Welcome!

Open Web Authors: Liz McMillan, Lori MacVittie, Gilad Parann-Nissany, Carmen Gonzalez, Mark R. Hinkle

Related Topics: GovIT, SOA & WOA, Cloud Expo

GovIT: Article

What is Enterprise Cloud Computing?

Enterprise Cloud Computing gives the CIO IT infrastructure that is faster, better, cheaper, and safer

Jill Tummler Singer on Ulitzer

What is enterprise cloud computing? Simply stated, it’s a behind-the-firewalls use of commercial, Internet-based cloud technologies specifically focused on one company’s or one business environment’s computing needs. Enterprise cloud computing is a controlled, internal place that offers the rapid and flexible provisioning of compute power, storage, software, and security services to meet your mission’s demands.

It combines the processes of a best in class ITIL organization with the agility of managed, global infrastructure to make your IT faster, better, cheaper, and safer. Enterprise cloud computing gives your business agility, survivability, sustainability, and security.

I believe commercial solutions-whether its Google's cloud or Amazon's web services-may be perfect for many companies. But, some corporations and government agencies are not going to be comfortable outsourcing their information and services to the internet-based cloud. For agencies like mine, and for many corporations, keeping such precious gems in our own possession is a foregone conclusion.

Hence, enterprise cloud computing is your answer.

As a CIO, you are under enormous pressure. A recent global study by IBM summarized these pressure points.

First, today's CIO must be able to use technology to drive a company's innovation. He needs to understand the plans and goals of the agency and introduce IT that will achieve those goals-working with the business. This is certainly not IT for IT's sake; it is IT for the company's sake. It is the integration of IT and business for maximum corporate leverage and competitiveness. To achieve the innovation the company needs, today's CIO must increase the flexibility and efficiency of infrastructure to support business changes and provide a foundation for new IT insertion.

Second, today's CIO must be a savvy value creator. She must be able to produce or increase profit from existing company property. This may be connecting the enterprise's data in new ways to give new insights and improve decisions. Or, it may be improving IT's overall understanding of the business that allows IT to bring forth new technologies to shift the business forward. The creation of value for today's CIO cannot come with increased expense. Today's CIO must be thrifty and manage internal costs to free dollars to create innovation and value. Standardizing and centralizing infrastructure can keep IT costs to a minimum.

Finally, the IBM study noted that today's CIO is a true partner with other executives in the organization. His job is to listen to other business leaders in the company and work with them collaboratively to improve the competitiveness of the business. Delivering innovative solutions usually requires cultural change in the business; a strong partnership between the CIO and the business leader is needed to push that cultural change through. It is not enough, however, for the CIO to focus outside of the IT department. Today's CIO must also look inward and inspire her own organization to excellence in innovation, service provisioning, applications development, security, and other core infrastructure disciplines while also inspiring her IT employees to improve their business acumen.

I highlight this IBM study as it demonstrates the mounting pressures facing CIOs and IT departments. There's no new money; yet IT must produce transformations for the business. OpEx is increasing as a percent of overall IT spend--further eating away at the CIO's ability to free funds for new developments. I believe Enterprise Cloud Computing is a key strategy that allows the CIO to plot a path forward that reduces operating costs and also delivers a competitive advantage for the business. Enterprise Cloud Computing gives the CIO IT infrastructure that is faster, better, cheaper, and safer.

Let's talk about these four features. While I stated them rather simply-faster, better, cheaper, and safer-each one is an imperative from an IT perspective and all CIOs must deliver in each area. There are many technologies and business processes that support the faster, better, cheaper, and safer goals. I don't want anyone to leave with the impression that Enterprise Cloud Computing is the only thing that can do it. For example, implementing sound configuration and change management processes in your IT department on top of any enterprise technology architecture will result in improvements in speed, availability, cost, and security. Driving your applications organization to centers of excellence--for services, analytics, or information extraction will deliver improvements. Or demanding strict standards in data and information management will help in all areas. However, I do believe Enterprise Cloud Computing offers a great return on investment and makes it a premier strategy for the CIO to achieve business value while reducing costs and complexity. How does Enterprise Cloud Computing improve the agility, sustainability, survivability, and security of IT so IT returns value to mission? Let's go through a few examples.


