Friday, October 25, 2013

Public Cloud IaaS : A Price/Performance vs. Security Analysis

Industry's transition from custom made, one-of-a-kind IT infrastructures to the standardize, commodity based cloud paradigm is well on it's way. IBM's recent "Under Cloud Cover" study highlights the rapidly of this global transformation:

"According to our global study of more than 800 cloud decision makers and 
users, business leaders of all stripes – Finance, Sales & Marketing, Product 
Development and more – are becoming increasingly focused on the business value 
cloud provides. Over the next three years, cloud’s strategic importance to business 
users is expected to double from 34 percent to 72 percent, even surpassing their IT 
counterparts at 58 percent."

From IBM "Under Cloud Cover": Competitive advantages from 
cloud computing help leading organizations deliver stand-out
 financial performance . (Click to enlarge)

What seems surprising, however, is that this shift is happening even in the face of repeated cautions and warnings about the security of public clouds.  The key challenge for decision makers is how to balance the business need to quickly transition to cloud with the equally important business need of maintaining information security and privacy.

Lucky for us, two recent public cloud reports from Gartner and Cloud Spectator have gone a long way toward addressing this critical question. Gartner's "Toolkit: Comparison Matrix for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service Providers, 2013" provides a comparative scoring of the security and compliance capabilities of the Gartner Public IaaS Magic Quadrant companies while Cloud Spectator has recently provided a price/performance  scoring for the same group of companies. I've used this data to produce the Price/Performance vs Security chart below.

Click to enlarge

While this marketplace snapshot is definitely not definitive, this data should certainly help us all who are charged with managing this important transition.

( The Price-Performance score is a blend of technical performance obtained from Cloud Spectator and use case performance obtained from Gartner. In the chart, the higher the value on the vertical axis, the better. Security score was obtained from Gartner. The further to the right on the horizontal axis, the better. Since CSC was not included in Cloud Spectator's performance analysis they are also not included in the chart provided above.)

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Catch the Cloud with DorobekINSIDER LIVE!


Yesterday I thoroughly enjoyed an opportunity to participate in the DorobekINSIDER LIVE edition on cloud computing.  The conversation was both lively and informative.  Joining me on the show were:

Emily Jarvis
In partnership with GovLoop, the Knowledge Network for Government", Chris Dorobek and Emily Jarvis get smart people together in order to share ideas because they believe that the real power of information comes when it is shared.

This event was the ninth edition of DorobekINSIDER Live and the focus was looking at the progress agencies have made in moving to the cloud.

Some of the key points addressed include:

Why Does Cloud Matter?
Sweeney: I've read so many cases studies that feature government at all levels using cloud to improve their efficiency and speed. Take the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board for example. Cloud is important because it shows the shift from products to services.
Jackson: What is really different about cloud computing is it changes the way we deal with IT. Cloud is:
  1. Agile: the cloud should be reevaluated and changed every day, week, month or year. It is not a static product.
  2. Efficient: the cloud is efficient because you can apply parallel processes.
  3. Global: by nature cloud is a global enterprise.
"Cloud computing is a new business model. It is driving the cultural change in government to a service management mindset," said Jackson. "CIOs have to not only have the technical capabilities but they also have to know how to manage financial disclosures in the cloud, know how to change to a new provider and re-deploy data to the cloud. Federal CIOs Vivek Kundra and Steven VanRoekel with their Cloud First and Share First policies are really driving the need to reduce costs and increase efficiency in the cloud. It is not about if agencies will go to the cloud, but how."

Do more with less with cloud?
Sweeney: Do more with nothing is more like it. The do more with less saying has been the mantra for IT shops for a long time. But by using cloud IT departments don't have to reinvent the wheel each time. So it saves time and money.
Jackson: I think although time and money are huge factors the other big development with cloud was seeing how it impacts the mission. How by using cloud services agencies could show increased deliverables on mission. The issue comes in the form of procurement. How do you change the policies on IT contracts? This is all new and the policies need to be changed and modified. Cloud procurement is a 180 degree shift from the waterfall acquisition approach.
Sweeney: New providers are coming into the market and taking major contracts away from traditional providers. The question is now, how can we become more rapid while still be secure? Agencies that are using cloud to build-up that security are the real winners.

Changing role of the CIO?
Sweeney: If CIOs don't evolve and embrace cloud technologies their employees will go around them. Take the Dropbox example. Dropbox is technically verboten at agencies, but all the employees use it. They want to be able to access documents anywhere on any device. People say if IT won't provide me with a solution I will go around you. That is dangerous for an organization.
Jackson: This phenomenon is called shadow IT. People have a real desire to solve problems and if policies are too slow, they find alternative ways to get it done.

Listen to the full show below!

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( Thank you. If you enjoyed this article, get free updates by email or RSS - © Copyright Kevin L. Jackson 2012)