Assessing the challenges of your cloud computing journey

Chicken and eggs and clouds (Oh my) 

If your organization isn’t already dipping its toes into the cloud, it inevitably will in 2012. Quicker speed to market, universal availability for users, improved flexibility and ability to free up resources, with reduction in total cost of ownership, make cloud computing a no-brainer.

At least that’s the hype most business leaders have bought into.

The truth from an IT perspective is a bit more nuanced. The cloud is not, for lack of a better metaphor, heaven on earth. There are risks, hiccups and complications that every organization will experience with a profound transition like this. But the truth also happens to be that cloud computing can benefit your company – and your competitors – in a variety of very real quantitative and qualitative ways (In other words, sometimes a lot of the hype turns out to be true).

Cloud migration is serious business with major capital investment. And as with any change of this magnitude, you’ll need to understand the risks, develop business and IT strategies, scope technical feasibility and costs, put together impact assessments and develop an air-tight business case, long before your cloud project is ever launched.

At Softchoice, our team can separate hype from reality on the ground, guide you through the entire decision-making process, help initiate conversations within your organization and perform due diligence to create a roadmap that makes it all unfold as smoothly as possible.

Here’s how we see the journey taking place as well as some helpful tips and thought-starters to consider along the way.

Step 1: Where to begin? [Read more…]

Silo Wars: The Reality of the Modern Data Center

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” – Sun Tzu

Users rarely consider enabling technologies until something goes wrong. Well-engineered technology, whether a bridge over the Potomac or a cluster of dynamically-provisioned servers, should be invisible when performing optimally. Put another way, for those it supports, your infrastructure should neither be seen nor heard. This creates a fundamental disconnect between the tacticians focused on maintaining the specific technologies they find themselves responsible for, and the strategists responsible for the performance of the infrastructure as a whole, and the mission-critical services such as CRM, ERP, and email that they underlie.

While those who find themselves elbow-deep in the datacenter may know their racks down to the cable, at the C-level and the user level, what matters is how well the service they’re providing performs. This disconnect between the real-world realities of a chassis in a rack, the SAN it’s wired into, the network delivering it up – and the abstraction of the one or many services it provides sometimes creates conflict both within the data center and all the way up to the corner office.  It’s a challenge many technical managers are familiar with – the need for an approach to real-world problems that blends the tactical realities of a humming data center with the strategy required to innovate.

So how can a savvy technical manager reconcile these two worlds? [Read more…]