Papers

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How to utilize cloud computing, big data, and crowdsourcing for an agile enterprise

Published April 14th, 2014

The world is undergoing unprecedented change with political instability, economic turmoil, technological shifts, globalization, and the demands of a new generation of workers. Every organization, regardless of industry, must continually reassess what it does in order to survive and prosper. This revolution will have profound implications, and all organizations need to consider how the cloud and big data impact their industry.

Rather than be drowned by the feeling of impending doom, however, organizations should look to cloud computing, the promise of big data, and new approaches for research and development such as crowdfunding to remain competitive, increase efficiency, and generate new business.

In times of change, opportunities for disruption abound. Using these new technologies as well as embracing a culture of agility will help ameliorate the risk of disruption for existing businesses and give new organizations opportunities to prove to be a disruptor in the marketplace.

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Delivering a Tailored Solution – Best of Breed Business Applications

Published August 20th, 2013

There is a constant increase in both the pace of economic and market change, and the challenges that modern organizations face. As these challenges increase in both scale and frequency, the part of the organization that is responsible for technology solutions to enable business processes is also under pressure.

The changing business landscape has a direct impact on the choice of technology solutions and many organizations are finding that a single product isn’t capable of meeting their particular needs. Alongside this fact, organizations increasingly have to reinvent what they do on a regular basis and this too puts increased pressure on the back office systems they use.

In this paper we look at the technological changes that are making it increasingly practical for organizations to create highly customized aggregations of multiple discrete products and in doing so to achieve a bespoke technology menu that best supports the particular organization’s needs.

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Cloud Adoption–Barriers, Roadblocks and Belligerence

Published March 26th, 2013

You’ve probably heard Cloud Computing talked about as a revolution in the world of computing. This is a strong claim but one which has some substance when one sees the changes that the Cloud is powering – the rise of social media, the relative simplicity with which dispersed teams can now collaborate, the agility that organizations have to innovate with technology and the amazing scale that rapidly growing organizations can leverage are all powered, at least in part, by the Cloud.

But as with any revolution, there are barriers put in place by individuals and organizations. Sometimes these barriers are valid, but sometimes they are merely artificial roadblocks designed to protect the status quo. In this report we will detail some of the business barriers to Cloud adoption, and explore some possible ways to resolve them. This paper is not designed to be a technical report; rather it will help those looking to promote cloud usage in their companies to understand the barriers in their way and the ways around them.from having a clear understanding of knowing the cost of switching from one instance to another.

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The Organization of the Future and its Impact on IT

Published February 25th, 2013

The business world is undergoing massive changes as factors, both internal and external, change forever the environment within which organizations operate. These changes, while delivering massive benefits in terms of agility, economics and competitiveness, also require a massive shift in the way IT operations are run and challenge our existing thoughts around what IT should focus on.

The changes we detail in this report result in an IT department that is marginalized and often at odds with other business units. This underlying IT friction is borne out through unprecedented levels of dissatisfaction at what IT is delivering to the business. As a result we’re seeing huge levels of so called “Rogue IT” where the business, frustrated at a lack of IT agility, seizes the opportunity that modern software and infrastructure offers to circumvent IT and procure their own technology solutions.

In light of this escalating friction between IT and the business, organizations have no options but to rapidly move to new models of IT delivery to guarantee their very survival. In the fact of highly agile and nimble competitors, an IT department that is an impediment to agile technology use is an unacceptable barrier to change. This is in fact occurring, IT departments are increasingly realize that it is only through enabling business units to achieve the technology outcomes they needs, that the business will, as a whole, achieve its objectives. In this paper we aim to set out the underlying changes which are impacting upon business, extrapolate where these changes will take organizations in the mid–term future, and suggest ways in which IT can remain a relevant, valuable and strategic part of the business.

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Programming and the Cloud, Preparing the Developer for Tomorrow

Published June 22nd, 2012

The advent of Cloud Computing has removed infrastructure as a barrier to rapid and massive scaling of applications. Whereas in the past the need for physical hardware created a drag upon the entire scaling process, the ease of use and accessibility of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) has made it possible for a developer to create an application one day and have it utilized by hundreds of thousands of users the next.

This paradigm shift in terms of scale, geographic spread and velocity has changed the development process markedly – no longer do developers have the luxury of creating an application and scaling that application in a controlled and generally sedate manner. Instead the velocity of today means that they need to think about scale and speed from the outset. At the same time, modern web applications are architected in an entirely different manner with traffic to and from the application via Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) amounting for a significant proportion of total traffic. This change in the ways data is being created, stored and consumed by an application has also changed the demands on developers.

