Businesses Chart Migration to the Cloud
Most corporate IT managers view the cloud as an evolutionary process, and Planview, an Austin, Texas-based provider of portfolio and resource management software, supports that notion.
The company offers its software to customers ranging from departmental teams to large enterprises via the cloud using FlexPod from Cisco Systems and NetApp, says Jerry Sanchez, vice president of hosting operations for Planview.
Moving forward, Sanchez will test VMware’s new vCloud Hybrid Service for disaster recovery. The service appeals to him because VMware houses the redundant virtual machines on its storage area network.
“With the VMware offering, virtual machines are turned off until we need them in the event of an outage or disaster,” Sanchez says, adding that Planview pays only for the storage and a connection to the facility. “Not everyone will have an outage at the same time, so we feel confident that VMware’s facility will be available to us when we need it.”
Wayne Pauley, a senior analyst for the Enterprise Strategy Group, says many IT departments turn to the cloud because they no longer want to be in the infrastructure business. “For many organizations, it used to take six months to budget, procure and acquire IT,” he says. Shrinking that process to a few days brings a strong advantage to any organization, allowing IT to focus on customer service and adding new capabilities.
Video in the Cloud
Stat Health Services’ ability to deliver virtual house calls for nonemergency medical ailments via video conferencing hinges on the savings it derives from cloud computing.
The percentage of organizations that are either spending or planning to spend some part of their IT budget on cloud services
SOURCE: “Cloud Service Providers: Assessing Which IaaS Provider Fits Best” (Enterprise Strategy Group, July 2013)
The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based provider of the Stat Doctors virtual house call service relies on Microsoft Windows Azure. Dr. Alan Roga, chairman and CEO, finds Azure to be cost-efficient compared with making capital investments.
Moving to Azure enabled Stat Health to avoid spending $170,000 on hardware, and also saves the company $3,000 per month in video conferencing fees. “We are a technology-based healthcare services company experiencing rapid growth,” Roga says. “Infrastructure in the cloud lets us respond quickly to customer needs and product demands.”
Wayne Pauley, senior analyst for the Enterprise Strategy Group, points out that the array of service provider types can be confusing because some got their start by providing colocation or managed services. Here’s how ESG distinguishes among the different types of providers:
- Colocation providers (COLOs) usually own the physical plant, which includes the data center, the building, the power and cooling infrastructure, the core network, and often the physical security cages for each customer’s system. Customers are usually responsible for providing all of their own equipment and implementing it. This includes storage, network gear, servers and backup technology. Customers are offered a choice of the IP ranges that the colocation provider has available or a pipe to their own ISP provider.
- Managed-service providers (MSPs) offer services across many different business functions, including human resources and enterprise resource planning. Most MSPs deliver some level of management for the infrastructure stack, which can include backup and recovery and security services. The customer still usually owns the hardware or leases it from the MSP.
- Cloud services providers (CSPs), or more accurately, public-cloud service providers, offer Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and/or Software as a Service (SaaS). In all of these cases, the provider owns the facility and provides and manages the back-end infrastructure. To offer these services, a CSP must meet the definition of a cloud provider set forth by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which includes five key tenets: on-demand/self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity and measured services.