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Taking practical steps to the cloud with HP and Microsoft – Part One

By Brad Kirby - HP Group Manager – Microsoft Product Partnerships


You know a technology trend is starting to hit escape velocity when it is no longer discussed exclusively in trade magazines and analyst publications, but when it starts to be bantered about in more mainstream media. 


So it caught my attention the other day when a local radio station did a ten minute segment on cloud computing.  They talked about how cloud computing is the next big trend that will reshape the way that individuals and companies use technology because it will allow them to pick and choose the applications they want to use without having to install the software on their desktops or in their data centers and because they will be able to buy these application services using a “pay-as-you-go” model.  The radio segment did a good job of communicating the essence of cloud computing in a way that most listeners would understand even if they didn’t understand the significance of the change that it represents.


Since I work within HP’s Industry Standard Server team and collaborate with colleagues at Microsoft on a daily basis, I am constantly surrounded by cloud computing discussions.  Living on the inside as a member of the product management community, you definitely see all of the warts associated with new technologies like cloud and you sometimes wonder whether the volume of communication simplifies or complicates companies’ ability to understand what cloud computing can do for them. 


But it’s also exciting to know that we’re living through a period where IT as we know it is fundamentally changing.  By starting to move application services to private or public clouds, companies will begin to see significant reductions in application service roll-out times, they gain the ability to outsource a greater percentage of IT infrastructure and shift capex to opex, and they can begin to decentralize IT functions so that line of business IT managers can take greater control of IT service deployment and management without creating chaos in the data center.  


When I try to boil down the fundamentals of cloud computing, here’s what I get to:


1.  Resource pools, not dedicated infrastructure: Cloud computing essentially says, instead of building custom server, storage, and networking configurations for each application, you build pools of server, storage, and networking assets that can be allocated or flexed (usually via a self service portal) to support the application services required by the business.  This helps improve resource utilization and allows applications to be provisioned more rapidly than traditional approaches.


2.  Private and public options: Cloud services can typically be delivered either on premises (private cloud) or sourced from a third party (public cloud).  Selection of private vs. public options will depend largely on performance and security requirements, strategic nature of the IT service, and whether the company wants to own the IT asset and the management of the asset or rent it.


3.  Pay per use model: Whether applications are deployed on a private or public cloud, organizations will pay for application services using a “pay per use model.”  This allows the business to more easily budget for application services because they can spread the cost of the equipment and software over a longer period of time.


The trick is “How do you get there?”


Look for the next post in the series to find out more.

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