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Channel Strategies for Success in the Cloud Age

Published March 22nd, 2012

Cloud Computing is perhaps one of the biggest shifts in the technology industry in a generation. Alongside the technology shifts involved in Cloud, there is also a significant change in the way technology will be supplied, implemented and delivered going forward. While this shift offers real benefits to consumers in terms of reduced costs and increased agility, it creates challenges for those organizations whose business relies on providing services to integrate disparate systems or adding value on top of underlying technologies.

These organizations, collectively known as “The Indirect Channel,”1 are in some cases fearful that Cloud Computing will reduce their opportunities to add value and they will need to find new alternative offerings. This paper describes the status quo for channel partners, identifies where threats to their existing revenues might lie in the future and provides some best practice guidelines that channel organizations can utilize to thrive in the Cloud Age.

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Disaster Recovery – Continuity in an Uncertain World

Published March 22nd, 2012

Disasters are an inevitable certainty for any organization—but while inevitable, disasters are also generally unpredictable. The best strategy then in the face of inevitable but uncertain negative events is to have a holistic plan that sets out the process by which an organization can return to normal operations after a disaster. This paper defines some core concepts around disaster recovery, contrasts it with the related but distinct field of High Availability, and gives some key guidelines as to how an organization can plan, react and recover from a disaster.

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Into the Crystal Ball : Looking out at the Cloud in Three Years Time

Published December 19th, 2011

Bill Gates, the Founder of Microsoft, is often quoted as saying that “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.” While this contention is undoubtedly true in “normal” times, the pace of innovation in the Cloud is so fast that it is hard to overestimate the impact that it will have in the short term, especially for the most nimble companies who choose to adopt it. Still in deference to Bill, we decided to look out over the next three years and what the Cloud will look like as we celebrate the conclusion of the first year of CloudU.

Rather than simply come up with a list of our own predictions, we decided to go out to the large and fast growing CloudU community and elicit contributions from industry participants, IT professionals and business owners via multiple channels. We are indebted to those who engaged in the conversation. One of the themes that emerged in these community discussionsis that not everyone agrees on what the Cloud will become, or even what it is. Therefore, this look into the future will present two sides to every coin. It is our hope that in exploring some of the most salient debates around Cloud Computing, that we will all be able to make our own decisions about how to take advantage of this collection of rapidly changin technologies we call the “Cloud”.

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Small Teams, Big Impact: Powering Revolutionary Ideas on the Cloud

Published November 22nd, 2011

With economies all around the world looking for solutions to an increasingly dire economic situation, we believe that facilitating the creation of new businesses by individuals and teams with an entrepreneurial bent is a significant opportunity for growth. We believe Cloud Computing and some of the approaches that it enables is one way to increase both the speed these startups can move at, and their opportunity for success. In this paper we focus on several different business drivers that Cloud Computing enables in this “startup economy” and give some specific case studies of startups being built in, and on, the Cloud.

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You Want to Put MY Database Where? – Determining the right Fit between Your technology and the Cloud, and When It Makes sense to stay In-house

Published October 4th, 2011

Cloud and are hampered in their decision making process by a lack of non-biased information in the marketplace. In this report we give examples of the sorts of considerations business should look at when investigating a move. These considerations span both business and technical issues and it is only through an honest appraisal of both of these drivers that the best decisions for a particular workload, within a particular organization, can be made.

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Does Data Want to be Free? – Exploring Issues in the Open Cloud from Vendor Lock-in to Open Standards

Published August 25th, 2011

Open Source software was fundamental in building the web into what it is today. In the same way that the “LAMP stack”-Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP- was the foundation upon which the bulk of the internet was built, we believe that Open Source solutions and Open Standards will drive uptake, innovation and choice for Cloud Computing users. With a plethora of different Open Standards initiatives, and a number of Open Source products available upon which to build Clouds, it is important for users to understand the landscape and the different approaches towards openness for the Cloud. As with other areas of technology, it could be argued that interest groups are using “open” as little more than a marketing ploy. However, it is our contention that the use of Open Source products, built with a view to adopting and embracing Open Standards, will drive flexibility, innovation and choice for consumers.

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Creative Configurations – Mixing and Matching Public, Private and Hybrid Clouds for Maximum Benefits

Published August 4th, 2011

Perhaps one of the most contentious debates in the Cloud Computing world is that around Private Clouds. Many commentators remain adamant that Private Cloud does not, in fact, constitute a legitimate example of the Cloud1. Others are more pragmatic and see Private Cloud as well as Hybrid approaches as logical stepping stones towards the Cloud. In this paper we define these three distinct delivery mechanisms; Public Cloud, Private Cloud and Hybrid Cloud and show how any of the three may be the best approach for customers depending on the particulars of the use case. We also bring some clarity to when each approach is most appropriate and build the case for a flexible Cloud implementation that recognizes that not one technology will fit all organizations.

