Welcome!

OpenStack Journal Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Michael Bushong

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Wireless, SOA & WOA, Big Data Journal, OpenStack Journal, DevOps Journal

Cloud Expo: Article

Top Five Cloud Computing Challenges for 2014

The right cloud strategy can significantly reduce costs, offer instant scalability, and improve business agility

For most organizations, developing a cloud strategy is no longer a matter of "if," but a matter of how. The right cloud strategy can significantly reduce costs, offer instant scalability, and improve business agility. But to get the most from the cloud and position their businesses for the future, IT leaders must understand the trends that are shaping the rapidly changing landscape. Here are five considerations that should be top of mind for any IT decision-maker in the coming year.

1. Providing the best possible user experience.
When it comes to cloud, there's only one thing that matters and that's the user experience. It's easy to forget about the end user while getting caught up in the "arms race" of building and brokering cloud services. When consulting about cloud strategy for a healthcare R&D firm, my colleagues and I were asked the question: "Amazon offers these services, so why don't we?"

At the end of the day, it's the user experience that matters, not the number of cloud services offered or the amount of features available. Spend your time focusing on the experience that best fits your users' needs and company culture rather than increasing the number of services offered.

2. Managing the convergence of mobile and cloud.
This year marks the beginning of a new phase of digitally realized experiences through the combined might of mobile and cloud. Among the most powerful trends in corporate IT, mobile and cloud are quickly becoming two sides of the same coin - one represents a more flexible experience, the other a more flexible platform.

Tablets and smartphones are only the beginning of a new era in which personal medical devices, smart cars, and even drones are all becoming part of the "Internet of things." These devices are by nature collaborative and communicative, and rely on "always connected" cloud services to be effective. How end users access and interact with the cloud on mobile devices is becoming more and more critical to their experience. Companies that wait to incorporate mobile into their cloud strategy will find themselves further behind as the mobile revolution we're witnessing accelerates.

3. Choosing the right mix of cloud for your business.
There are a tremendous amount of cloud service providers out there, and enterprises have many options when it comes to meeting varying workloads and service level requirements. Based on the criteria that matter most to your business, ask the question "where does my application best live?"

Often, a hybrid cloud approach works best: combining public cloud infrastructure and external cloud services with private cloud deployments and on-premises IT systems. Structuring hybrid IT services while maintaining control and assuring data governance as workloads transcend traditional data center boundaries will be a major area of focus for both vendors and enterprises in the coming year. Make sure it is one of yours.

4. Developing a security framework for the new world.
In the old days, the castle-and-moat model for enterprise security was well understood. You put the crown jewels in the castle and created a list of who you'd let the drawbridge down for. This was fine in the pre-cloud era when things inside the castle got updated periodically. In the new paradigm of cloud, however, security quickly becomes a complex web of interrelated policies, with firewalls hosting hundreds if not thousands of access-list entries that no one wants to touch. Workloads are constantly getting spun up (and down), moved to new places to maximize efficiency, and even split up between separate data centers. Control points for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) differ from Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS), further complicating security frameworks.

Venture capital agencies have invested heavily in cloud security companies. Cloud security is seen as an emerging and lucrative frontier as IT ecosystems become ever more crucial and intertwined. How does an enterprise tackle this challenge today? Develop policies and a security framework that relates to the business and is easily understood and audited by people outside of IT security. As the security frontier evolves, your framework acts as a compass to evaluate what technology best fits your needs.

5. Keeping application performance high.
How long are you willing to wait for a video to load, or your mobile application to respond before you move on to another task? Chances are a few seconds - maybe a little more. Your users, most likely, aren't any different. If cloud services don't perform well, either they won't be adopted, or they will hamper productivity, causing users to seek alternatives.

Enter application performance management tools, which according to analyst group 451 Research "are following application workloads to the cloud to provide users visibility for modern distributed workloads." These services will be crucial in achieving transparency across an increasingly complex landscape of multi-cloud and multi-platform services. Remember, it's all about the user experience, and over the next year we will see more enterprises investing in tools to help make sense of their cloud application architecture and underlying infrastructure in real-time. Knowing your application and exactly how it maps to the infrastructure is more critical than ever.

More Stories By Anoj Willy

Anoj Willy is Director of Product Development at Trace3, a California-based IT solutions provider with deep expertise in data center, high-performance computing, and cloud technology.

