Archive for the ‘Cloud Adoption’ Category

Scalability Requires People and Services, Not Just Technology

Scalability is one of the most attractive features of the cloud.  It lets you meet demand-based business requirements, whether those demands are the results of ads, business growth, seasonal activity or economic cycles.

However, scalability is more than just provisioning more technology and/or increasing a data center footprint.  Scaling horizontally to add hardware is the easy part.  Data centers have been doing it for years, first as managed service offerings and now as enterprise caliber cloud offerings. 

However, the ability to scale vertically is one of the most attractive features of an Enterprise Cloud.  As your business grows, it also becomes more complex, and an Enterprise Cloud offers not just the infrastructure but also the service offerings you need, such as advanced data management services, enhanced security services and multi-site integration to support the complexity of your business.

Storage Tiering Services

As your data grows to multiple terabytes, you need storage tiering to deliver the right scaling costs at the right performance levels.  Tiered storage, where different classes of storage are defined and  available depending on the storage tier/data requirement, allows for the matching of performance and costs to the specific data-set and application(s). 

Enhanced Security Services

Similarly, as your technology footprint grows, you need additional security services beyond the standard firewall, VPN and related security access.  Examples include host-based intrusion prevention, log management/analytics and, in many cases, security information event management (SIEM).  Additional monitoring/reporting tools that report on capacity, performance and health are needed to make informed decisions across the application(s) architecture. 

Multi-site Integration

In addition, since everything is not likely to be in the cloud, you need the ability to inter-connect your Cloud environment to collocated or other managed environments as well as SaaS or self-hosted application infrastructure. This version of the hybrid cloud will continue to build in demand and necessity as more enterprises embrace the various delivery mechanisms, including SaaS, Managed Services, Cloud, Colocation, etc.  Finally, the Enterprise Cloud gives you access to the technical specialists and experts that can help you manage the new challenges.

When you think about scaling your business, recognize that three components—technology, services and people—are needed to scale it.  The Enterprise Cloud makes all those components available as you need them.

Will your data grow beyond your current data center practices  in 2012?

Learn more about SunGard’s Enterprise Cloud Services.

ZL Technologies Transforms Business Model with SunGard Cloud

ZL Technologies Transforms Business Model with SunGard Cloud

For the last 12 years, ZL Technologies, Inc. (ZL) has provided large-scale record-management services to top global institutions in the finance industry.  They are specialists in records management, archiving and e-discovery solutions.

ZL’s business has a number of unique characteristics.  For example, firms frequently need to search masses of historical emails for specific information for litigation.  Databases quickly grow as institutions generate more electronic data each day and regulations specify how long records are kept.  Regulatory requirements for security and governance are tight, and regular audits of IT-vendor processes are required.

To grow their business, ZL developed Unified Archive®, a new SaaS offering that leverages the cloud.  The cloud enables ZL to grow their business, as well as meet unpredictable customer demand, without the need to build and staff new, costly IT infrastructure.

ZL selected SunGard’s Enterprise Cloud Services, configured as an on-demand, fully managed, virtual private data center, to support its Unified Archive application.  This IaaS set-up provides multiple layers of protection, including redundant firewalls, segregated Layer 2 networking and integrated virtual private network (VPN) connectivity—all critical requirements for ZL.  Under SunGard’s managed services agreement, we will monitor, patch, backup, maintain and troubleshoot to reduce ZL’s provisioning and administrative burdens.

Stephen Chan, ZL’s co-founder, termed our Enterprise Cloud services “a highly secure and resilient platform, based on IT security best practices, and architected for compliance.”  He said we are helping them “break a major price barrier,” which will let them”reshape” the economics of their solutions.

Chen said he looked at a number of competing solutions, but found SunGard’s to be the best fit for making their SaaS business model work. Also, flexible and elastic pricing, which turns IT infrastructure into an operating expenditure rather than a capital expenditure, were essential.

