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Main course for CIOs – sorting applications for the cloud


william franklin.jpgGuest post by William L. Franklin

Vice President, OpenStack and Technology Enablement, HP Cloud


driving the cloud revolution.PNGI once again invite you to join me for an imaginary dinner party for CIOs from Fortune 500 companies. Over hors d’ouevres the CIOs discovered that they don’t share the same definition of “the cloud.”


The theme for the main course is: “Determining the right type of cloud for your IT and business environments.” Specifically, the CIOs need to determine which applications should migrate to the cloud, and which should stay put.

Every CIO at the table is keenly aware that cloud is the next revolution in back-office computing, but – based on my experience – the CIOs will have vastly different ideas about what cloud computing means to their IT strategy. Only a few will have embarked on a purposeful program to shift their enterprise IT to a cloud-compatible workflow.


Several will have some virtualized infrastructure in their data centers. They will speak in the vocabulary of virtual IT, talking about instances rather than servers, volumes rather than disk drives, and database shards instead of clusters – but they may not understand the distinctions between virtualization and a cloud-ready workflow. (In simplest terms, cloud is always virtual, but virtual is not always cloud.)


The rest of the CIOs will have little or nothing going on with cloud as they “wait for things to shake out.”

The differences around the table pose a special challenge for me as I travel the globe, explaining HP Helion, which is the culmination of everything HP has been doing with cloud, OpenStack® technology, and hybrid cloud delivery. Regardless of where they are in their cloud journey, every CIO should be engaged in cataloging and inventorying their applications to figure out which should be transformed to run on the cloud, and which should be left in place.


The first step each CIO must take is to identify which applications are suited for the cloud.


What matters is that workloads go to the systems that are designed to fit them. Our large customers will still have mainframes. They will still have client-server. High-volume transaction processing will remain on mainframes. Corporate accounting and content creation systems may remain on client-server. But some of these systems (and additional ones as well) will benefit from a cloud workflow.


After identifying which applications should be revised for a cloud workflow, the next question is which type of cloud: public, private or hybrid? The answer will vary from application to application.


Private cloud


I recommend using a private cloud for business critical information and data. It is still prudent to hold company secrets on a private cloud, even though security is a top priority for the public cloud.


A private cloud may be required by law. For example, medical records, which are governed in the United States by the federal HIPAA rules, cannot be stored on a public cloud. Some voting and elections data must be stored within the state or the nation by law. Brazil has made news recently with proposed laws requiring that data stay within the country. I expect more data localization laws to pass as public clouds store more data around the globe.

Financially, operating a private cloud can still be more affordable than renting services on a public cloud – especially if you have already invested in your own data centers. For stable, large-volume, long-term computing, paying by the day for a public cloud may cost more.


Specialized applications may require a private cloud. For example, highly intensive analysis may require the capabilities of a supercomputer that has been tuned for performance. A generic public cloud would not be adequate to handle this kind of job.


Public cloud

I recommend using a public cloud for workloads that spike, for example: catalog orders during the holiday season, or streaming videos during primetime. The public cloud gives your enterprise the flexibility to scale its workload to accommodate the increased interest. In a public cloud, a spike in demand should never result in a server crash.

Public clouds make sense financially for temporary development projects and short-term compute-hungry applications, like data analysis. A public cloud is ideal for a few weeks of prototyping or app testing. It is like renting a truck for the occasional times when you have a lot to move.


Hybrid cloud

Most enterprise clients will be attracted to a hybrid cloud strategy that allows them to secure vital data and conduct day-to-day operations on their own private cloud, usually deployed in data centers that they already own. When demand spikes, or compute-intensive analysis is required, the on-premise workloads can scale elastically into the public cloud.

Financially, a hybrid cloud makes sense for companies that have a significant data center investment and a constrained budget that won’t allow any more capital investments in IT. Capacity can be grown in the public part of the hybrid cloud as needed.


HP Helion products and services make it possible for businesses to put their applications in the cloud environment that makes sense. HP Helion’s focus on openness provides the ability to move, integrate and deliver applications across public, private, managed and traditional IT environments. An application can start in a private cloud, then move to a public cloud, or vice versa.


All this means that engaging with HP for cloud solutions gives you consistency in technology strategy and integration of private and public clouds. HP’s commitment to OpenStack® Technology implementation delivers the promise of a hybrid cloud from the ground up.


Leftover bytes


At the conclusion of the main course – selecting software for the cloud – at least one CIO at the table is sure to discover a leftover on their plate. Bytes of questionable origin – “legacy software" – will remain. The CIO will pick up the mysterious code, inspect it thoughtfully, ask around for advice, then do what IT has always done with orphaned software – turn it off and see if anyone notices.


Wherever you are on your cloud journey, HP is prepared to help you take the next step. For more information about HP Helion, visit the HP Helion Network website.

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