How to Incrementally Embrace Public Cloud Computing

Michael Vizard
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Make the Financial Case for Virtualization and Cloud Computing

When it comes to production applications in the enterprise, many cloud computing service providers are willing to be bench players.

Instead of investing in IT infrastructure to support peak applications loads, cloud computing providers are making the case that IT organizations should invest in just enough IT equipment to support their average loads. Spikes in application workload requirements would then be handled by cloud computing providers that would instantly make additional capacity on demand.

One cloud computing provider that has set up specific services to provide these capabilities is Hostway, which created a FlexCloud servers offering that customers can treat as stand-by processing capacity.

According to Todd Benjamin, Hostway vice president of enterprise solutions, many IT organizations are still not completely comfortable with the idea of putting production applications in the cloud. There are, of course, a variety of similar offerings. But as cloud computing goes from being theoretical to something IT organizations actually deploy, the thing IT organizations would do well to remember is that cloud computing is not an all-or-nothing proposition. Offerings such as FlexCloud allow IT organizations to introduce public cloud computing services into their IT processes in a less disruptive manner, while at the same time providing significant value to the organization in the form of less IT infrastructure that needs to be supported.

For example, there are a lot of IT organizations that only need peak server capacity to be available a few days a month or at a particular time of year. For them, making use of compute resources in a cloud service to handle those spikes in demand makes a lot more financial sense than over-provisioning the number of on-premise servers they need.

When it comes to the economics of cloud computing, there are many issues to consider. But one thing that is for certain is that public cloud computing services have a role to play in the enterprise. It's just going to be about trying to figure out to what degree that optimally needs to happen.

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