ZL is a great example of how a company can transform their business using the cloud.  We welcome them as a new client.

Does your company have special regulatory and security needs that could benefit from SunGard’s Enterprise Cloud offering?

Visit SunGard’s Cloud Computing Microsite for videos, case studies and a host of cloud computing information.

Unified Archive is a registered trademark of ZL Technologies

 

Successfully Transform Enterprise IT With The Cloud: A Pragmatic Guide

I’m proud to be presenting at the Interop Conference next week in LasVegas.  The session is titled “Successfully Transform Enterprise IT With The Cloud: A Pragmatic Guide”.  Below is the abstract and details;  I hope to see some of you there – CM
 
Abstract - As cloud adoption has become the hot topic in the Enterprise, there are many lessons to be learned as to how the early adopters have found success (and some failure) with Cloud projects.  Most enterprises where not built on applications and systems designed to take advantage of the web technologies that are driving public cloud’s rapid adoption.  That doesn’t mean IT has to sit on the sidelines.  There are pragmatic means to use the cloud to accomplish your business goals without having to overhaul the critical applications that are the life-blood of your organization.  This session will examine how and where enterprise IT can lower costs and improve the efficiency and performance of their projects through the proper use of Cloud services.

Thursday, May 11
Rm: Mandalay Bay L, 11:00am – 11:45am

PaaS: The cost saving “middleware” for cloud infrastructures

Today we hear from  Sarabjeet Chugh on  – PaaS: The cost saving “middleware” for cloud infrastructures

Not long ago, a survey of Fortune 100 companies showed that 77% of IT budgets go to maintaining the status quo.  Only 23% of the budget actually drives new revenue.  In recent years, a few dents have been made in IT costs by better development tools and clouds.   Development frameworks like Spring, Ruby on Rails, PHP, Python, Django framework, etc., let programmers code websites, web applications and web services more quickly, and clouds spread the cost of infrastructure components across multiple companies.

Nevertheless, infrastructure maintenance—at 42% of the budget—remains the single biggest component of the maintenance burden.  One thing that could make another dent in maintenance costs is an easy way to on-ramp an application into production in a cloud.  Getting applications to the cloud more quickly and deploying them with less programming to link the application to the infrastructure resources would decrease both development and maintenance costs.

New Middleware for New Architectures 

To do that, new middleware that works with the new hardware architecture of the cloud is needed. Existing middleware is antiquated.  Programmers spend nearly 50% of their time coding non-application functions, such as database caching, billing, metering, messaging and authorization. Different framework and database combinations need different versions of the middleware, and every version has to be maintained as databases and servers move within  enterprise data centers, public clouds or both.   

The new middleware should be a PaaS element that is open and supports multiple programming frameworks, from Java-based spring to PHP-based micro frameworks and Microsoft .Net, among others.  It also needs to be independent of the infrastructure, so it can support environments from public clouds built using different hypervisor technology to local laptops.  Similarly, it should be independent of the application business logic, so the application is not muddies with the logic for addressing databases and constructing messages and, thus, is more portable.  Finally, it needs to include a reusable library of services that can be easily assimilated into new and existing application code to simplify the programming of 3-tier applications. 

Accelerate Time-to-Market

The major benefit of PaaS is improved developer productivity and, therefore, an accelerated time-to-market. Organizations using PaaS techniques typically report operational savings of 30% or higher. 2011 is being termed as the year of the PaaS and for good reasons. Enterprise-grade IaaS has gained mindshare and acceptance in small-medium enterprises.  By leveraging PaaS, developers avoid the many hassles of updating machines and configuring middleware and can focus their attention on delivering applications. Reducing these obstacles means faster delivery of applications and making cloud portability a reality for enterprise applications.

 How much time does your staff spend maintaining applications for infrastructure changes?

Are you Ready for Cloud?

