Zombies in the Cloud: Hardware Is Dead, Yet Still Alive

Loraine Lawson
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Is Your Cloud Provider Enterprise-Ready?

10 questions that IT organizations should be asking cloud computing providers before signing on the dotted line.

A recent customer survey by TrackVia, a cloud-based application development platform, found it's not cost savings that attract non-technical users to their solution. Fifty percent cited functionality and 30 percent cited ease-of-use, making these the two most popular reasons for moving development to the cloud.

 

Cost is the primary driver for SaaS and cloud adoption, according to 2010 surveys. Still, I have to say I'm not surprised that a company targeting non-technical users would find functionality and ease-of-use topped their list.

 

In fact, it may be that cloud and SaaS adoption are too easy-at least for the long-term good of the organization's information. It seems business units are using cloud and SaaS as a "backdoor" to sneak in applications without IT's knowledge, Darren Cunningham, VP of Cloud Integration at Informatica, says in a recent Processor.com article. Cunningham has nicknamed this trend "SaaS sprawl."

 


And, as with any sprawl, the lack of planning leads to problems-in this case, it's creating data silos that aren't sharing information with on-premise applications. The article mentioned four "essential" SaaS data integration problems that companies encounter when trying to integrate SaaS systems with back-end legacy systems:

  • Migration of data from the legacy systems to the SaaS solution
  • Replication of data, which basically means changed data is copied between the on-site systems and cloud-based solution
  • Synchronization, which means each system shares information in real time
  • Data quality, which is the problem of ensuring the data is consistent, standardized and isn't duplicated

 

If you regularly read this blog, you probably won't find a lot new in this article. However, if you're new to the issues of SaaS/cloud integration, this is a great introduction to the problem.

 

What's still unclear, however, is how these issues will ultimately be addressed: By vendors offering point-to-point integrations between their product and your on-site applications, or by a complete integration out of the stack, according to David Linthicum, who is quoted in the article and regularly writes about SaaS/cloud, SOA and data integration.

 

One thing's for certain: Right now, this "backdoor" adoption isn't working, at least not from a data sharing and integration standpoint.



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