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Interview: Ensuring a successful cloud journey

T.C. Seow | Feb. 16, 2015
Kerrie Holley, IBM Fellow, shares his views on cloud computing, security and what businesses need to do to become more agile, more secure, and eventually, more successful.

The emergence of the public cloud is perhaps the clearer form of utility computing of the past, where computing resources are shared by members of the cloud. But privacy and security issues have forced some to build private clouds. Are private clouds the way to go for those who are concerned about such issues?

First, let's understand that public clouds are not utility computing. Utility computing relates to the business model in which infrastructure resources (i.e., compute, storage and software) are consumed. Utility computing refers to the ability to meter the offered services and charge customers for exact usage. Utility computing can be used without using cloud computing. Cloud computing has several attributes: scalable, elastic, self-service, service-based, and the use of Internet technologies.

Relating to the previous question, how then should organisations address their security concerns on cloud?

Companies may have several cloud computing security issues and should identify their concerns and ensure cloud providers have a strategy for addressing. Protecting sensitive data, visibility, cloud security policies, transparency, privacy, are just a few security concerns. Companies must verify that cloud providers services are as secure as they would be in your company's datacentre. Companies should also identify which cloud services are most vulnerable to external attacks and review the cloud strategy accordingly.

Hybrid clouds have been claimed to be the best route to bridge the gap between private and public clouds, so that organisations can tap on public resources where conditions allow, yet maintain close control over data issues when necessary. What's your view on this? How would you advise organisations who want to take the hybrid route?

I don't see hybrid clouds as a bridge between private and public clouds, although by definition hybrid clouds reflect the adoption of both private, public clouds. Hybrid clouds are a natural adoption model for most if not all companies given the state of the art today in cloud computing. Some workloads will be best for public while others will require private clouds. Hybrid gives companies greater architectural flexibility, potentially improved security, operating system choice, ability to accelerate innovation, and in some cases the only way to meet compliance requirements while adopting cloud computing at the same time.

Hybrid is the most flexible option and natural end state of cloud adoption.  I recommend companies create a cloud adoption strategy addressing what workloads are suitable for public clouds and which need to reside on a private cloud.

Is hybrid cloud the next logical step towards cloud computing?

Hybrid cloud is the most likely end state for companies adopting cloud computing.  Its less the next logical step but more a natural cloud adoption model.

Can you briefly comment how cloud has changed the way we work, live and play? Would the advent of cloud be later rather than later if trends such as consumerisation of IT and mobility have not emerged in the last five years?


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