Monthly Archives: December 2015

Cloud Adoption Trends in Aviation

Aviation industry due to its technical nature is focusing more on passenger needs towards developing more helpful personal relationships. The common approach is by deploying apps and by adopting new IT systems and technologies. According to Avionics Magazine (March 2015), 78% of all major airports will provide customer relationship apps to deliver personalized trip information and tailor made services by 2018. This is possible by converging technologies namely cloud, mobile, analytics and big data, since smart phones are mostly used by travellers worldwide to seek travel information. In order to handle huge volumes of data and multiple devices, airlines are partnering with data centers offering cloud services to outsource their IT needs.

IT is pervading all aspects of human life such as health, retail, governance, entertainment and media, travel, education and so on. In this post we explore IT adoption trends in the aviation industry. Aviation industry is an important factor in travel and tourism sector that leads to increased economy for nations. IT systems, new technologies and services are proving the capabilities to enhance internal processes and improve passenger experience, meeting customer demands, compliance to regulations and cost reduction. Aviation sector in today’s scenario are high adopters of technology to reach passengers globally.

Cloud Adoption Trends in Aviation

In the context of India, aviation is one of the fastest growing industries where growth is accelerated by liberalization of the Indian aviation sector, which is undergoing rapid transformation due to low cost private carriers in the aviation market. According to South Asian Journal of Tourism and Heritage, private airlines in India account for more than 75% share of domestic market. The constant expansion by aviation companies needs robust IT systems, networks and technologies. IT adoption in aviation industry is likely to continue into the future, particularly in India which is an emerging economy.

Market imperatives play a vital role in IT adoption in many operational areas. The demands for low cost flying, higher customer satisfaction, reduced risks, stringent regulatory standards, etc. pose unavoidable challenges faced by many aviation companies. Airlines due to their nature of business services struggle with huge quantities of data. Aviation industry reaches customers globally by working around the clock. Therefore airlines need resiliency and responsiveness in order to keep their air operations working efficiently.

To overcome most of the operational challenges and demands IT systems and services provide the ability to redefine ways by which airlines can work efficiently and deliver operational level excellence. New technologies and IT trends such as cloud service models which can easily integrate mobile, big data analytics, sensing technologies is quite likely to offer passengers improved travel experiences with adequate choices and information to passengers even during mobility. The IT adoption trends in aviation with the advent of new technologies are provided below:

  • Reinvent aviation services: Cloud based systems offer aviation companies a choice of operating systems and a variety of technologies and tools simultaneously. Cloud services are outsourced with easy pay-per-use pricing model which is an advantage for airline companies to reduce upfront costs in purchasing and maintaining an in-house IT infrastructure and servers. Aviation companies by availing cloud service models are rest assured that maintenance and administrative costs are eliminated.
  • Faster deployment of services: Airline companies by deploying cloud services can quickly deploy applications and software to provide important information in real time to passengers as opposed to emailing information and updates to ticketing agents. Information can be made available instantly to passengers on any device having access to the airline system (for example, text messaging, etc.). This reduces complexities in information sharing with passengers. In addition to service efficiency, cloud systems are scalable where IT resources can be adjusted to handle compute and network loads fluctuating with changing business needs. For example, Flight Discovery is a mobile based service to support passengers in overcoming baggage and travel issues with airlines.
  • Improved customer engagement: The cloud enables airlines to connect and engage customers directly on mobile and social channels at very low cost. Such type of connection has the potential for building deeper relationships that benefits both the airline and customer. The airline can use customer information about his/her travel preferences to provide more customized services.
  • Productivity improvements: With cloud services, the airline employees at ground level can have flexible working arrangements. Employees can use mobile devices or tablets to receive data and information at their fingertips. Airlines by adopting and deploying beacons to provide information on tablets by which roving employees or agents can help passengers to check-in, baggage drop and boarding to minimize queue lengths at counters.

