Cloud computing apps ‘an attractive option for firms’
Dubai, August 13, 2014
The new wave of cloud computing applications, together with the promise of increasing efficiency, driving speedy adoption of cutting-edge technologies and decreasing costs, are proving to be an attractive option to many businesses, according to a recent report.
IT research powerhouse, Gartner has predicted that from 2013 through 2017, $3.8 billion will be spent on cloud services in the Mena region, $1.1 billion of which will be spent on business process as a service (BPaaS).
Yarob Sakhnini, regional director, Mema at Brocade, said that one trend that has arisen out of this revolutionary technology delivery model is that it has enabled Line of Business (LOB) managers to circumvent IT departments and procure the solutions they need faster.
With the pace of business rapidly advancing, this may seem like a good idea. But instead, it raises new challenges and risks, he said.
As insecure and ungoverned cloud applications are adopted and utilised to store and process sensitive corporate information, the risk of data loss increases. Organisations may also suffer diminished productivity as users accustomed to integrated solutions are forced to toggle between disparate, isolated silos of data and functionality in the cloud.
It also could give rise to unnecessary costs as IT departments retroactively attempt to integrate multiple vendors on disparate, remote and proprietary platforms as a result of rogue IT spending.
As LOB managers rush to the cloud, they go as far as swiping credit cards and use their own budget discretion to get the applications, services, and capabilities they need as quickly as possible. As a result, the IT department is disappearing from the LOB managers’ view as the resource to help govern, support, or advise them on cloud-based solutions.
Despite the growing need for technology to revolutionise the way business is conducted, IT budgets and staff increases fail to grow at equally impressive rates.
Meanwhile, IT departments spend 70 per cent of their stagnant budgets on maintenance, leaving them with very little capacity for innovation, making it difficult to respond quickly to LOB requests. This dynamic has also created a “relevance gap” and as IT funding and authority shifts closer to LOBs, this relevance gap widens.
In recent years, enterprise organisations have made great advancements in their IT infrastructures by virtualising servers and storage and thus bringing these data centre components into the 21st century. However, organisations across the Middle East have yet been unable to fully modernise their network infrastructures and are thus faced with a major barrier to IT agility.
The report calls on enterprises to invest and future-proof their networks. And with Ethernet Fabrics, they can bring the same agility and cost efficiencies of virtualisation to their networks.
Ethernet fabrics automate the mundane, leaving IT departments with time to innovate. Starting with as few as two switches, an Ethernet Fabric self-forms and is fully compatible with the existing infrastructure. IT departments can thus leverage Ethernet Fabrics to once again regain their relevance in today’s fast paced business environment, it said.
With Ethernet fabrics, network links are automatically formed and self-heal while network traffic is automatically and continuously load balanced. This means organisations can move their data centre infrastructures into the 21st century, and create the agility they need.
Though wide spread software-defined networking (SDN) roll-outs are still a couple of years away, IT departments can gain an early advantage by laying the foundation and planning for SDN.
This would mean preparing teams, refining processes, and ensuring purchase decisions today include only open SDN-ready infrastructure, designed to work with industry standard technologies such as OpenStack and OpenDaylight. This will provide a critical link and improved integration between the data centre and the cloud, and help the organisation develop its own hybrid cloud.
Cloud based applications are now affordable and functional enough to convince LOB managers to purchase them without the involvement of the IT department, said the report.
In the long term however, this leads to integration difficulties, uncontrolled and insecure applications, and general loss of productivity. If IT managers invest in solutions which automate laborious processes, deliver agility and performance and simplify management, they can free up manpower and budget while creating a solid platform for innovation.
When it comes to the network infrastructure, Ethernet Fabrics is the way forward. Leveraging these technologies can put IT departments back in the driver's seat and eliminate the need for rogue IT spending, it added. - TradeArabia News Service