The business needs the CIO to focus on providing a seamless, drama free business operations experience to all, while giving some departments and functions the ability to be more innovative, respond faster to threats and opportunities and all while keeping costs under control while probably maintaining a tight cost reduction trajectory. These are seemingly conflicting, tough objectives to meet, but cloud computing offers some much needed assistance to the CIO.
The Typical Datacenter
In the typical datacenter, the IT team must take care of delivering the whole vertically integrated service of IT, from setting up and managing hardware and software, including compute, network and storage, to managing upgrades, deploying new applications and updating software and rendering other support. In addition there are many service delivery operations and maintenance tasks, like monitoring performance, latencies, security and availability, which are expensive in terms of time and opportunity cost.
The typical datacenter uses a vast range of experts that must be hired, trained, managed and deployed plus the technology that must be bought, managed, operated, updated and eventually managed to obsolescence in an efficient manner. This incurs massive capital costs as well as operating expenses for the business, simply to deliver IT services.
In a managed cloud environment, much of the infrastructure is managed by the cloud provider. They build the infrastructure and hire and train and deploy IT teams and sell the computing power to customers much as a utility and charge based upon what is used. Thus, converting these capital and operating costs into variable expense costs is a financial advantage. In addition, when a department (e.g. marketing, sales) must respond to a market change, such as a competitive threat, they need a new application or IT service to be put into service ASAP.
Conventional datacenter environments are slow in delivering such strategic applications. This is because there is such a large overhead of operational responsibilities that the strategic areas take a back seat due to lack of resources and time.
The Adaptive Cloud Based Datacenter
Cloud computing environments offer a more flexible, on-demand, software driven infrastructure where different layers of the vertical stack can be managed more easily through software that can orchestrate and manage the workloads and applications in an intelligent manner delivering an agile, scalable, adaptive, sensing, and even self healing environment.
For example, an application that is failing is constantly monitored via telemetrics and before it fails, leading indicators prompt the creation of a duplicate instance of the application in another server. As the first instance truly fails, the new instance can completely take over the load. In an old fashioned datacenter, such an app may have needed a duplicate server with application running constantly and be permanently on guard for a failure. This resulted in a completely redundant system with its concomitant costs, operating and maintenance resource requirements.