Solutions Marketing Manager Janel Ryan discusses how to evaluate your organization’s readiness for cloud –  Carl M

As companies evaluate cloud computing as part of an overall business delivery model, deciding which applications are candidates to move to cloud and which need to remain in legacy environments is part of the planning process.  Identifying business requirements up front creates the right basis for planning cloud projects, timelines, and resources.

The demand for consulting services designed around cloud readiness is being driven by customers looking for solutions that can get cloud technologies and legacy technologies – dedicated hosting or on-premise – to work together.

Discovery Phase

A cloud readiness assessment can be viewed as a series of stages.  During the Discovery phase, a thorough examination of your current IT infrastructure gathers details about your business systems, their usage, performance, capacity, and application interdependencies, etc.  Due to the complexity of IT environments and numerous IT demands, many large companies may not have a complete documentation or understanding of all their application environments.  Most companies use a consultant during the assessment process because the specific expertise needed for this type of evaluation is not something an IT department normally has available to spare.

Analysis Phase

During the Analysis phase, you and the consultant review the data on each application and confirm its continued need, use and importance with users. You also need to confirm access, performance, security, compliance and other special requirements for each application.  From there, you can discern and compile the infrastructure requirements.

Validation Phase

In the Validation phase the initial findings are laid out and you determine a strategic vision for using cloud computing.  You and the consultant explore different scenarios and options, and you determine which applications are ready to deploy, which could be ready if security, compliance and other requirements can be met by a vendor and which cannot be moved for whatever reason.  Your consultant should be able to articulate how various vendors deliver their technology and should identify those vendors that could potentially meet your needs.

Migration Planning Phase

Based on your strategic vision, you select your vendor and proceed to the Migration Planning phase.  Here you lay out a plan for preparing migrating, testing and moving to live production for each application.  You also set critical requirements for security, storage, performance, etc. along with the timeline for accomplishing each move. 

Some companies take longer than others to plan and execute their moves to cloud computing.  Regardless of the time it takes, the more meticulously you perform these four tasks, the more smoothly your migrations will go and the better your cloud computing experience will be. 

 Download SunGard’s white paper, “All clouds are not created equal.”

Cloud Connect 2011

Satish Hemachandran just returned from Cloud Connect 2011

This week’s Cloud Connect 2011 was the place to be to discuss all things Cloud. I spent two days at a packed convention center where the session topics conveyed the attendees’ interest in deciphering the challenges faced by enterprises in Cloud adoption. The consistent theme for this year’s event was about how Cloud for the enterprise needs to be built with availability, manageability, and security in mind – an area that we within SunGard are most passionate about. 

I had the opportunity to present SunGard’s vision of the Enterprise Cloud on Tuesday – this session was focused on the risks that IT departments face as they embark on the Cloud path and how these perceived and actual risks can be addressed through systematic mitigation. This risk mitigation takes the form of both products and processes that need to follow industry best practices but fine tuned for the Cloud based on your specific enterprise requirements.

The majority of enterprise customers though, are unable to solve this problem on their own since they are faced with diminished IT budgets, personnel resource constraints, or a lack of suitable Cloud technology vendors who offer these capabilities out of the box.  For instance, one of the people I spoke to at Cloud Connect was looking to introduce Cloud to his enterprise but was needed a partner who could not only understand his business and technical challenges, but was ready to address them. Specifically, as a large consumer company, he had data security and governance requirements that none of the commodity Clouds offered or even had thought about.

Another attendee was looking to build a hybrid Cloud that would allow his company to connect an IaaS with a tiered storage service with the kind of bandwidth and SLAs he needed while maintaining security. We also had a number of businesses ask about how change control took place in an enterprise Cloud and if/how Enterprise Cloud could help with meeting compliance requirements.  These questions are what you would expect any enterprise to have before committing to adopt a major technology shift.  

