October 2012 - Free Online IT Magazine

Each issue of Canadian CIO will look at the business outcomes driving IT investments in large public and private sector enterprises. It will provide a framework for effectively moving from ideas to action.

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ADVERTISING FEATURE Expert answers on public and private cloud The industry is cluttered with buzz around the cloud that has reached a pitch that makes hard for many IT leaders to keep up. Is private cloud the solution, and for which applications? What is best put on the public cloud? What about hybrid? It's critical, though, for IT organizations to have a strategic plan and understanding of cloud's impact on their operations before moving ahead with their cloud efforts, says Rami Wehbe, principal consul- tant and solution architect specialized in cloud at Microsoft Gold and Cloud Accelerate partner, Itergy. "I think strategy is one of the key factors for success," he says. "You need to have a strategy. You need to build a roadmap to determine if it's appropriate to have a complete private cloud ar- chitecture, complete public, or hybrid. I find most organizations are going hybrid." Itergy provides cloud-readiness assessments for its clients, during which Wehbe says he sees some businesses hastening to cloud models with the best of intentions, but not always the best infras- tructure or operations model to support it. When deciding between putting IT resources on a public, private or hybrid cloud architectures, there are a few important considerations. Despite perceptions, public cloud architecture is not always the most cost-effective of solutions, but it does provide increased availability to IT resour- ces for organizations without the necessary internal infrastructure, Wehbe points out. In addition, it can eliminate the cost of updating and maintaining those resources. "The public cloud can provide you with highly-available services, kept competitively up to date. "You have a lot of organizations that are challen- ged to keep up with upgrades; however, if they're on the public cloud, they can do it faster." Still, public cloud services don't automatically meet the stringent expectations for compliance and security, or the technical requirements of every application. From a business perspective, when a public cloud provider can't prove it meets an organization's compliance and governance needs, or the applications are deeply tied to back-end systems, private cloud may be the way to go. Integration with an organizations back-end will add complexity and cost to a public cloud deploy- ment, Wehbe says. He points to examples where an enterprise using Active Directory services has moved to the public cloud only to be surprised it then needed to manage and federate multiple directory services across different architectures. Publishing part of an organizations directory to the public cloud can also pose a security risk. "Microsoft's cloud services are very reliable and compliant," he says. "But for smaller public clouds, I have concerns."

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