In addition to the above trends, airlines adopt business intelligence tools for predictive modeling, understanding trends and are investing in data centers to ensure their information is secured. The cloud SaaS model is currently used by 57% companies in aviation services and SaaS adoption is expected to reach 88% by 2018. Similarly IaaS adoption by aviation industry is expected to grow over 74% by 2018 from the current adoption rate of 38%, according to The Airline IT Trends Survey Report 2015. Cloud service models having the potential to efficiently handle infinite number of apps and passenger connectivity are an ideal solution for aviation operations in terms of flexibility and low costs.

IT Adoption Trends in Manufacturing

IT adoption in manufacturing is increasing in terms of automating industrial and transactional process capabilities. According to MintJutras research, the adoption of cloud services in manufacturing is expected to grow by 45% in the coming years. Already 22% of all manufacturing and distribution software across the world are deployed in SaaS cloud model. Cloud based systems are mostly preferred by manufacturing firms due to their characteristics such as control over upgrades, flexibility and optimization characteristics.

Manufacturing is a highly dynamic industry which is vulnerable to volatile business cycles and changing markets. Manufacturing encompasses a variety of functions such as product engineering, services, product lifecycle management, scope for new or improved products in potential markets and so on which offer significant opportunities for manufacturing firms. However in spite of the opportunities and potential, manufacturing firms have to cope with competition, changing regulations, cost and margin pressures which are big challenges.

IT Adoption trends in Manufacturing

IT adoption in manufacturing is largely driven by industrial automation systems and operational management systems. Industrial automation systems make use of technologies namely PLC, HMI, SCADA and so on which have a direct impact on the quality of physical goods produced whereas operational management systems are more focused on automating manual processes through the use of robotics, wireless and mobile applications, reporting dashboards and fully automated workflows. In the case of India, the manufacturing firms are mostly business entities that deliver end products directly or indirectly to customers. These firms work towards gaining competitive advantage through innovation and new product launches.

A close look at the rise of IT adoption in manufacturing sector shows that manufacturing companies prefer emerging IT systems and technology to overcome certain key bottlenecks such as,

  • Challenges in manual operations
  • Issues in managing scale and size in product manufacturing
  • Complying with statutory requirements, changing regulations and efficient client handling
  • Challenges in resource optimization, operational excellence and quality

The above inescapable challenges play a significant role in affecting product accuracy, executing processes in scale, capitalizing on intelligence and in the development of relationships with suppliers, distributors and all stakeholders. Almost all manufacturing sector companies commonly look for short time-to-market schedules to sustain themselves in competitive markets.

IT strategies using emerging technologies such as cloud computing offers the potential for manufacturers to leverage innate intelligence and knowledge into improved business value. IDC in April 2015 explained that there is an accelerating trend across manufacturing firms worldwide to adopt cloud service models as its mainstream operations. Interestingly cloud based SaaS model is preferred by manufacturers to deploy applications such as financial accounting and ERP, CRM, Sales and marketing automation and email. IDC survey on IT adoption in manufacturing indicates 61.6% of manufacturers have some kind of cloud service models in their operations while others are considering new technology adoption to replace existing IT services.

As manufacturing is turning towards IT to overcome their challenges, given below are some trends that can quite likely transform manufacturing in the coming years,