Comments (1)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Cloud Expo Latest Stories
With the explosion of the cloud, more businesses are transitioning to a recurring revenue model to generate reliable sales, grow profits, and open new markets. This opportunity requires businesses to get to market quickly with the pricing and packaging options customers want. In addition, you will want to take advantage of the ensuing tidal wave of data to more effectively upsell, cross-sell and manage your customers. All of this is possible, but only with the right approach. At 15th Cloud Expo, Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder at Aria Systems and the inventor of cloud billing panelists, will lead a panel discussion on what it takes to launch and manage a successful recurring revenue business. The panelists will offer their insights about what each department will need to consider, from financial management to line of business and IT. The panelists will also offer examples from their success in recurring revenue with companies such as Audi, Constant Contact, Experian, Pitney-Bowes, Teleko...
Planning scalable environments isn't terribly difficult, but it does require a change of perspective. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will broaden your views to think on an Internet scale by dissecting a video publishing application built with The SoftLayer Platform, Message Queuing, Object Storage, and Drupal. By examining a scalable modular application build that can handle unpredictable traffic, attendees will able to grow your development arsenal and pick up a few strategies to apply to your own projects.
Come learn about what you need to consider when moving your data to the cloud. In her session at 15th Cloud Expo, Skyla Loomis, a Program Director of Cloudant Development at Cloudant, will discuss the security, performance, and operational implications of keeping your data on premise, moving it to the cloud, or taking a hybrid approach. She will use real customer examples to illustrate the tradeoffs, key decision points, and how to be successful with a cloud or hybrid cloud solution.
The cloud provides an easy onramp to building and deploying Big Data solutions. Transitioning from initial deployment to large-scale, highly performant operations may not be as easy. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will discuss the benefits, weaknesses, and performance characteristics of public and bare metal cloud deployments that can help you make the right decisions.
Over the last few years the healthcare ecosystem has revolved around innovations in Electronic Health Record (HER) based systems. This evolution has helped us achieve much desired interoperability. Now the focus is shifting to other equally important aspects – scalability and performance. While applying cloud computing environments to the EHR systems, a special consideration needs to be given to the cloud enablement of Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), i.e., the largest single medical system in the United States.
Cloud and Big Data present unique dilemmas: embracing the benefits of these new technologies while maintaining the security of your organization’s assets. When an outside party owns, controls and manages your infrastructure and computational resources, how can you be assured that sensitive data remains private and secure? How do you best protect data in mixed use cloud and big data infrastructure sets? Can you still satisfy the full range of reporting, compliance and regulatory requirements? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Derek Tumulak, Vice President of Product Management at Vormetric, will discuss how to address data security in cloud and Big Data environments so that your organization isn’t next week’s data breach headline.
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
Is your organization struggling to deal with skyrocketing volumes of digital assets? The amount of data is growing exponentially and organizations are having a hard time managing this growth. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Amar Kapadia, Senior Director of Open Cloud Strategy at Seagate, will walk through the essential considerations when developing a cloud storage strategy. In this discussion, you will understand the challenges IT is facing, why companies need to move to cloud, and how the right cloud model can help your business economically overcome the data struggle.
If cloud computing benefits are so clear, why have so few enterprises migrated their mission-critical apps? The answer is often inertia and FUD. No one ever got fired for not moving to the cloud – not yet. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Michael Hoch, SVP, Cloud Advisory Service at Virtustream, will discuss the six key steps to justify and execute your MCA cloud migration.
The 16th International Cloud Expo announces that its Call for Papers is now open. 16th International Cloud Expo, to be held June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
Most of today’s hardware manufacturers are building servers with at least one SATA Port, but not every systems engineer utilizes them. This is considered a loss in the game of maximizing potential storage space in a fixed unit. The SATADOM Series was created by Innodisk as a high-performance, small form factor boot drive with low power consumption to be plugged into the unused SATA port on your server board as an alternative to hard drive or USB boot-up. Built for 1U systems, this powerful device is smaller than a one dollar coin, and frees up otherwise dead space on your motherboard. To meet the requirements of tomorrow’s cloud hardware, Innodisk invested internal R&D resources to develop our SATA III series of products. The SATA III SATADOM boasts 500/180MBs R/W Speeds respectively, or double R/W Speed of SATA II products.
In today's application economy, enterprise organizations realize that it's their applications that are the heart and soul of their business. If their application users have a bad experience, their revenue and reputation are at stake. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anand Akela, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Application Performance Management at CA Technologies, will discuss how a user-centric Application Performance Management solution can help inspire your users with every application transaction.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridstore delivers vmOptimized™ Storage that self-optimizes to each application or VM across both virtual and physical environments. Leveraging a grid architecture, Gridstore delivers the first end-to-end storage QoS to ensure the most important App or VM performance is never compromised. The storage grid, that uses Gridstore’s performance optimized nodes or capacity optimized nodes, starts with as few a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudian is a Foster City, Calif.-based software company specializing in cloud storage. Cloudian HyperStore® is an S3-compatible cloud object storage platform that enables service providers and enterprises to build reliable, affordable and scalable hybrid cloud storage solutions. Cloudian actively partners with leading cloud computing environments including Amazon Web Services, Citrix Cloud Platform, Apache CloudStack, OpenStack and the vast ecosystem of S3 compatible tools and applications. Cloudian's customers include Vodafone, Nextel, NTT, Nifty, and LunaCloud. The company has additional offices in China and Japan.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TechXtend (formerly Programmer’s Paradise), a leading value-added provider of server and storage virtualization, and r-evolution will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechXtend (formerly Programmer’s Paradise) is a leading value-added provider of software, systems and solutions for corporations, government organizations, and academic institutions across the United States and Canada. TechXtend is the Exclusive Reseller in the United States for r-evolution