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Running a Business on the Cloud – Management strategies for the New IT

Published June 15th, 2011

The move from traditional IT to Cloud Computing is a massive opportunity for an IT department to add value to the organization it serves. As with any major technology shift however, this change also introduces challenges that need to be proactively managed. When management is faced with a shift to Cloud Computing, there are three areas that need to be assessed to ensure they are ready for the opportunities and challenges that accompany the move, which are identified in this paper. These three areas are;

  • Planning for Shifting IT Responsibilities
  • Developing New Skills
  • Recruitment, Training, Hiring and Retention of Cloud Professionals

Armed with the information in this paper, management will be sufficiently aware of specific areas to look at and should be able to greatly lessen the problematic business impacts of a move to the Cloud.

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Planning a Move to the Cloud – Tips, Tricks and Pitfalls

Published June 7th, 2011

Cloud Computing is a paradigm shift that sees the dawn of a new age of computing driven by distinct benefits. Given the undeniable value to be gained from a move to Cloud Computing, it is hardly surprising that many organizations are contemplating a shift “to the Clouds”. Experience has shown however that organizations are concerned around the logistics of the move and worried about unintended consequences and problems. In this paper we describe three broad areas that organizations need to think about when moving to the Cloud;

  • Technical considerations related to specific technology challenges that Cloud Computing may raise
  • External business considerations related to dealing with 3rd party Cloud providers
  • Internal business considerations related to potential non-technology impacts upon the business caused by the move to the Cloud

Within these three areas we highlight specific topics that organizations should understand prior to a move to the Cloud.

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The Elephant in the Room – Cloud Security and What Vendors and Customers Need To Do To Stay Secure

Published May 18th, 2011

One of the benefits of Cloud Computing that we have been articulating in this series of whitepapers is the benefit of abstracting responsibility for IT functions off to a third party. While this is indeed a benefit of Cloud Computing, it is important to realize that when it comes to security, customers still have a responsibility to ensure their data is secure. Cloud Computing security should be regarded as a partnership between the vendor and the customer with both parties having responsibility for different aspects of security. In this whitepaper we detail the different aspects of security that need to be managed to ensure overall security in the cloud. Moreover, we contrast those aspects of security that vendors are typically responsible for to those for which customers have an ongoing responsibility. We contend that Cloud Computing is fundamentally more secure than traditional approaches but in order to ensure this security, some basic requirements must be met.

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Sustainability and the Cloud – The Global Environmental Benefits of IT Hosting and Cloud Technology

Published April 22, 2011

Earth Day is an annual event designed to increase awareness of our impact on the earth. Earth Day, first held in 1970 was founded on the premise that all people, regardless of race, gender, income, or geography, have a moral right to a healthy, sustainable environment. Climate change is one of the most significant problems facing the world and impacts directly on weather patterns and indirectly on almost all aspects of our lives. Earth Day strives to encourage people to think about their impact on the earth and how it can be reduced.

To mark Earth Day 2011, we are publishing this special CloudU report to detail how Cloud Computing can aid in reducing Green House Gasses (GHG). We contend however that there needs to be an economic imperative to change behaviour and, in the case of Cloud Computing, there are both moral reasons for a shift, but also sensible economic reasons to move from the traditional model of computing to Cloud Computing. We will detail how Cloud Computing drives these benefits and why we believe it is the right delivery method to minimize the impact of IT on the planet.

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Say Goodbye to DIY Data Centers – An IaaS Intensive

Published March 28, 2011

As IT increases in complexity each year, many small and medium businesses have little or no understanding of what a move to Cloud Computing really means in terms of underlying technology. While we contend that one of the core benefits of the Cloud is that it enables users to forget about technology and concentrate on their core business, this lack of information can create doubts about the value of moving to the Cloud. Many of these fears have been created by traditional vendors wishing to cast doubt on the ability of Cloud Computing to provide a truly robust and secure level of service.

To this end we have written this whitepaper to give a moderately technical look at what goes into an Infrastructure as a Service offering. In this report we start by taking a virtual tour of a modern data center to explain the robust, and expensive, features they contain. We then look at some specific services that make up Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings, services which enable end users to leverage the benefits of world-class data centers without the expense and complexity of maintenance. Finally, a variety of IaaS delivery models are discussed, from public cloud, to private and virtual private clouds, to cloud busting.

