Choosing Your First Cloud Application Initiative
Questions you should ask to help determine which cloud application path you should pursue.
One of the problems with trying to embrace cloud computing is that it tends to expose a lot of weaknesses when it comes to data management. The sad fact of the matter is that a lot of IT organizations have massive amounts of duplicate data, so when it comes time to move an application to the cloud it's a little challenging to figure out what version of any given data set needs to go along with that application.
This data management problem is not just limited to the cloud; the problem exists throughout the enterprise. It's just that when moving to the cloud, this problem suddenly becomes a whole lot more pressing. Naturally, a lot of IT organizations are looking to buy time to clean up their internal operations before moving to the cloud, especially if that move involves a public cloud computing service.
Before moving any data into the cloud, however, the folks at Queplix have a somewhat radical notion. Queplix recently launched a metadata server that keeps track of all the relationships between various data sets residing in different applications. Most recently, the company launched an implementation of that metadata as a service in the cloud, dubbed QueCloud. What Queplix CEO Mark Cashman is essentially advocating is that IT organizations leverage the QueCloud to get their internal IT house in order. The Queplix metadata server will quickly discover all the duplicate data in the organization and its relationship to other applications. In effect, Cashman is making a case for moving the data management function into the cloud as a way to pave the way for the applications that follow.
Cashman also notes that on an ongoing basis Queplix will also help IT organizations better manage the inevitable sprawl that results once a company starts to leverage software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications in the cloud. By keeping track of all the relationships between the data in those applications, Cashman says it becomes a whole lot easier to discover SaaS applications that are essentially performing the same functions.
When all is said and done, it's the lack of effective data management that leads to overspending on IT infrastructure and the staff to manage it. And all that duplicate data also increases the size of the attack surface that needs to be defended from a security perspective, while also increasing the probabilities of violating any number of compliance regulations.
So before your organization decides to replicate in the cloud the same data management mess that exists in the enterprise today, maybe the more prudent thing to do is to concentrate on setting up the management systems in the cloud today so that IT history doesn't just wind up repeating itself all over again.