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A cloud vision from the crystal ball

Many enterprises are exploiting the benefits of virtualisation and they are relying on an assumption that costs will go down, management and control of their infrastructure will be easier, and customer services deployment will be quicker.

However, this is not always the case and it has not happened that way in many instances. The integration of technology has often been more complex than companies expected and the end users in the business have been left unable to benefit from any private cloud implementation.

More worrying is how easy it is for enterprise application and business development teams to bypass their IT department completely, and acquire public cloud services themselves in minutes.

Cloud was supposed to bring agility, simplicity, elasticity, efficiency and self-service provisioning. However, the reality of today’s cloud services has so far fallen far behind the promise.

Typically, there are a multitude of challenges that enterprises have to resolve in their journey towards providing cloud services. IT departments can become a bottleneck in the approvals and provisioning process for cloud services, which can lead to departments looking outside the organisation to Amazon Web Services and the like.

This can result in the creation and deployment of multiple virtual machines without the knowledge of the IT department, which in turn creates an ever-growing population of unregulated and uncontrolled images, with all the associated compliance and governance problems.

IT departments are realising they have a responsibility to help improve the provisioning and consumption of distributed and often complex cloud services for internal and external users, and prevent teams going outside the organisation for their cloud requirements.

There are applications out there, available now, that can provide an organisation with a controlled, unified platform that allows them to access a self- service catalogue of IT-approved and tested offerings immediately, off the shelf, and prevents them looking outside the business for that level of service, agility and time to market.

These platforms can integrate disparate technologies both in and outside the organisation and enable companies to manage multiple clouds. In this environment, dashboards allow companies to easily monitor and manage the allocation, usage and consumption of available resources within distributed datacentres and clouds.

These applications, provided by a range of companies, allow IT admins to control where infrastructure is, who is using it and how much is in use, as well as billing and resourcing.

Managing multiple clouds in one unified platform further offers IT companies an upgraded level of control that they may not have had before. Using unified applications, IT departments can define rules for security, compliance, energy requirements and cloud technology usage.

In the era of the mobile worker, worries about data access and security keep CIOs up at night. Having an application in place where rules can be defined means security teams can be confident in how, who, when and what uses the cloud, which further helps to minimise the time IT departments spend managing a cloud environment.

Technology can and does enable business success. In today’s particularly competitive business environment, an agile IT infrastructure can be a great advantage. An effective cloud management platform can enable a business to maximise the potential of its IT infrastructure to further business goals.

Enterprises can quickly develop their approach to provisioning and delivering IT offerings across the business in ways that significantly improve their operational efficiencies.

Jim Darragh is chief executive officer of Abiquo