Analytics: The Widening Divide
Defining a framework for cloud adoption
How common ground can help enterprises drive success with cloud computing.
With the many widely discussed advantages to cloud computing, including elastic scaling, faster service provisioning,greater IT efficiencies and usage-based accounting, businesses are increasingly interested in adopting a cloud computing environment. Yet a swell in media and analyst coverage, plus a proliferation in cloud computing providers and marketing messages, has resulted in a great deal of confusion about what the term "cloud computing" really means.
For example, some providers look at cloud computing as way to provide compute or storage capacity as a service, provisioned from a parallel, on-demand processing platform that leverages economies of scale. Others may equate cloud computing with software as a service, a delivery model for making applications available over the Internet. IT analysts view cloud computing from the perspective of variable pricing without long-term commitments and massive elastic scaling of services. IT leaders look at cloud as an infrastructure architecture alternative that can reduce costs. End users, the media and financial analysts have still other perspectives on what cloud computing represents. Each group is discussing cloud computing, but few are discussing it in the same way.
This multiplicity of interpretations was confirmed in a 2009 IBM study of more than 1,000IT and line of business decision makers around the world regarding perceptions on cloud computing.1The findings revealed that although 73pc of respondents were familiar with cloud delivery methods prior to participating in the survey, there was little consistency among the terms that respondents associated with internal or external delivery methods. For example, 30pc of respondents selected "software as a service," while only 24pc selected "cloud computing." Other choices included "hosting" (19pc), virtualisation/consolidation(16pc) and utility computing (4pc).
Without a common vocabulary and a standardised frame of reference, it is difficult if not impossible for organisations to have a cogent discussion about cloud computing - externally with service providers, within the company, between IT and business leaders, or among the professionals within the IT organisation. This alone creates a barrier to developing a successful enterprise adoption strategy for cloud computing. To address this need, IBM has developed a cloud computing adoption framework, which establishes common definitions for cloud computing delivery models and services, illustrates the key capabilities to consider when developing cloud computing strategies, and identifies key aspects required to successfully execute that strategy.