Bluelock Blog

How do I get my organization to start thinking of IaaS instead of traditional virtualization?

November 13, 2012 by Diana Nolting

Buying public cloud and Infrastructure-as-a-Service isn't like buying a pack of gum. You have a lot of questions to answer before purchasing, and likely your boss does, too.  You should have a lot of questions because you want to be making the right decision for your company and your workload.  You want to have the confidence to know that your data is safe and you are working with a true partner you can trust.

In this blog series we're going to answer those questions, asked by you, each week.  To submit your question, write it in the comments below, tweet @Bluelock or email our team at info [at] bluelock DOT com.

This week, Bluelock Solutions Architect Jake Robinson tackles the question that you asked... 

How do I get my organization to start thinking of IaaS instead of traditional virtualization?

"Before I can answer that, the first question I have back to you is 'Why are you looking to move to IaaS?'" Robinson counters.  "What's the pain point that you're trying to solve, or what's the problem that you're having that traditional virtualization isn't solving?"

"Once you identify what the pain point is, it's easier to craft your argument for the business case for IaaS." 

Robinson continues, "The problems that IaaS solves are the textbook answers like agility and scalability.  Those are very high level answers to what IaaS can do for you.  More specifically, however, we have a lot of clients that solve their cost transparency problems with IaaS and public cloud in a way they couldn't do on their own."

"For example, we had a client who was an IT department and one of their internal application owners (business unit) was requesting a lot of resources.  The IT department wanted the app owners to understand what they were asking for from a financial perspective, so they moved the app to Bluelock's public cloud.  This allowed IT to take advantage of Bluelock Portfolio™ to chargeback or showback the costs the application was responsible for incurring."

Robinson goes on to explain that not only was the IT department able to show the application owner the true cost of running their application, but they were also able to break that cost down by resource.  The data can then be exported to a .CSV file to easily share with finance, the owners or anyone else in the business.

For IT organizations that manage multiple VMs or multiple applications, cost can also be shown at a top-level for total use, or shown by application.  Public cloud, and Bluelock's public cloud, in particular thanks to Bluelock Portfolio, allows total transparency into the cost of IT, which helps the business better understand their cloud costs and make better assumptions for the future on application usage.

Along the lines of transparency, the public cloud also allows IT to maintain a level of control.  There are certain cases where an application owner may need more control over the application which, for various reasons, IT isn't able to give them.  Public cloud is a nice sandbox for those application owners to have control of their infrastructure while allowing IT to still have governance and even set financial spending caps.

"Transparency and control aren't the only pain points solved, though," Robinson explains.  "Your scalability with a public cloud provider is going to be better than with a private virtual infrastructure."

"A cloud provider's main job is capacity management, specifically, always having enough capacity for its clients. From an IT perspective, the more capacity you have lying around, the more expense the business incurs.  The benefit of a public cloud provider is that you only pay for what you use; you're not paying for all the additional capacity that the cloud provider has until you use it."

Robinson also notes that it's important to talk about security when addressing IaaS and Public Cloud.

"A common misconception about IaaS and public cloud is that it's somehow less secure.  In reality, you have complete control over all the security within Bluelock's public cloud and you can bring your own network appliances, software agents to put in your VMs, your own virtual IPS and you can design your system and employ encryption wherever you want to."  In fact, he continues, "It can often be even more compliant than private virtual infrastructure because as a public cloud provider we're forced to meet higher compliance standards."

Bluelock is certified for various standards, including SAS-70 Type II and SSAE Type II audits. In addition, Bluelock has helped clients with industry-specific audit requirements such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for healthcare organizations or the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) for companies handling credit card transactions. Bluelock is willing to work with your organization to develop a solution that aligns with your particular guidelines.

In summary, in order to help your organization start thinking about IaaS rather than traditional virtualization you should:

  • Identify the pain points IaaS can solve that virtualization alone can't (i.e. serve the business units who are moving to non-approved IaaS vendors already, achieve greater scale and agility with the ability to move lower tier apps to the cloud and focus more on the business critical apps and processes)
  • Identify how the value of IaaS aligns with the broader business goals (i.e. ability to better predict, control, and show back IT costs; achieve greater security or improved recovery mechanisms)
  • Do your research. There is no silver lining in the cloud and not all clouds are created equal. Make sure your cloud provider is experienced in solving the pains you're experiencing and that they can help you sell the bigger picture value of IaaS to your organization-whether that's in person or by arming you with the information you need.
  • Understand your audience. Does your management team value pragmatism, innovation or both? Align your message and approach with the values and views of your leaders. 
  • Develop your plan and approach the organization with the "why" first--and then the how and what. People connect with the "why" more than the how or what. Why is IaaS important to your department and to the business? You should have already answered these questions in your preparation, but this should be the basis of your proposal for IaaS. If heads are nodding on the "why" then you can close the conversation with the how and what based on your research.

First image courtesy of http://www.sxc.hu.

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