What We Talk About When We Talk About the Cloud
How can your company get the most out of cloud computing? By making smart investments in performance monitoring software while avoiding false promises.
Cloud computing has been part of the IT mainstream for some years now. In that time, each development in cloud computing has been accompanied by promises of increased efficiency, reduced spending, and heightened performance, all delivered with little or no effort on the part of the user. While cloud certainly has the potential to increase performance and lower spending, a conversion to cloud actually increases costs for many companies. Why is this?
One reason may be the language we use to discuss cloud services. While tech leaders may have a firm grasp of the industry lexicon, most business leaders do not specialize in IT terminology. This vocabulary gap only increases with cloud computing, as each development earns its own industry moniker that is packed with meaning for insiders, but inscrutable to everyone else.
More importantly, these types of developments in cloud technology — the ones that promise to completely change the game — often have little impact on how cloud services work now. Real companies need real ways to improve productivity, and this normally involves small changes to existing services, the kind of advances that don’t always make their way into the mainstream.
For most companies, IT sophistication is not an end goal, but a means to greater business efficiency. Companies don’t want advances in cloud compute and storage if they don’t lower costs and increase performance. For cloud to have this type of impact, businesses need to use it effectively, and this requires paying increased attention to the way cloud services affect each company’s budget.
Seeing Through the Fog
Here’s one example of how the confusion that surrounds cloud computing can lead to higher business costs:
The Wall Street Journal recently stirred up debate when it published an article titled “Forget 'the Cloud'; 'the Fog' Is Tech's Future.” The article discusses recent developments in fog computing, a framework meant to harness the computing power of everyday appliances such as smart lamps and cars. By tapping into these smart devices, companies can streamline data processing and increase computing speeds. But should business leaders actually “Forget the Cloud”?
Tech publications were quick to say no. GSN pointed out that fog computing is nothing more than a combination of two preexisting frameworks: the cloud and the Internet of Things. They went further by pointing out that the companies advertising fog computing — Cisco and IBM — are ones that have struggled to break into the cloud computing market. In a similar vein, ComputerWeekly wrote: “At the end of the day, Fog is still Cloud.” The Fog may be a useful concept, but it does not replace the cloud. In other words, companies shouldn’t abandon their current computing setup.
The Fog is only one example of a tech term making widespread understanding of the cloud more difficult. Clearly, business leaders must approach these terms carefully before buying into every new advancement that heralds itself to be a game-changer.
So how can a company get the most out of advancements in cloud without being led astray by false promises? The answer lies in smart investments in performance monitoring software.
Know Your Cloud
While the discussion surrounding cloud computing remains somewhat opaque, there are steps that companies can take to ensure they are spending wisely. As more and more applications move to the cloud, companies should invest in Cloud Application Performance Management (CAPM) software. Administrators can use CAPM tools to identify poor user experience in cloud-based apps. If certain apps are underperforming, administrators can quickly reduce spend. Using CAPM tools, IT can reduce overprovisioning and unnecessary spending toensure their company is getting the most out of cloud.
While CAPM tools can help IT manage cloud apps, it is also necessary for business leaders without IT knowledge to incorporate cloud metrics into spending reports and budgets. Business value dashboards (BVDs) accomplish this, serving as a translation device between business and IT. BVDs allow companies to manage large quantities of data and analyze performance metrics pertaining to IT expenditure. Business professionals can use BVDs to limit wasteful spend and optimize their use of cloud services. Unlike some other services, BVD’s optimize a company’s actual cloud setup.
These tools do more than promise the next big thing: they deliver.