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Many organizations are interested in the benefits of cloud computing, which include reduced costs, greater flexibility and better performance.
Many IT leaders, however, hesitate to transition to cloud computing, seeing risks in moving to an external cloud run by a third-party provider. Their concerns include security, compliance, reliability and the ability to transition older legacy applications.
In this paper, Accenture proposes an incremental approach – migrating to an internal cloud. The paper lists key characteristics for a successful transition and outlines lessons learned from Accenture’s research and client work. Finally, the authors outline a proven, phased approach to migrate your data center to an internal cloud.
Cloud computing is defined as a collection of dynamically scalable and usually virtual resources provided as a service over the Internet, accessible from anywhere. Organizations can use the cloud for any number of purposes, such as developing intranets, research & development projects, or software development and testing.
Despite the expected benefits from cloud computing, many organizations and IT leaders hesitate to make this transition. They see risks in moving to an external cloud, such as data security and reliability during outages. Some industry regulations require an audit trail, which may not be possible between virtual servers in a cloud environment. Some governments require servers to be physically located within a specific geographic area. Older applications, especially those used for core business functions, may not adapt well to the cloud environment, and it’s costly to redesign those programs.
Despite these risks, organizations can take advantage of cloud computing. Establishing an internal cloud provides the benefits of economics, scalability and elasticity. The internal cloud can improve how existing IT resources are used through virtualization and data center consolidation. Even core enterprise applications such as SAP and Oracle can be moved simply and cost-effectively to a more efficient, lower cost, virtual platform.
When evaluating cloud providers, be sure they can create a system that is secure, meets compliance requirements and supports your enterprise applications. Their solutions should be based on open industry standards, and should provide large memory capacity to support all your applications. Based on research and client work, the Accenture & Cisco Business Group identified the following principles to guide the decisions relating to internal cloud computing:
Transitioning to an internal cloud provides valuable experience and insights on how to best realize the advantages of cloud computing. Accenture’s phased approach uses proven tools and methods to guide clients through this transition.
Phase 1, Standardization and Consolidation, allows organizations to standardize the technology, tools and processes that will be part of the final solution; rationalizes the data centers and consolidates the IT infrastructure.
Phase 2, Integration and Automation, integrates operations frameworks, enables proactive operations and optimizes both technology and IT process.
Phase 3, Service Orientation, links operations to business services, uses feedback loops and self-healing diagnostics to move to predictive operations, provisions virtualized services, enhances automation and introduces business service management.
Use the internal cloud to your advantage, for a less risky and better managed solution.
September 24, 2010
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