  • Cloud enabled supply chains: Today’s manufacturing landscape is more inter-connected and interdependent thus requiring more collaboration and links with supply chain partners in multiple locations. This scenario can be found in manufacturing firms that cater to customers beyond their geographical boundaries. Such companies are more likely to adopt cloud services to run web based applications to provide real time visibility, become more responsive to customer needs and support to customers.
  • Analytics and mobility: Business intelligence and knowledge are derived from analytics software which churns internal and external data to provide actionable business insights and knowledge. Manufacturing companies that rely on built-to-order or configure-to-order strategies as their core business model would need high-end IT capabilities to capture knowledge, provide mobility support for analytics, business intelligence reporting and analysis. Cloud based systems provide the much needed flexibility in configure-to-order and built-to-order models as they can scale or descale based on production volume. Further cloud systems support multiple mobile devices which can share information on the go.
  • Workflows, collaboration platforms and dashboards: Manufacturing companies deliver real-time status and forecasts and implement applications such as the vendor managed inventory (VMI). Cloud service models enable such firms to fully launch supplier portals and collaboration platforms that provide dashboard information to the management and automate workflows. Dashboard software is also used to report status of each transaction in each branch which is mostly sought by the management, even when they are mobile. Collaboration platforms support product lifecycle management and to launch of new products quickly thus getting an edge over competitors. This strategy is more widely adopted nowadays to overcome problems in time-to-market objectives.
  • Automated customer service and support: Customer support and helpdesk is a critical function to maintain good reputation in markets. Automating online customer service inquiries by integrating them with content management services to handle order processing, pricing, and logistics can be made more efficient and effective by adopting cloud SaaS service models. Manufacturing firms benefit by cost and time advantages through automated customer support.
  • Increased reliance on two-tier ERP systems: ERP implementation strategies provide advantages in material planning, supplier management and at the same time reduce costs and overheads. Large manufacturing firms stand to gain more independence by adopting two-tier ERP strategy thus minimizing their dependency with one ERP vendor. Two-tier ERP systems take care of scaled down operational needs through programming and customization. Cloud based services are the best option to implement a two-tier ERP strategy because the IT infrastructure and operating environment is readily available in their service models, resulting in capital savings on IT infrastructure for manufacturer.

The above trends indicate that IT adoption plays a significant role in manufacturing. IT adoption trends in manufacturing focus on the capacity to drive business strategy and competitive high growth to achieve profits. Therefore companies that strive to achieve superior operational efficiencies should adopt an integrated IT system that converge industrial automation and transactional business management. Such IT systems to work efficiently need high performance compute, network and storage capacities which are available in cloud service models easily from data centers for adoption.

IT Adoption Trends in E-Commerce

E-commerce companies in order to facilitate sellers and buyers online adopt new techniques and methods which are easily enabled by emerging technologies. The rise of mobile technologies and social networks are complimenting online users and businesses by acting as a catalyst to accelerate the e-commerce trends in the Indian market. In all these trends, IT is clearly proving to be an enabler to connect consumers and provide a variety of information and choices in just a click of the mouse.

Since the inception of online business transactions, e-commerce has come a long way and continues to grow rapidly. Consumers’ online behaviour and interests create knowledge for e-commerce companies to analyze behaviour patterns and customize their online shopping experience. In a study done by Accel Partners in 2015, it is estimated that online shopping business in India is expected to grow at $8.5 billion in 2016 and beyond. This estimate is based on the number of growing online users which is already 300 million in 2015.

IT Adoption in e-Commerce

E-commerce business models focus on buyer-centric paradigms to provide an engaging online experience for customers to interact and perform transactions. Such an arrangement also helps manufacturers to minimize administrative cost, improve brand and increase sales. E-commerce solutions are dependent on facilitating the shopping process, improving consumer experience and uses latest trends and tools in its evolution. IT adoption in e-commerce is mainly driven by the following objectives:

  • Improve interactions with existing customers and increase geographic reach
  • Enhance sales and service to drive overall efficiency and visibility
  • Automate order processing and improve brand awareness in markets
  • Deliver real time information to customers thus ensuring transparency
  • Facilitate decision making for customer by enabling easy to use web research methods and tools
  • Minimize cycle times in ordering of goods and delivery
  • Provide loyalty benefits and discounts

IT adoption in e-commerce can transform business operations into real-time transactions conducted worldwide with accuracy. In fact, IT adoption in e-commerce is acting as a catalyst in driving globalization. Using technology, e-commerce companies are able to measure the amount of transactions and make predictions for future transactions from available data. Globally, IT adoption rate shows that online sales is growing at a rate of 20% which is made possible by technology that enables social media platforms, online shopping and online marketing strategies.

