?  To make that decision, you need to consider a couple best practices.  First, you need to determine your existing costs associated with hosting and managing your email application, so you have a baseline for comparison. 

Next you should assess internal SLA’s related to availability and uptime.  Does your IT staff or current provider have the skill set and management infrastructure in place to ensure the application is resilient and available to meet company’s needs?  Don’t forget to include your disaster recovery, back-up and storage requirements, too.

Still not sure if moving a production application like email to the cloud is the right thing to do?  Consider a Cloud Assessment from a third-party who can assess your environment to determine which specific applications are good candidates to migrate to a cloud environment.  Just make sure they have the ability to also manage the migration process.

 Will email be your company’s first application to move to the cloud?

Tier1 Sees SunGardAS “In Sync” with Trends Driving Cloud Adoption

Agatha Poon at Tier1 Research issued a report today on SunGard Availability Services’ Enterprise Cloud Solution and our recent decision to use Nimsoft’s monitoring system (NMS) as a key compontent of our cloud offering.  The full report will be accessible via the SunGardAS website shortly – for now, an excerpt:

 “T1R believes that SunGard’s latest move is in sync with the market trends in driving enterprise cloud adoption. Apparently, unified monitoring is more than wishful thinking. Increasingly, as enterprises look to spread their wings and deploy flexible IT models like cloud computing to complement purpose-built IT infrastructures, the ability to provide unified management and monitoring will become an operational imperative in the foreseeable future. Interoperability and manageability will prove to be a significant stimulus for cloud providers to exert greater influence in the enterprise cloud market moving forward.”

What  features do you see as critical in a monitoring tool?

Why Cloud Computing is Moving So Fast

Today we hear from Patrick Doherty, CMO and EVP at SunGard Availability Services, to discuss the trends that are contributing to the rapid increase in cloud adoption…CM

The rate that businesses are moving to the Cloud is increasing and we can point to the convergence of three trends as the drivers of that shift. 

First, the economy is putting tremendous pressure on businesses to conserve cash and make IT leaner.  That means that major IT investments, such as the refresh or upgrade of a data center, are getting a second or even third review. 

Second, global competition is pushing companies to improve products and processes sooner rather than later.  With competitors nipping at the heels, companies can’t afford to delay revenue-generating projects.  This means that IT departments must stay focused on the projects that will propel the business forward, with more routine and recurring projects getting push further down the to-do list despite the added risk of delaying them.

Third, the cost of staffing, equipping and running a data center continues to climb.  For most companies, IT is not a core competency.  It is, however, a means to bottom-line improvements and it is a vital utility.

Today, cloud technologies offer reliable solutions.  Virtualization been around a while and is a well-proven technology.  Sharing that technology and the associated expertise among more companies let everyone lower their costs for their utility.  That reduces their capital investment and lets them refocus their IT department on revenue-generating projects, which in turn gets products to market faster.  It’s not often that one solution can address an array of problems.