Cloud Computing and IT: The Power Struggle Heats Up

April 11 2012 | by Zev Schonberg Cloud Cost Management

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The conflict inherent in who has ownership of the cloud is visible in a recent BMC-sponsored Forrester Research survey on the topic of unmanaged clouds. Two key statistics reveal the inherent turmoil. Of the infrastructure executives and architects interviewed, 71% think that IT should be responsible for public cloud services, but 72% of CIOs believe businesses see cloud computing as a way to circumvent IT.

The CIO who believes cloud computing is simply a tool to manage a part of innovation with developers (like basic virtualization) or as an infrastructure improvement for reducing the cost of legacy application support might be short sighted.  Cloud computing has the potential to profoundly impact all aspects of the IT management process and the enterprise as a whole – by automating technical provisioning of resources to directly meet the specific needs of the enterprise.

Until now, many cloud deployments have focused on purely cutting resource costs with an offloading of legacy systems to the cloud. But as the market matures and the mission-critical applications are deployed to the cloud, the balance of power has shifted. In this environment, there will likely be increased funding for services fundamental to the individual business-unit objectives and not relegated to be part of “IT budget.”

Furthermore, the ease of setting up cloud deployments–done with little more than a credit card and an internet connection– has resulted in a decentralization of IT management for many enterprises. As independent units deploy in the cloud, the management and maintenance of these systems can lapse and quickly costs spiral out of control. Very quickly, IT departments find themselves without control or insight into the services being consumed (or in some cases under-utilized and over-provisioned), within their own organization. This booming “Shadow IT” environment creates a host of management and cost issues for enterprises and usually leaves IT departments facing blame in terms of unexpected costs and poorly managed infrastructure.

Technology acquisition and management has long been under the prevue of IT, and with the cloud the landscape is shifting. No longer is the CIO or IT Manager the king of the enterprise infrastructure, but rather a leader struggling to control various fiefdoms within his lands.

Clearly, there is a growing power struggle in regards to cloud management. Cost has traditionally been a CFO responsibility – but within the cloud the CIO has a unique role in the cost equation if he/she can help navigate the balance between cost and performance throughout the enterprise. The CIO has to be able to respond to the specific revenue objectives of mission-critical solutions in the cloud by optimizing the resources from a technical and financial standpoint, without ceding control to the CFO.

Taking Back Control

Offering IT agility for the enterprise, means the move to the cloud is becoming a necessity for most organizations. Smart CIOs quickly realize that they need to be able to gain visibility to the entire corporate cloud environment, centralize the management of the systems and create methods to do more with streamlined resources in the cloud. Otherwise the organization could face a potentially very nasty bill for cloud services at the end of each month or a CIO could experience a de-centralization of IT resources and responsibilities throughout other areas of the enterprise. To implement smart cloud solutions without a loss of control, business and technology decision makers need a centralized way to be able to see, measure and be notified on cloud cost and consumption violations from day one. With these tools in place, IT management of cloud spending can be on budget and dynamically managed for optimal cost or performance improvements.

At Cloudyn, we offer our customers the technology to see, control and manage cloud costs throughout the enterprise. With insight, cloud price optimization and rightsizing of resources is simplified and CIOs are assured that they have the tools to help avoid a circumvention of IT management within a “shadow” cloud environment.

Rather than viewing cloud computing as a workaround to the traditional IT management process and something to fight against, IT departments should be the biggest proponent of the cloud – as they are best suited to understand the broad implications of cloud utilization. The benefits of the cloud quickly outweigh the challenges of the power struggles along the way – and with management solutions like Cloudyn, IT departments can become the increasingly central to business objectives at all levels of the enterprise.

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