Cloud is not everyone’s cup of Tea. Or Wine

|September 26, 2016 0
Image courtesy of George Stojkovic at freedigitalphotos
Enterprises will have to live for many years in a hybrid environment of on-premise applications and cloud-based services, points out a cloud usage expert as he opens the lid on resource-wastage, user-need misalignment and migration mishaps for cloud apps

Pratima H

ISRAEL: Despite barrels of cloud apps rolling in from all sides – DIY basements, SaaS pipes, pure-play walls, neighbourhood cellars like Amazon, Google etc; the seasoned whiff of a cloud sommelier is conspicuous by its absence in the enterprise alley.

Enterprises often end up pouring out huge bottles for the wrong users, or worse, find themselves searching for enough glasses at the last moment. There is seldom the pre-opening ritual done with a sharp nose to reckon what kind of cloud would make sense for a particular application or which texture would go with what architectural cheese, or even ensuring the simple act of swirling the migration bottom well.

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The resulting scenarios hence, are not so seldom: lot of scattered cloud wastage, user dystopia, resource drainage and bad spilling over to end customers. If by 2020, as much as $1 trillion in IT spending is to happen around Cloud, then why aren’t enterprises tapping cloud for its real elasticity, and why do studies after studies report jarring server-underutilisation or sub-optimisation numbers?

That makes tools like SoftWatch interesting to watch, specially when its CEO sniffs out architectural design, performance, capacity planning etc as unruly gatecrashers to the cloud party.

Application Usage analytics player SoftWatch is out with CloudIT Premium, what it calls the only service to enable profiling of enterprise applications according to their resource consumption and end-user activity. It has been in this space for productivity apps already, and now gears up for the enterprise side of this world.

With this fresh SaaS solution, the company is all set to assist enterprises with their migration to cloud based IT infrastructure, platforms and applications. It is excited about the ability of the platform to pull from the both sources–the resource consumption side and the analysis of end user activity – what it believes is quite a unique feature.

Would the depth of analytics and information that is squeezed out here equip CIOs and executives at enterprises with enough crucial insights to focus on the right applications? To plan capacity, secure end user experience, support the migration process, validate performance and control costs; as the company promises? Would this new tool be the Sommelier knife that enterprises need to uncork real taste of cloud apps? We find out in a Q&A with Uri Arad, Co-CEO SoftWatch.

How different and risky is the case of core enterprise apps in comparison to productivity apps? What new would you offer with this platform in view of these differences?

We believe the risks in moving applications to the cloud, be it a productivity apps or core home grown applications are quite similar and involve mainly the following:

• Possible degradation in employees productivity and during the transition period
• Higher costs than initially planned
• Users’ resistance to change
• Poor change management practices and tools

Having said that, it is expected that core applications that are not ‘off the shelf’ products may involve additional risks that are related to technical aspects such as architectural design, performance, capacity planning and security that tend to be more complicated in many cases than in adopting a standard productivity app.

Do capacity and application-related issues differ for public cloud and private clouds?

This depends on the implementation approach. You can build a private cloud that is entirely based on infrastructure and tools that are offered by cloud vendors such as AWS, and in this case there shouldn’t be a difference. If your private cloud solution is built by the organization itself and involves different tools and hybrid solutions than things can be quite more complicated and issues of architectural design, capacity planning and performance tend to be more risky.

Uri Arad

Uri Arad

How do such platforms complement or address what cloud infrastructure players already offer as services in addition to cloud offerings to enterprises? Can this platform integrate well with notable cloud offerings for the assessments it provides?

Our solution is unique in the sense that it provides essential analytics that help to improve the processes of planning and executing a transition to the cloud be it IaaS, PaaS or SaaS. We believe that information regarding resource consumption by the application and how the application is being used by end users are essential to understand the magnitude of change and to issues of architectural design, capacity planning, training, change management, performance monitoring and more.

The current professional services provided by major cloud vendors provide almost no information about user behavior and partial information on resource consumption of the current on premise applications. By using SoftWatch, cloud vendors, SIs, and enterprises will improve their ability to understand which applications are suitable to move to the cloud and will be better equipped to design and execute an effective transition process

As our platform is a supporting tool to the transition process we don’t see any problem to integrate it to the current processes of design and implementation of the move to the cloud.

What, in your experience, are some major mistakes or oversights that enterprises usually make during cloud adoption?

From our experience with enterprises who are moving their productivity suite to the cloud (Google Apps, Office 365), it is rather obvious that they are lacking information regarding the actual needs of their users and how the different applications are being used.

As a result, they are not investing enough in planning the transition and in effectively managing the change. This leads to issues of productivity degradation, user’s resistance and dissatisfaction, and inability to reach a successful cut-over to a full cloud solution which results in excess license payments.

Are sprawls, shadow IT, security risks, license spills etc major issues with cloud usage?

All the above issues should be addressed as part of the plan of moving to the cloud. The degree of importance of each issue can differ according to different attributes of the organizational culture: The role and strength of IT, risk taking vs. prudence, early adopters vs. followers, innovation vs. conservatism etc.

What would you recommend that can help enterprises turn into smart cloud users? Can post-adoption scenarios be handled as strongly as pre-planned ones?

The way we see it, at least with large enterprises, the transition towards a full cloud environment will be slow and gradual. Enterprises will have to live for many years in a hybrid environment of on premise applications and cloud based services, and their ability to manage the hybrid environment effectively overtime will be highly dependent on ongoing management and adoption management tools (like SoftWatch) as well as change management practices.

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