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Understanding the Cloud Computing Stack

Published March 4, 2011

Cloud Computing is a broad term that describes a broad range of services. As with other significant developments in technology, many vendors have seized the term “Cloud” and are using it for products that sit outside of the common definition. In order to truly understand how the Cloud can be of value to an organization, it is first important to understand what the Cloud really is and its different components. Since the Cloud is a broad collection of services, organizations can choose where, when, and how they use Cloud Computing. In this report we will explain the different types of Cloud Computing services commonly referred to as Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and give some examples and case studies to illustrate how they all work. We will also provide some guidance on situations where particular flavors of Cloud Computing are not the best option for an organisation.

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Cloudonomics – The Economics of Cloud Computing

Published February 8, 2011

There are many reasons for organizations to move from traditional IT infrastructure to Cloud Computing. One of the most cited benefits is the economics of the Cloud. Yet while many people point out the cost savings that Cloud Computing brings to an organization, we believe attention should be drawn to four distinct mechanisms through which these cost savings are generated;

  • By lowering the opportunity cost of running technology
  • By allowing for a shift from capital expenditure to operating expenditure
  • By lowering the total cost of ownership (TCO) of technology
  • By giving organizations the ability to add business value by renewed focus on core activities

In this paper we detail these four mechanisms and introduce several case studies and examples to show the increased economic value that Cloud Computing brings to an organization.

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Revolution, not Evolution

Published January 20, 2011

Cloud Computing is a revolution that will define IT in the second decade of the 21st Century. This new form of computing is perfectly poised to provide solutions to a host of business problems within organizations large and small. Cloud Computing will be the catalyst for the long predicted notion of “ubiquitous computing”, enabling this revolution through a number of means;

  • Virtualization
  • Democratization of Computing
  • Scalability and fast provisioning
  • Commoditization of infrastructure

This paper will detail the revolution that Cloud Computing is bringing to IT and will contrast the new IT from traditional approaches.

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Moving your Infrastructure to the Cloud

Published December 9, 2010

With Cloud Computing becoming more widely utilized, it is important for organizations to understand ways to maximize benefits and minimize risks of a move to the cloud. This paper details the significant benefits that Cloud Computing brings and provides guidance to IT decision makers to help their decision making process. This is especially important given the plethora of vendors in the marketplace today. Buyers need to appreciate that assessing individual providers is critical to the success of Cloud Computing programs.

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Before You Buy-10 Questions You Need To Ask A Collaboration Vendor

Published January 26, 2010

In just the last few years, the enterprise collaboration software market has become one of the most crowded areas in IT. It seems as though new vendors are appearing on a weekly basis while traditional software vendors are working feverishly to retrofit their legacy offerings by introducing new collaboration add-ons.

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Software Delivery Models – Debunking the Myths

Published July 7, 2010

This white paper explains, contrasts and compares the three major software delivery models and provides buyers with useful criteria to evaluate software offerings and determine the suitability of the approaches to their unique environment and needs.

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Cloud Based Software – 10 Reasons It’s Better

Published June 29, 2010

The adoption of cloud-based business applications – tools and software delivered over the web with an on-demand, subscription-based model – has caught the attention of technology decision-makers across sectors. Many of these people want to understand the reasons for accelerating uptake in adoption of cloud services, and particularly to differentiate cloud applications from traditional on-premise/desktop software solutions.

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Top 10 Questions to Ask Before Moving Your Email to the Cloud

Published March 26, 2010

Email is an essential tool for businesses of all shapes and sizes. In fact, most organizations have adopted email communications into their business processes, making email crucial to the very functioning of the business. Businesses require email to be completely reliable and near real-time.

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10 Questions to Ask Your Cloud Vendor

Published March 4

Cloud Computing is a hot topic these days, engendering widespread interest from CEOs, CFOs and CIOs who are curious about this new paradigm shift and want to know how it will impact their business. This widespread interest has brought forth two camps, the cloud computing evangelists who hype its benefits and the fear mongering traditionalists whose business models are now at stake.

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10 Questions to Ask About Billing and Subscription Services

Published February 26, 2010

Global business models are changing from simple one time revenue streams to more complex billing arrangements – this is occurring not only in software but also in a wide range of different industries.

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Before You Buy-10 Questions You Need To Ask A Collaboration Vendor

Published January 26, 2010

In just the last few years, the enterprise collaboration software market has become one of the most crowded areas in IT. It seems as though new vendors are appearing on a weekly basis while traditional software vendors are working feverishly to retrofit their legacy offerings by introducing new collaboration add-ons.

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