Cloud Computing: What it Can and Can’t Do

Cloud Computing Can:

  • Accelerate your business by allowing you to transform ideas into marketable products and services with greater speed. Cloud can provide nearly limitless scalability, enabling your business to grow without time and resource intensive IT build-outs.
  • Transform IT economics from capital-intensive to pay-as-you-go. Service level agreements guarantee the capabilities you need, when you need them. Costs are tiered and metered to accurately reflect your requirements and  usage. All applications, including legacy, run more efficiently and sustainably with greater utilization of the underlying infrastructure.
  • Bring powerful IT resources to the masses. Organizations of all sizes, across all geographies, can access information technology resources that were out of reach. World-class applications and computing infrastructure are available to all without considerable up-front investment.
  • Make new business models possible and unlock revenue potential, for any business. Companies can enter new markets, respond more quickly to changing customer needs, collaborate more effectively to drive innovation and business value, and execute on strategies that might not have been cost-effective in the past.
  • Improve information management and reduce operating risks. Coupled with context-aware systems, Cloud protects sensitive information through automated policy enforcement. Additionally, the resilience of Cloud deployments increases uptime and simplifies disaster recovery.

But Cloud Computing Can’t:

  • Substitute for an organizational governance processes for consuming, delivering, and managing IT resources. Many organizations have undergone efforts to eradicate shadow IT, centralizing IT decisions and spend. Cloud services are available to budget owners across the organization with the swipe of a credit card. Legal and risk management departments will require standards to assure security, privacy, SLA conformance, and compliance.
  • Be adopted instantly, but needs a controlled and pragmatic plan. Cloud involves new technologies, new service and deployment models, and new IT skills sets and processes. Migration of legacy applications to Cloud can be a real challenge. That said, legacy platforms can co-exist with Cloud deployments and be migrated only as appropriate.
  • Solve every organizations’ problems. Cloud does not always offer the best business solution. Some Cloud solutions limit the ability to customize functionality or cannot guarantee quality of service. Some workloads may have stringent compliance or technical requirements that demand other approaches. Organizations will need to determine where Cloud is most appropriate, based on workload-specific requirements around cost, risk, and performance.

Excerpted and adapted from Cisco Systems’ white paper Cloud: Powered by the Network – What a Business Leader Must Know

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