The author keynoting 1st Annual Government IT Conference & Expo, October 6, 2009 - held in Washington DC at the Regency Hyatt on Capitol Hill

Every CIO needs the ability to quickly and rapidly provision new infrastructure to support business needs. Think of the likely scenarios facing your business.

  • If you're FEMA, you need rapid ability to provision IT services for national emergency response.
  • If you're the Department of State, you need to be able to respond to terrorist bombings or earthquakes to provide immediate US citizen services and diplomatic support to host nations.
  • Similarly, if you're H&R Block and gearing up for tax season, you need to grow your services quickly and just in time to meet consumer surge-for those few months of the year but not for the whole year.
  • If you're Burger King and preparing for a mass marking campaign to promote "Transformers," you want fast capacity for the marketing hype without long-term excess.
  • Or, if you're Toys R Us, you want your web services to safely and rapidly respond to the holiday crunch and then return to off-season levels at an affordable price.

Cloud computing makes all of this possible through inexpensive, commodity-based components that you can daisy chain together with a few clicks on the keyboard. You need temporary storage or fast dedication of storage to a new effort; the storage cloud can do that. If you need compute power, you can call up a dozen new servers to improve processing time and then decommission those servers when your peak has subsided. Or, if you need on-demand security services to process sensitive data, Cloud Computing can give you a private enclave with a full suite of security services in a matter of minutes and not months.

Let's talk more about what Enterprise Cloud Computing is and how it can easily fit into your technology strategy.

As I noted in the beginning, Enterprise Cloud Computing is behind the firewall and contained within a business enterprise (one company, one agency, or one supply chain, for example). A true cloud environment contains many layers and extends beyond the compute platform. To gain early advantage in Enterprise Cloud Computing, you need at least a storage cloud and a compute/processing cloud sitting on top of your network cloud. However, this requires each cloud user to bring database, application, web services, and security services with them. You'll achieve goodness in this scenario but you may not actually achieve faster, better, cheaper, and safer overall IT.

A robust Enterprise Cloud Computing environment will have storage, compute, database, application, and maybe additional layers. It will support rapid stand-up of development and test environments to reduce time to market by applications developers. It will include standard data management approaches and flexible storage schemes to allow broad re-use of corporate data without storing the data in multiple locations. It should have security as a service that dictates a common, consistent approach to assuring the identity, access, and audit of individuals and systems. Finally, a robust Enterprise Cloud will be built on a solid foundation of common processes, management, and governance principles to keep the cloud optimized.

If I look back at CIA's technology strategy for the past few years, we were headed to an Enterprise Cloud all along, even if we didn't call it that.

Like all of you, we are moving from point-to-point networks to private MPLS clouds to gain efficiency, redundancy, and peak performance.

Virtualized servers were also a core strategy for CIA. Limitations on power, space, and cooling in our data centers meant adding more physical servers was not a long-term option. We needed to reduce our number of physical servers, increase our overall computing power, and do it in a smaller square foot of real estate. I suspect many of you have faced the same M&E demands. If you've only virtualized your servers, you've already started down the Enterprise Cloud Computing path and you can claim some early success! Abstracting the operating system and software from the hardware on which it runs is a foundation upon which cloud computing is built.

In the storage area, we've all used storage area networks and network-attached storage (SAN and NAS). Combined with storage resource management, this was a precursor for storage clouds. Connecting your storage to your servers has matured in Enterprise Cloud Computing, whereby you can dynamically connect any storage to any server thus allowing corporate re-use of data in a multitude of virtual ways through single physical copies. SAN and NAS were also precursors for dynamic allocation of storage to support expanding and contrasting computationally intense applications. This sort of "rubberband" theory of storage is a fundamental element of the Enterprise Cloud.

A fourth example of how our technology strategy was already headed to cloud is in our applications. We were already on a march to all web-based applications, ideally requiring very thin clients on the opposite end. Building one application to meet many business needs or mashing applications together for new business value is our corporate approach. Not all applications will be built on the software as a service model but we will continue on that path in as much as possible. Underlying our applications is a nearly 7-year old strategy for a services oriented architecture that componentizes key services for security, access administration, search, and so forth. Continued evolution from SOA to Software as a Service increases our cloud success.

