Tag Archives: iaas adoption

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.

IaaS Adoption in BFSI, Healthcare and E-Commerce Sectors

IaaS adoption is advancing in a massive scale by enterprises as years roll by. Business enterprises are quick to capitalize on emerging new markets and potential opportunities through the use of cloud IaaS services offering IT management and service delivery at scale. Recent surveys and expert opinion on adoption of IaaS mention that IaaS deployments are significant in the areas of BFSI, health care and e-commerce sectors.

Cloud computing services stands 4th place in the IT sector after mainframe, PC and internet. Cloud IaaS model is revolutionizing IT by providing new dimensions on how IT resources and technology can be leveraged to exploit potential business opportunities. Industry experts view cloud IaaS model as the most dynamic utility computing service presently available. For instance, the promise of pay-as-you-go pricing model and infinite scalability are some of the key drivers for cloud adoption across different industry verticals.

In India the need for inexpensive and effective IT services is driving cloud services across all types of organizations. In a summit titled ‘Gartner IT infrastructure operations & data center’ held in May 2015, Gartner report explains that IaaS spending in India is $104.8 million which is an increase of 38% in revenue compared to previous year and analysts predict IaaS adoption is expected to grow through 2018 to reach $1.9 billion.

In India, cloud IaaS adoption alone is expected to grow over 40% in 2015, according to a survey on IaaS adoption in India done by Knowledgefaber, an independent research and consulting firm. In India three main sectors namely BFSI (Banking Financial Services and Insurance), Health care and E-commerce sectors are found to be high adopters of cloud IaaS. These three sectors are explored for cloud IaaS deployment benefits in their area of operations.

  • BFSI: BFSI sector require vast IT infrastructures to efficiently handle huge volumes of data on a day-to-day basis. Cloud IaaS offers certain specific benefits to banks for facilitating and servicing customers with latest technologies while reducing overhead cost in their physical branch. In cloud IaaS customers are allowed to access their personal details and perform online transactions using any type of device from anywhere.
    Cloud IaaS service enables efficient mobile banking capabilities and customer relationship management with automatic scaling or descaling based on network or server workloads. BFSI organizations leverage cloud IaaS to enable online transactions for customers and serve customers through ATMs, thus optimizing resources in their branch offices. Further financial institutions, mainly banks and insurance companies are also able to widen their customer base into rural areas due to the availability of internet and mobile services.
  • Healthcare: According to Forbes magazine, over 83% healthcare organizations are using cloud based services and porting a variety of healthcare apps on the cloud. The need for healthcare IT is due to the fact that more and more information (patient conditions, research data, drug information, data gathered from various computer controlled devices in therapy) is immediately available in digital form. To handle this huge volume of data across multiple locations requires robust and reliable IT infrastructure.
    Healthcare organizations continuously face challenges in terms of mining clinical data and historical records, compliance to healthcare regulations, potentially damaging drug recalls and effectively respond to unexpected negative events such as sudden epidemic outbreak, viral infections, etc.
    A cloud IaaS service from a data center allows pooling of IT resources and is easily made available through the internet to hospitals, clinics, laboratories, research centers. This brings experts together with collaboration tools to provide effective healthcare to patients and facilitates health information exchange for effective treatment.
  • E-Commerce: E-commerce is another area of picking up momentum particularly with SMBs and retail business companies. E-commerce applications primarily have functionalities such as automated workflows, online transactions and customer support which require speed and quality of service for customer satisfaction and retention.
    Cloud IaaS enables cost cutting with speed and provides specific benefits such as reliability in transactions and efficiency in handling large number of customer requests. The multiple layers of security in the cloud to ensure transactions and private information are protected. The usage based pricing model and on-demand self-service along with scalability are some attractive propositions for e-commerce businesses.
    IaaS offers the infrastructure to implement and run web based applications thus eliminating the need for costs in building an IT infrastructure. Further data generated in e-commerce software is stored in a centralized servers making it secure from theft or leakage. In summary, e-commerce companies’ benefit from IaaS in overcoming issues related to security, data integrity, scalability and above all allowing customers to access information from different devices.

Cloud IaaS services play a facilitating role for business enterprises by providing hardware and IT infrastructure to manage any type of business functions with agility. IaaS services are available from data centers at a fraction of cost compared to capital expenditure likely to be incurred in building an in-house infrastructure network.