E-commerce in particular makes use of the internet to create and manage markets digitally while offering a full range of products, services, technology and goods. There are a number of IT trends which are helping in the growth in this explosive sector by allowing customers to browse products, compare similar products or services, buy and pay for products more easily. Here are some trends shaping the e-commerce industry which is made possible mainly by IT adoption,

  • Guided digital assets: IT enables the provision of how-to videos, manuals and step-by-step guidance on products and services. This is gaining more prominence and welcomed by customers. Customers are interested in getting complete details and higher level information while buying rather than reading generic information. High level content when combined with easy navigation and guidance in all the stages of transaction enable users to seek more online products or services.
  • Marketing and personalization: IT is enabling customers to configure and personalize their product selection which is another trend. Marketing professionals use analytics to profile customer needs, suggest buying options. Digital marketers also target online users with products and services by using their browsing behaviour, demographics and browsing history. Personalized recommendations and ad retargeting is proving to be effective in creating an impression with online users. For instance a user after having browsed certain products will be able to see those product ads in subsequent websites as they continue their online journey. This marketing technique is used by e-commerce companies to gain new customers. IT offers the tools and applications to facilitate this trend.
  • Mobility and mobile apps: As people seek more information on their smart phones, mobile marketing is also gaining prominence. Integration of transaction functionalities in mobile devices allows a user to make online transactions. The increasing proliferation of mobile users helps online business companies, but the e-commerce portal must have capacities to handle large volumes of data to perform transactions accurately. The adoption of cloud service models in e-commerce is ideal to handle transactions at scale.
  • The role of social media platforms: A majority of e-commerce firms use popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, etc., to reach their potential customers. With social media it becomes easy to interact with customers and understand their interests. Social media is proving to be an effective digital marketing tool and widely integrated within the e-commerce industry because it becomes easy to reach large number of customers quickly. Further, product and service feedback in social media channels make an effective impression on the minds of social media users. The use of emerging technologies such as big data tools and analytics for gaining business value is easily facilitated by IT services namely, the cloud based SaaS model.
  • Loyalty programs and support: IT adoption facilitates e-commerce firms to devise loyalty programs with rewards for partners and discounts for customers easily, because all of them are well connected. Further help desk and support are made more efficient for customers through IT. Customers expect a seamless shopping experience which is enabled by the integration of CRM systems with point of sale to complete a transaction.

As e-commerce businesses take advantage of these trends fostered by technology, choosing the right technologies is important to successfully gain business value. As new technologies are developed, agility is also crucial to make things work together by focusing more on sales and customers rather than focus on IT infrastructure. IT infrastructures for e-commerce are easily available from data centers offering cloud service models provide a variety of technology options for e-commerce businesses to reach customers globally.

Best Practices in Managed Services

Managed services profession refers to the management of IT assets by a third party on behalf of a customer. Managed services are quite complex and diverse as technologies evolve and business needs change rapidly. To overcome the complexities in providing managed services in IT, a set of best practices have been developed and are followed globally. The best practices can be employed to all types of organizations irrespective of their nature of operations and size. In fact they also allow MSPs to become more efficient, scalable and profitable.

According to MSP Alliance – an International Association of Cloud and Managed Service Providers, the term managed service is defined as: “A Managed service is the proactive management of IT assets or objects by a third party known as MSP on behalf of a customer. The operative distinction that sets apart a MDP is the proactive delivery of their service, as compared to reactive services, which have been around for decades”. Applying this definition in the context of IT, a managed service provider (MSP) is a company that provides IT services that include web hosting, network operations center (NOC) based IT services, applications and equipment to organizations and customers.

In IT services industry, data center companies offer managed services and solutions to a variety of clients in different verticals. MSPs are becoming more generic with functions such as help-desk, cloud services and outsourcing which are quite common nowadays. MSP functions are specific to each type of industry. The most common types of IT solutions under managed services offered by data centers include storage, desktop, hosting applications, servers and security, including mobile device management. At the same time, it is important to note that not all managed service providers are technology based. MSPs can also include areas such as marketing or transportation among many others.