And, a fifth example of how our strategy was easily aligned with Enterprise Cloud Computing is management of our enterprise data. We've been focused on an Enterprise Data Layer for several years. Sure, we wanted to minimize our storage waste. But, we really needed confidence that everyone was using the single authoritative source of data and we needed confidence we could resurrect that data in the event of another 9-11. We wanted applications, systems, and users to be served by the data layer rather than build individual, redundant small, data islands. Enterprise Cloud Computing allows us to manage our data corporately while giving the perception of individual stovepipes that operate and respond with high mission performance.

I suspect that most medium- and large-organizations have similar technology plans that also dovetail nicely into Enterprise Cloud Computing. Don't think of the Cloud as a perpendicular technology approach aimed at derailing your current plans. It isn't. Instead, think of the Cloud as an energy booster welded onto the side of your existing plans to get you to your goal state faster through commercial, commodity technologies and approaches.

In summary, there are many IT benefits to the company and benefits to the IT department from Enterprise Cloud Computing. Let's go back to our simple mantra: faster, better, cheaper, safer.

Perhaps the most prolific feature of Cloud Computing is the ability to deliver services faster. The storage, compute, and infrastructure layers of Enterprise Cloud Computing allow you to rapidly increase capacity to respond to peaks in demand. You don't need long-lead times to pre-provision service. You can keep a minimal amount of excess capacity on hand to quickly expand. And, because you are built on commodity platforms, you can get more capacity without lengthy acquisition cycles. You have a new app that needs to stress test for the weekend? Just reassign some processing power to accommodate the load and return the power to the business for Monday morning demands.

Enterprise Cloud Computing also allows IT to be better. When you have just a few copies of your enterprise data and you can stripe those copies around multiple physical data centers, you've improved your disaster recovery posture. Your availability numbers can also soar with Enterprise Cloud Computing. Ready-made redundancy protects from failure and drives your mean-time-between-failure sky high while driving your mean-time-to-repair down to zero. It's also better from a Green IT perspective. Enterprise Cloud Computing still takes power, space, and cooling but it allows you to maximize the capacity in any single powered unit.

This also drives us to a cheaper IT environment. Legacy environments required 30 or 50% utilization rates across suites of physical servers to manage wide ranging deltas in performance. Each physical server was always on and always draining power. With Enterprise Cloud Computing, you can maximize the load on a physical rack while spreading the compute power across virtual servers, thus allowing you to respond to wide-ranging performance demands without adding physical equipment. Enterprise Cloud Computing improves OpEx by forcing rigid adherence to standards thus reducing change management overhead and associated engineering review labor.

Enterprise Cloud Computing also helps IT deliver a safer environment. The standards-base of the cloud reduces the complexity and variety of the infrastructure, allowing you to deploy patches more rapidly across the enterprise. By keeping the cloud inside your firewalls, you can focus your strongest intrusion detection and prevention sensors on your perimeter; thus gaining significant advantage over the most common attack vector-the Internet. By virtualizing storage, you protect against a physical intruder that might be intent on taking your server or disk out of the data center for exploitation. If you take the cloud to the desktop and deliver your office automation through a virtual desktop, you reduce workstation security anomalies and greatly improve edge protection. Finally, as we move to security services in the cloud, you hit a multi-dimensional safety model that extends beyond people and their accesses. The multiple dimensions allow you to make security decisions based on who you are, where you are at that moment, what kind of data or app you want, and what kind of device you have.

Assuming I've convinced you Enterprise Cloud Computing is better for IT, let's focus for a minute on the top 10 reasons why your boss will love Enterprise Cloud Computing.

10. She won't get a big IT bill every time she wants a new application.

9. He can threaten to outsource the whole lot of his IT department and, he may actually be able to do so!

8. She can move her people to lower rent locations without moving a mini-data center with them.

7. It's fun to go in and switch off a random machine in the data center to get people's attention-without actually stopping any work!

