The Riverbed Blog (testing)

A blog in search of a tagline

Forecast: Partly Cloudy

Posted by riverbedtest on January 25, 2011

As we discussed yesterday, what follows is the first blog entry from Eric Thacker, Riverbed's Director of Product Marketing for Whitewater (the cloud storage accelerator appliance which we announced in November 2010):

These days, everywhere you look in IT, people are talking about "the cloud." Advertising, financial   reports, panel discussions, even trade shows have sprung up to cover this phenomenon.  Now the stock market has caught cloud fever.  Is this another fad like 10 years ago when the path tCloudthingyo business success was thought to involve simply appending “.com” to the end of your business name?  Or is there real fire behind this cloud of smoke?

Just as the Internet has created a wholesale change in how companies and people conduct their  affairs, so has the cloud begun to exhibit a similar impact. The old standby of email, social networking, streaming video, and now remote access to core applications are visible examples of this change.  Some analysts estimate that the cloud will be more than a $50 billion opportunity in just a few years.  You might expect someone from Riverbed, a company that is firmly positioned to enable leveraging of the cloud, to respond that the cloud is here and all CIOs should push their entire infrastructure to it ASAP.  Well…sort of.

Like the move into the Internet frontier a decade ago,adopting a strategy to tap into the benefits of the cloud can create tremendous business and operational advantages.  Lower costs, greater information access, enhanced disaster recovery, and streamlined processes are all made possible Pets-com-sock-puppet by the cloud.  But like the move to the Internet, making the cloud the core of your IT strategy without some business rationale can be perilous.  Just ask the sock puppet.

To maximize the rewards while minimizing the risks of moving to the cloud, a rational strategy is a pre-requisite.  Like the adoption of virtualization, IT managers should map out a phased adoption of cloud-i-zation.  Start with the low hanging fruit in your IT infrastructure:  IT functions that are not mission critical but that will give you real benefits if moved to the cloud.  For example, you probably don’t want to move your customer credit card transaction data to the cloud given its sensitivity but shedding the shackles of tape and moving backups to thecloud bring the full benefits of the cloud to a universal IT process.  Similarly, taking common applications that are currently stored and managed at each of an enterprise’s sites to the cloud can streamline and reduce the cost of IT processes throughout the company.  

Analyzing your specific IT requirements, including SLAs, and thoughtfully mapping those to on-site vs. cloud hosting will help avoid a knee-jerk impulse to adopt that “cloud thingy” while bringing the benefits promised by the cloud to your entire IT infrastructure.  The keys to any successful strategy are balance and thorough consideration of alternatives.  The cloud represents a quantum change to how IT is to be managed.  Surviving and thriving from this change requires that IT administration not get lost in the fog of hype and hyperbole.

In my next blog, I'll discuss some of the concerns IT managers have regarding adopting the cloud as part of their infrastructure.

One Response to “Forecast: Partly Cloudy”

  1. I had always wanted to learn about this topic … I think it’s great the way you expose .. great work and continuing on with this great blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: