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Blog Written by:

Timothy Chou | February 17, 2015 at 9:10 am PST

While cloud computing is based on a number of technology innovations, I’m going to write for the non-technical person who I think needs to understand this major shift.  In the end, cloud computing will affect every business, every industry.  I’ll start this blog by sharing a story.

A few years ago, I was in a meeting with six CIOs of one of the largest healthcare providers. I asked each a question as they introduced themselves: “What are you working on?”

The first CIO, Bill, replied, “I’m working on a strategy to move to cloud.”

Next, I asked Mary, “What do you do?” Mary also said she was working on a strategy to move the cloud.

We got through every one of them and every one of them had the same answer.

I asked, “So what does that mean, working on a strategy to move to the cloud?”

They collectively said, “We’re really not sure, but we’re working on it.”

I wasn’t actually there to talk to them about cloud computing, but I said, “Give me 10 to 15 minutes to help you think about what it might mean to move to the cloud.”

I’d like to share an abbreviated view of this discussion in this blog, beginning with reviewing my cloud-computing framework.

Cloud Computing Framework

Cisco in the cloud

We’re all using consumer application cloud services, such as Twitter, Facebook, and eBay.  Nobody buys or uses consumer applications in any other way. What some of you don’t know is there are now many business application cloud services, including CRM, marketing, HR, financial and supply chain applications. All these applications use the original cloud – the network cloud.  Once upon a time corporations built their own networks. Nobody does that today. Everyone buys a network cloud service from any number of vendors.

The guys from the network business realized that since they put their switches and routers in cold rooms located in buildings that weren’t on fault lines and had big guard dogs out front, why not let people add compute and storage into these data centers by offering data center cloud services?

Then, several years ago, Amazon led the industry by providing compute and storage cloud services.  While it requires technology to implement, their innovation was an entirely new business model.  Finally, if you are going to build new applications you’d be wise to consider a new generation of software development cloud services.

And in the end, whether new cloud based business applications or existing ones, you’ll want to use operations management cloud services to manage the security, availability, performance and change of the applications to reduce cost and improve reliability.

7 Ways to Move to the Cloud

move to the cloud

Given this cloud computing framework, let me now describe seven ways a company can move to the cloud.

  • Move to a new network cloud service, which has lower cost and higher bandwidth.
  • Move to a new data center cloud service and move into a room that has colder air and bigger guard dogs.
  • Move your application to a new compute and storage cloud service and let someone else manage the security, availability, and performance of the compute and storage.
  • Move to a new software development cloud service and build the application you’re thinking of moving.  This might sound unreasonable but with new tools this is more possible than ever.
  • Use a new operations management cloud service to manage the existing applications, meaning to manage the security, performance, and availability of that application.
  • Have the vendor manage the application they sold you. In other words, the ISV that first sold you its on-premises application could now deliver that application as a service delivered and managed by the ISV.
  • Finally, replace that application with a new generation of what I’ll call a ‘born in the cloud’ application cloud service.

So for my six CIOs I recommended they take their entire portfolio of applications and decide which of the seven they would implement.  Merge the answers into one plan so you can move from a strategic intent to a tactical plan.

And For More Information

For more information, and many more examples of how businesses moved to the cloud, check out my book on Cloud Computing: Operation Efficiency, where Moving to the Cloud is discussed in more detail in a TED-sized chapter in this book.

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