Sky's the LimitBy Samuel Greengard | Posted 2012-07-23 Print
Cloud computing is rapidly rolling into the mainstream of business and IT. The technology is revolutionizing the way organizations manage infrastructure and business processes.
Sky's the Limit
The rapid growth of clouds isn't likely to slow anytime soon. Tata Consultancy reports that customer-facing applications and business processes are currently the major drivers for cloud adoption, but the reasons for using clouds are growing.
The company reports that 78 percent of U.S. organizations rely on clouds to standardize applications and business processes. Other drivers include reducing IT costs (71 percent), increasing application flexibility (71 percent), improving data and trend analysis (65 percent), making faster application enhancements (65 percent) and reducing application downtime (54 percent).
At Metabolon, a Durham, N.C., company that provides diagnostics services and biochemical profiling in the medical and pharmaceutical fields, cloud computing is significantly redefining processes and workflows. The company, which crunches data for companies like Merck and Novartis, generates between 300 gigabytes and 400 gigabytes of data each week.
"The data is analyzed in real time," reports Corey DeHaven, senior director of information systems, who says that much of the computational analysis takes place at data facilities located overseas. "We are really protective about our software and data, and we require a high level of security."
As a result, Metabolon uses a cloud-hosted unified monitoring solution from Nimsoft to help manage and monitor local assets, including servers, databases, applications, environmental controls and scientific instrumentation. The same system monitors remote assets, including smaller overseas data centers with servers, applications, scientific instruments and networks. It also has turned to cloud-based email to aid in data management and governance.
The cloud has made it much easier to identify IT hotspots and reconfigure IT infrastructure on the fly, DeHaven says. This has led to improvements in performance and availability, as well as in disaster recovery and business continuity.
"It allows us to operate in a more strategic way," he adds. Another benefit: The firm requires one less full-time-equivalent IT employee (Metablon has a staff of 12). "We are still using all the software we developed in-house, but it is connecting to the cloud infrastructure in a seamless way," DeHaven explains.
Tata's Krishnan says that, in the end, cloud technology is maturing rapidly, and enterprises are maturing with it. "Business and IT leaders are now looking for reasons to move into the cloud rather than reasons why they shouldn't do so,” he explains. “They are beginning to understand that the cloud can create strategic and competitive advantages. Cloud computing provides the enterprise with a way to deliver a standardized IT infrastructure in an agile, quick and cost-effective way."
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