In this post, we explore some of the best practices followed in managed services under IT. MSP is a specialized company which offers IT services to its clients. MSPs provide support to clients in supporting them to choosing the services needed for their operations and then manage them. MSP keeps track of all programs that run in the background of a client company, monitor them and also provide upgrading wherever necessary. In fact managed services follow globally recognized standards of best practices followed in the IT industry. The best practices briefly summarized below can be applied to all types of organizations and are considered as fundamental to running a successful business. The best practices under managed services are:

  • Ethics: MSPs have access to client’s sensitive information, corporate data, knowledge and assets. Therefore the level of trust must not be taken for granted and MSPs have the obligation to protect client information and behave in an ethical manner. MSPs adhering to a strong ethical foundation can easily find their business sustained in the long run.
  • Impartiality: Impartiality is one characteristic that sets the MSP as unique from other IT service providers. The approach by MSPs here is to elevate the client’s interest above the business or commercial interests. This is done by evaluating the situation for client and suggesting a course of action that is in the best interests for client’s growth. Further since MSPs have multiple clients and hence conflict of interest must be avoided at all costs.
  • Statutory regulations and laws: MSPs must be aware of the legal aspects and must be able to advice their clients on protecting their networks, data and information assets from loss. For example, today there are many laws that deal with data breaches for instance laws explain what a company can do during data breach. Good MSPs guide their clients effectively on appropriate legal recourse and support to assess the impact of their clients.
  • Confidentiality and Security: MSPs have access to highly sensitive information provided by clients. Therefore MSPs have to maintain confidentiality and should not divulge information to others. At the same time clients must also develop trust with MSPs and divulge certain important information which will help the MSP to do their job more effectively for the client. MSPs ensure certain precautions to ensure client’s data is secure and security measures are in place.
  • Processes and Tools: Some of the standard IT service delivery processes include ISO, Six Sigma, ITIL, CoBIT, etc. Some MSPs using their knowledge and experience also create their own processes and tools to demonstrate their uniqueness. MSPs by utilizing different tools deliver services to the client. Some common examples of tools include technology monitoring, financial, marketing/sales and so on. Managed service delivery process is one critical tool and a good practice used by all successful MSPs.
  • Disclosure: Disclosure is one best practice or professional obligation by MSPs to their clients. Sometimes disclosure might explain that the MSP is unable to represent a client due to their commitment with another existing client. It is best to interview the nature of the organization prior to agreeing on services.
  • Expertise: Clients approach MSPs with the assumption that they have good levels of IT and business knowledge. In some situations the MSP may not be able to perform a task due to various reasons. MSPs should adhere to maintaining standards and demonstrate proficiency required in a managed services professional.
  • Protection: MSPs naturally tend to protect themselves because IT is a highly coveted area. MSPs tend to regulate their area of expertise and services. This is evidently IT industry is self-regulated by itself for several decades instead of being regulated by some governmental agency. MSPs should also proactively protect themselves by following the best practices from being concluded as harming the welfare of general public.

The above best practices while being followed will certainly result in managed services profession growing in the next several years. Managed services growth is also fueled by increased complexities in IT management and compliance. Businesses need MSPs and this need is largely fulfilled by professional MSPs with their constantly evolving best practices.

Data Center Security Strategies

Information security has always been a baffling area for security experts as they attempt to protect the infrastructure and systems from hackers and accidental users. In the increasing threat landscape it becomes vital to protect information assets but information security is unable to cope with the speed of business and IT deployments. In such scenarios traditional security measures are no longer effective while trying to address threats aimed at the insides of dynamic computing environments such as data centers.

