Archive for the ‘Cloud Business Drivers’ 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

 

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.”

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.

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.

Top Five Reasons to Move to the Cloud

As director of product management at SunGard Availability Service, Satish Hemachandran focuses on the strategy and direction of the core platform for SunGard’s Enterprise Cloud Services…CM

As more and more businesses look to rise to the cloud, there is a lot of talk not just about the “how” but the “why”.  While the cost-savings is definitely a major driver, most organizations see business and technical advantages as well.  This list looks at some of the main reasons for cloud adoption.

Cost Savings, of course

Cost Savings.  Without a doubt, cost-savings is the number one driver of cloud adoption.  Organizations see it as a way to get an enterprise-grade infrastructure without the top-dollar price tag that accompanies such an environment. 

Product Advantages:

More Product Focus.  Between 70- 75% of an IT budget goes to the upkeep and maintenance of a company’s existing IT environment.  That’s a lot of resources to expend on the status quo.   Most customers don’t want to be in the IT business.  They want to focus on streamlining and growing their own products and services.  Having a partner to host, update, secure, back-up and administer their IT needs frees IT to focus on top-line, revenue-generating projects.

More and Better Services.  The cloud provides access to more and better IT services then they a business currently haves.  Every CTO knows where his or her IT department is weak—whether it is in administration, patch management, or tools for operational support.  Within a cloud, a customer shares the costs of expensive tools and applications, so they become affordable.

Technical Advantages:

Right-sizing.  Clouds are elastic.  They expand and contract to meet the changing needs of your business.  With an in-house data center, you have to carefully monitor and refresh your capacity projections.  You don’t want to under-provision, but if you over-provision, you can’t scale back.  In a cloud, you can right-size your environment as it evolves.

Integration.  Most in-house data centers are isolated and each new application or capability represents a new project.  A cloud is not isolated.  Many applications, tools and capabilities are already integrated into the cloud.  They are easy to access and add on, and they come with operational management and security already in place.

 Download SunGard’s Cloud Computing white paper.  Discover what cloud computing is and explore the benefits and challenges that it brings to organizations.