6. It's "green." She can turn her server huggers into tree huggers.

5. He never has to hear whining about needing new infrastructure; he can just buy some more capacity every once in a while.

4. She can claim to be a "hypervisor". They're a lot cooler and more powerful than mortal supervisors.

3. When she fires her maniacal, disgruntled employee, one click on security services will keep all of the company's intellectual property safe from damage or exfiltration.

2. He can tell his golf buddies he has his own cloud, and he's not just blowing cigar smoke.

1. Having all of her projects "completed virtually" is way better than having all her projects "virtually complete!

Does all of this really free the infrastructure? Is the title of this talk "Enterprise Cloud Computing: The Infrastructure's Ultimate Revenge" for real? Can I get IT over its reputation as being too slow, too expensive, and too rigid? As the CIO or head of infrastructure, if I walk down this path, can I deliver IT that is faster, better, cheaper, and safer? My unequivocal answer to you is "Yes." You can use Enterprise Cloud Computing as the infrastructure's ultimate revenge. You can turn the conversation away from statements such as:

  • "My business unit was ready but IT was behind schedule."

TO

  • "The infrastructure delivered ahead of schedule and I'm waiting for my business unit to set a date for training."

OR

  • "My business unit could have predicted that but the application used bad data."

TO

  • "I'm sorry boss; we had the right data we just made the wrong prediction."

Or EVEN!

  • "The application was ready to deliver but the infrastructure wasn't there."

TO

  • "The infrastructure's ready to go whenever your app is."

The Infrastructure's Ultimate Revenge is that it won't be your scape goat any more. Enterprise Cloud Computing done right will take the wait out of applications delivery. As soon as new code is ready to drop, the infrastructure's waiting to take it. If you need a 5000 person test environment for 30-days, the infrastructure can delivery that in a day and give it to you for the month you need it.

The Infrastructure's Ultimate Revenge is an IT commodity that gives your business a perfect inventory model for data storage and compute power. You won't waste money on excess capacity and you won't waste time waiting for new capacity.

Finally, the Infrastructure's Ultimate Revenge means IT is out of your critical path. Delivering you an environment that is faster, better, cheaper, and safer so you can accomplish your business objectives. Enterprise Cloud Computing allows you to cut the ball-and-chain of the past or release the albatross from around your neck. You're no longer stuck with slow, lethargic, antiquated solutions. Enterprise Cloud Computing allows your company to break away, soar, and be successful.

In summary, the Infrastructure's Ultimate Revenge is more than faster, better, cheaper, and safer IT. It "frees your Business to Change Strategically."

More Stories By Jill Tummler Singer

Jill Tummler Singer is CIO for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)- which as part of the 16-member Intelligence Community plays a primary role in achieving information superiority for the U.S. Government and Armed Forces. A DoD agency, the NRO is staffed by DoD and CIA personnel. It is funded through the National Reconnaissance Program, part of the National Foreign Intelligence Program.

Prior to joining the NRO, Singer was Deputy CIO at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), where she was responsible for ensuring CIA had the information, technology, and infrastructure necessary to effectively execute its missions. Prior to her appointment as Deputy CIO, she served as the Director of the Diplomatic Telecommunications Service (DTS), United States Department of State, and was responsible for global network services to US foreign missions.