The increasing demands of outsourced IT services such as virtualization, cloud models, storage, etc., availed from data centers is fuelling the need for comprehensive security strategies to protect critical data and systems. IT experts raise concerns that information security is unable to cope with the speed of business and IT deployments. Traditional security approaches focus on anti-virus software, firewalls, ports, subnets and network parameters and focus on preventing rogue packets at the periphery of the network. If case of a breach, the attacker has complete access to all systems and data in the network. Further perimeter defense fails to prevent internal threats.

The changing threat landscape with new types of malware, Trojans and worms is driving the need for more robust strategies to protect data and information assets in data centers. SANS Institute in October 2015 did an analyst survey named SANS Dynamic Data Center Survey involving 430 IT security professionals. The survey findings indicate that 37% of respondents have experienced attacks on workloads in their data center or cloud environment. On the whole, 44% of respondents have lost critical data and 55% respondents are unhappy with existing attack prevention and recovery times. These data suggest that security strategies should be aimed at protecting all the components in an enterprise IT environment to effectively manage and minimize weaknesses and vulnerabilities that expose organizations to risk.

There is a need for in-depth defense for the network, servers and end-points and applications along with additional layers of security operations for infrastructure protection. Such robust and comprehensive attack prevention schemes can ensure IT security to protect data assets and systems in dynamic computing environments. Some of the security strategies to consider in an ever increasing demand for IT services are given below.

  • Strategy for Data Center Deployments: Data centers due to their less complexity, flexibility and scalability offer on demand services to meet business needs. The recent increased demand for hybrid data center deployments proves that IT plays the strategic role of business enabler in India (Express Computer, March 2015). In such scenarios, the security strategies that offer trust boundaries must be replaced with trust zones, across physical, logical, virtual and cloud environments. The best approach would be to eliminate inconsistent policies in the data center and provide a single focal point for managing security policies across all physical and virtual instances. At the tactical level, the security policies must be applied to be aware of the context, identity and applications. All data at rest and in motion must be secured between the data center and the enterprise organization.
  • Security is ramped up at the Architectural level: In this strategy, datacenters in order to have highest availability and integrity must implement security controls as part of data center architecture. The security control must be optimized for each component or module – servers, network, storage and data and so on. Security is a continuous process and therefore, enterprise wide risk assessment with real-time visibility is very crucial in prioritizing enterprise security and protection. Real time protection is the key to identify assets that are risky and critical across all components in the data center. Workloads must be secure to detect system level changes across remote locations to assure data migration between workloads is safe. It is important to secure virtual desktop infrastructure along with VM traffic and also the server resource utilization.
  • Security is ubiquitous: Security policies must be ubiquitously managed to ensure efficient risk and compliance management. Datacenter operations will be efficient only when workloads, servers, storage, networks and applications are secure in physical, virtual and cloud infrastructures. Security deployments must comply with standards such as HIPAA, PCI, etc., and must provide real-time insight across data, applications, servers, networks and endpoints. Security strategies must be able to deliver end-to-end assurance, from the perimeter to the core of the data center.

While developing and implementing comprehensive security measures, in-depth security implementations in data centers are the key to optimize business critical services and availability. Corresponding SLAs must be ensured for maximizing resiliency and minimizing downtime. As data centers are becoming dynamic to provide hybrid services that are ubiquitous, risk and compliance requirements are highly important.

IaaS Adoption Strategies

IaaS is a cloud service model used to describe IT infrastructure capabilities in a well-defined manner. Infrastructure capabilities does not limit itself to IT hardware and networks but also provides a platform for business agility and applications reliability. An enterprise considering deployment of cloud IaaS model must develop well planned strategies to exploit the technology in order to achieve business goals and maximize business bottom-lines.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is a style of IT enabled capabilities that are delivered as a cloud service model for organizations. IaaS is understood as equivalent to a private data center or scalable IT infrastructure service which can be accessed using internet technologies. Large organizations such as government, enterprise businesses, and especially SMBs stand to gain from IaaS due to its scalability and other immense benefits such as on-demand self-service, self-provisioning, measured access, broad network access, rapid elasticity and centralization of data and applications to mention a few.

