With the introduction of the cloud, businesses and channel partners now have a high-functioning, elastic, ready-to-use infrastructure available at the fingertips. But while 2012 saw greater acceptance of the model, and more education as to what the cloud can offer businesses, industry-watchers note that there’s more work to do. Business agility will be at the forefront for 2013.
“As I reflect on 2012, I’m impressed at how quickly the conversation around enterprise cloud computing has shifted,” said Unitas CEO Grant Kirkwood. “It used to be that cost savings was the first thing people mentioned when they discussed enterprise cloud adoption, but more and more, I’m meeting people that recognize the cloud as much more than a cost-effective datacenter alternative.”
He added that over the course of 2012 many businesses began to realize that true enterprise private cloud is not synonymous with merely virtualizing servers and carrying on with business as usual; Cloud reduces the time and money IT departments spend on budgets, proposals, server installation, configuration and so on, but its implementation should be a holistic effort. Also, the idea of business agility being supported and enabled by the cloud is gaining acceptance: businesses are recognizing that the scalability of the cloud allows for immensely flexible adaptability within the IT infrastructure.
There’s plenty of work left to do, however. “We have seen major technology shifts in the data center in the past,” observes David Stuckey, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ U.S. leader of its data center infrastructure practice. “These shifts in reality have just added to the mix in the data center, increasing complexity and cost. Cloud computing, when done right, has the potential to actually replace, and not just augment, legacy environments while adding value by reducing costs and increasing agility.”
Unitas’ Kirkwood said that the coming year could bring big perception changes. “Looking forward to 2013, I couldn’t be more excited about the future of our organization and the industry as a whole,” he noted. “We are seeing tremendous growth in our business, yet we’ve just begun to scratch the surface of what cloud computing can do in the enterprise. Indeed, private cloud computing has the capacity to be truly transformational to businesses that demand agility, but also in many other ways we have yet to discover.”
Because the cloud as a concept is still often misunderstood by businesses and the channel partners that service them, Unitas has released a whitepaper offering checklists and clear definitions of private cloud and how it differs from public cloud approaches.
“The vast amount of information currently available regarding ‘the cloud and your business’ can be overwhelming, grandiloquent, and frankly, overcomplicated,” the company said. “This white paper avoids the mess of muddled explanations and hyperbolized advantages by plainly and simply explaining the private cloud: What it is, what it does best, and who should be using it. In other words, it’s time to bring the cloud down to earth.”