Singer has served in several senior leadership positions within the Federal Government. She was the head of Systems Engineering, Architecture, and Planning for CIA's global infrastructure organization. She served as the Director of Architecture and Implementation for the Intelligence Community CIO and pioneered the technology and management concepts that are the basis for multi-agency secure collaboration. She also served within CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold. Mike Kavis is Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Pa...
Dale Kim is the Director of Industry Solutions at MapR. His background includes a variety of technical and management roles at information technology companies. While his experience includes work with relational databases, much of his career pertains to non-relational data in the areas of search, content management, and NoSQL, and includes senior roles in technical marketing, sales engineering, and support engineering. Dale holds an MBA from Santa Clara University, and a BA in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly in the process of breaking from its heretofore relatively obscure enterprise applications (such as plant floor control and supply chain management) and going mainstream into the consumer space. More and more creative folks are interconnecting everyday products such as household items, mobile devices, appliances and cars, and unleashing new and imaginative scenarios. We are seeing a lot of excitement around applications in home automation, personal fitness, and in-car entertainment and this excitement will bleed into other areas. On the commercial side, m...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CodeFutures, a leading supplier of database performance tools, has been named a “Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. CodeFutures is an independent software vendor focused on providing tools that deliver database performance tools that increase productivity during database development and increase database performance and scalability during production.
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., showed what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. He discussed opportunities and challenges ahead for the IoT from a market and technical point of vie...
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, addressed the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. Rodney Rogers, chairman and CEO of Virtustream; Brendan O'Brien, co-founder of Aria Systems, Bart Copeland, president and CEO of ActiveState Software; Jim Cowie, chief scientist at Dyn; Dave Wagstaff, VP and chief architect at BSQUARE Corporation; Seth Proctor, CTO of NuoDB, Inc.; and Andris Gailitis, C...
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.
SYS-CON Media announced that Splunk, a provider of the leading software platform for real-time Operational Intelligence, has launched an ad campaign on Big Data Journal. Splunk software and cloud services enable organizations to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine-generated big data coming from websites, applications, servers, networks, sensors and mobile devices. The ads focus on delivering ROI - how improved uptime delivered $6M in annual ROI, improving customer operations by mining large volumes of unstructured data, and how data tracking delivers uptime when it matters most.
In this Women in Technology Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing at Verizon Enterprise, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO at MetraTech; Evelyn de Souza, Data Privacy and Compliance Strategy Leader at Cisco Systems; Seema Jethani, Director of Product Management at Basho Technologies; Victoria Livschitz, CEO of Qubell Inc.; Anne Hungate, Senior Director of Software Quality at DIRECTV, discussed what path they took to find their spot within the technology industry and how do they see opportunities for other women in their area of expertise.
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
SYS-CON Media announced that Cisco, a worldwide leader in IT that helps companies seize the opportunities of tomorrow, has launched a new ad campaign in Cloud Computing Journal. The ad campaign, a webcast titled 'Is Your Data Center Ready for the Application Economy?', focuses on the latest data center networking technologies, including SDN or ACI, and how customers are using SDN and ACI in their organizations to achieve business agility. The Cisco webcast is available on-demand.
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
“The age of the Internet of Things is upon us,” stated Thomas Svensson, senior vice-president and general manager EMEA, ThingWorx, “and working with forward-thinking companies, such as Elisa, enables us to deploy our leading technology so that customers can profit from complete, end-to-end solutions.” ThingWorx, a PTC® (Nasdaq: PTC) business and Internet of Things (IoT) platform provider, announced on Monday that Elisa, Finnish provider of mobile and fixed broadband subscriptions, will deploy ThingWorx® platform technology to enable a new Elisa IoT service in Finland and Estonia.
Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are increasing at an unprecedented rate. The threat landscape of today is drastically different than just a few years ago. Attacks are much more organized and sophisticated. They are harder to detect and even harder to anticipate. In the foreseeable future it's going to get a whole lot harder. Everything you know today will change. Keeping up with this changing landscape is already a daunting task. Your organization needs to use the latest tools, methods and expertise to guard against those threats. But will that be enough? In the foreseeable future attacks w...
As enterprises move to all-IP networks and cloud-based applications, communications service providers (CSPs) – facing increased competition from over-the-top providers delivering content via the Internet and independently of CSPs – must be able to offer seamless cloud-based communication and collaboration solutions that can scale for small, midsize, and large enterprises, as well as public sector organizations, in order to keep and grow market share. The latest version of Oracle Communications Unified Communications Suite gives CSPs the capability to do just that. In addition, its integration ...
Building low-cost wearable devices can enhance the quality of our lives. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Sai Yamanoor, Embedded Software Engineer at Altschool, provided an example of putting together a small keychain within a $50 budget that educates the user about the air quality in their surroundings. He also provided examples such as building a wearable device that provides transit or recreational information. He then reviewed the resources available to build wearable devices at home including open source hardware, the raw materials required and the options available to power s...
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...