IaaS service models offer complete IT infrastructure services (compute, storage, network and software) that can run platforms and applications across a variety of operating environments. Other important benefits of IaaS include,

  • Reduced cost on hardware and resources
  • Security and interoperability of data
  • Portability of applications across platforms
  • Dependency across a wide range of networks

For instance, enterprises often face the challenge investing in IT sources and infrastructure for handling economies of scale as the business grows and expands into new markets. Cloud computing IaaS models offered by data centers is a viable environment for enterprise organizations through which the challenges related to managing IT infrastructure are easily overcome.

According to Earnest & Young report titled Cloud Adoption in India surveying SMBs on cloud services adoption around 55% of SMBs have indicated their readiness for cloud based storage services which is a capability of IaaS. Gartner Research on cloud computing services adoption worldwide explains that, enterprises planning for IaaS deployment must make sure they develop strategies using bimodal approach. Mode 1 explains on reliability (in terms of infrastructure to support business efficiently, innovations) and Mode 2 on agility (adapt and scale up or down automatically to changing business scenarios).

In spite of the value proposition offered by cloud service providers, it is highly essential on the part of organizations to develop an appropriate business case to deploy an IaaS model based on their unique business operating circumstances and requirements. Some important IaaS adoption strategies to consider are:

Use a bimodal approach: Organizations must first question themselves on what exactly they need from cloud IaaS. The bimodal approach is highly essential for any business because business companies need two things – maximum business agility and greater efficiency. Greater efficiency falls under mode 1 and business agility in mode 2. Though, mode 1 will help to achieve agility by incremental improvements, mode 2 will result in efficiency gains. The priorities of reliability and agility are different in organizations and hence IaaS strategies should be developed by considering both the modes. For instance, Mode 1 eliminates the need for personnel in routine IT operations, improves provisioning time and reduces hardware cost. Likewise, mode 2 enables quick delivery of applications, enhances digital business capabilities, exploit new business opportunities, provision resources rapidly and so on. Hence, organizations planning for adoption should consider this bimodal approach for adopting cloud IaaS.

Develop a cloud IaaS strategy: The cloud IaaS strategy must clearly highlight the investments made on technology. This must be tied to line of business (LOB) goals and should have management buy-in. The strategy must explain cloud IaaS benefits and expected outcomes across all functional areas in the organization. Strategies will consider points such as implementation plan (long-term, short-term), identifying workloads that can be moved to cloud, defining security and related systems such as disaster recovery, defining how users can access the infrastructure, that includes mobile strategy, monitoring the performance of IaaS and finally articulate how IT will effectively handle business process requirements and service requests to enhance business relationships.

Enhance Application life cycle: Infrastructure serves applications, developers and users alike. In this strategy the approach should incorporate infrastructure into the application lifecycle as opposed to managing only the infrastructure. The tools and methods of DevOps focus on continuous integration and continuous deployment to result in the integration of infrastructure automation along the entire application life cycle. IaaS also offers storage and network capabilities along with load balancing in addition to compute environments. Therefore, with initial provisioning cloud IaaS strategy must focus on ongoing upgrades, applications maintenance and release cycles. A more comprehensive strategy can include platform level services such as database and other middleware services.

Critical considerations: Business enterprises when transitioning to cloud IaaS need to consider certain critical aspects such as,

  • Specific business areas that are appropriate for cloud IaaS
  • Evaluating services offered by cloud vendors or data centers
  • Specific SLAs related to performance indicators of IaaS, risks, security, etc.
  • Monitoring performance and measuring IaaS usage from the organization’s perspective
  • Benchmarks for evaluating application performance in the data center
  • Understanding on how resources are pooled within the data center
  • Broader operational and cultural implications due to IaaS adoption

Cloud IaaS offers a viable environment to better align IT with key business goals and initiatives at reduced costs. The strategies outlined here are intended to help enterprises while planning to adopt cloud IaaS service to overcome infrastructural management challenges in rapidly changing business scenarios.