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Cloud Computing at the Pinnacle

Gerald Wee | Sept. 27, 2011
With well-established and well-defined benefits, moving to cloud computing is not a matter of if, but how. CIO Asia takes advice from a recent CIO forum.


Transformation Process

For companies which own significant IT assets, the key word is consolidation. "They must take the step to move from a large physical sprawl of servers and storage to a consolidated system with high availability and centralised backup," said Affendi. "It is far easier to manage, and to offer different tiers depending on the particular business requirements."

"This will allow them to implement a cloud solution to improve asset utilisation, increase efficiency, streamline operations and reduce costs," he added. "Based on our experience, we saw a 36 percent reduced total cost of ownership over a three-year period."

Perhaps more important than cost and efficiency, iPerentis notes that having a cloud vendor supporting the business allows organisations to focus their resources on the business proper.


Data Centre Strategy

For large organisations like Cisco Systems, moving towards a cloud architecture was a strategic initiative borne out of business needs for greater efficiency and flexibility.

Junichi Hirosaki, director and CIO, Southeast Asia & Japan, Cisco Systems, shared how the company enhanced its data centres to enable the IT department to evolve into a service provider model.

"Virtualisation is key to our Global Data Center Strategy," he said. "That is a critical step to take to extract maximum benefit from the model."

However, equally important to Cisco was a strategy that concurrently built the elements of capacity, resiliency and transformation capability into its data centre in order to meet business needs.

"Our strategy is to deliver on specific capacity, resiliency, and transformation milestones simultaneously," said Hirosaki. "All of the key elements, such as building the data centres for capacity, implementing multi-site architecture, and moving to an internal service provider model were delivered via integrated roadmaps."

As a result, Cisco was able to enable business growth through innovation, and the systematic standardisation, consolidation, virtualisation and automation of all its data centre assets.

Specifically, Hirosaki advises companies to standardise on x86 servers running Linux or Windows operating systems. "Based on our experience, not only does it provide a lower total cost of ownership, it is also what public cloud providers use and this mitigates the overall risk," he said. "There needs to be a strong policy in place to prevent new physical systems or operating systems from being deployed."

Cisco also managed to virtualise 60 percent of its legacy applications, and 80 percent of new applications with CPU utilisation rates improving from low single digits to over 25 percent.

"The quality assurance and scalability we attained helped transform our IT department to operate in an internal service provider model," Hirosaki said.


Services Organisation

He is quick to note, however, that IT being a service provider does not mean simply taking orders from business.


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