At SunGard, we believed that a Cloud done right can indeed offer the benefits of cost optimization and flexibility along with all characteristics around security, monitoring, management, integration/connectivity that makes it enterprise ready…it was good to hear these same sentiments expressed over and over again at Cloud Connect.

What did you learn at Cloud Connect?

Guest Post: Jim Dunlap on Cycle30’s SunGard Cloud Solution

We recently asked Jim Dunlap, President of Cycle30 and one of the first customers using Sungard’s Enterprise Cloud Services, for his thoughts about SunGard’s Cloud.  Here’s what he had to say.

1.  Last year, Cycle30 adopted a cloud computing solution.  What do you see as the  key business benefits of cloud computing?

“Cloud computing allows us to evolve our application platform as rapidly as our business needs dictate.  Provisioning a virtual machine does not require the detailed planning it once did because we can always scale resources up or down later.  

A second benefit is the ability to support a heterogeneous environment on the same hardware. We run a mix of Linux and Microsoft virtual machines and they happily coexist on shared cloud resources.  The third big benefit is availability.  SunGard’s cloud shields us from underlying physical hardware failures, because our virtual machines migrate across hardware hosts transparently to the end users.”

2.  Just as it was when managed services emerged 10 years ago, security is a big consideration for businesses considering moving to the cloud.  Was this a concern for Cycle30 and how were you assured?

Security is a big concern for Cycle30 and our customers.  However, SunGard’s cloud offers unique flexibility in provisioning resources and that allows us to leverage our corporate security systems.  We can present and protect the cloud resources as if they were inside our security perimeter.  A similar approach is possible when incorporating cloud resources into high availability and disaster recovery planning.”

3.  Time to market was important to Cycle30 – how did utilizing a cloud environment help you address your timing goal?

“Cycle30 use a mix of Sungard’s cloud and our own private cloud, also hosted on Sungard’s infrastructure.  We built our own cloud, which involved careful planning, procurement and installation.  While that was in process, we started using Sungard’s cloud.  With very little overhead or ceremony, we rapidly spun up development and test environments on Sungard’s cloud, safe in knowing we could transition those resources to our own hardware later.

Now that our own cloud is firmly in place, utilizing SunGard’s cloud resources has become even easier. We can now decide almost on a machine by machine basis where new resources should be created.   This gives us unprecedented reaction times to new business requirements, while also permitting migrations between the environments to constantly optimize our service and cost levels.”

 

What CFOs Need to Know about Cloud Computing

Cloud team member Janel Ryan touches on what CFOs need to know about cloud computing…CM 

Today’s business environment requires CFOs to improve efficiencies and reduce costs.  Considering cloud computing, a CFO will likely hear a lot of hype, but the most important thing to consider in a cloud solution is “which business problems do I want to solve?”  Consider these:

Maximize Cost Efficiencies

From a cost saving perspective, cloud computing can preserve capital, turning a large, upfront CapEx into an OpEx.  Cost savings stem from providing a “pay as you go” model. 

Strategy

Cloud computing is not one-size-fits-all.  As you review your business needs and priorities, understand some applications will be a better fit for cloud.  The low barrier to entry in terms of capital outlay can make it possible for you to reach new customers across the globe.  Further, new customers can come online faster because resources are readily available and scalable. 

Improve Time-to-Market 

The scalability of cloud computing allows for shorter development cycles.  It lets your development team speed the time-to-market.  The resources they need can be made available with little more than an “I need X amount of computer power” request.  That means temporary resources needed for proof-of-concept projects or new product development can move forward without capital investment. 

Accommodate Unpredictable Demand  

Retail and financial business in particular are subject to boom times and quiet times in their business cycles.  Cloud lets you expand and contract IT resources in sync with those cycles.

 Your specific business priorities dictate what you need in a cloud, along with such considerations as data sensitivity, security levels, and compliance requirements. Only by keeping your priorities in mind can you cut through the hype and make sure your cloud provider offers the capabilities that matter most to your company’s success.

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.

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.