Cloud // Infrastructure as a Service
Commentary
3/26/2012
08:39 AM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%
Repost This

Cloud Plans: Open Letter To Enterprise Application Vendors

One of the biggest obstacles to cloud adoption is the state of application architecture. As buyers, we must get our app vendors on board--now.

Cloud is inevitable, whether you're talking about public, private, or hybrid architectures. So how come most enterprise applications are still not architected for the cloud?

Let's change that posture. Those of us with buyer power must step up and make our strategies known to our enterprise application vendors.

I suggest that you riff on the following letter with your enterprise application vendors. But don't finish the conversation there. Keep reminding them; repetition is the soul of change. If we're going to get to the promise of more automation, less spending on manual/dumb activities, and bursting instead of buying for peak capacity, we've got to repeat the message.

Dear Enterprise Application Vendor:

I'm sure you've been following the hype about cloud computing, but let me assure you that it's more than just hype. As the CIO for my organization, I think that cloud architecture is the future for both our internal infrastructure and our external, hosted infrastructure. Smaller organizations than ours, with their "greenfield" advantage, already have taken advantage of cloud architecture. Now it's our turn to realize its ROI. [bit.ly/roicloud]

It may be a matter of debate to what extent an organization will have internal or external infrastructure. What's not in question is the fact that cloud architecture offers significant benefits to my organization: dynamic infrastructure, automation, orchestration, and a reduction in time people have to spend on manual configuration. A wide variety of respected experts have argued that cloud computing is inevitable (bit.ly/inevitablecloud), and that it even calls for the rebuilding of enterprise IT (bit.ly/rebuildcloud).

Regardless, I'm writing to let you know that cloud architecture is an important and serious part of my organization's IT strategy going forward.

It's still not clear to me what extent your company is working on supporting cloud architecture in future releases of your software, but suffice it to say early preparation is essential. Please note that merely offering software as a service, which you may be contemplating, isn't the same thing as preparing your software for an internal or external cloud architecture.

Our success is bound together, and because of my desire to see your product line succeed long term, I would like to offer our site as an "anchor customer" for testing and eventual implementation of your product's evolution to cloud-based architecture. Obviously, we would have to establish rules of engagement, testing methodologies, and so on, but we're enthusiastic about partnering with you to move your critical software from its current architecture to a cloud-aware one. We both have an interest in moving to this point as quickly as is practical while still maintaining a high level of availability and reliability.

We're once again at a crossroads that's no less significant than the one we faced when all of our applications ran on mainframes. The question is, can we rise to the occasion and migrate in a planned way, or will we be forced to migrate to different platforms in a more jarring manner? Please let me know when we can have a further conversation about making this happen.

Global CIO
Global CIOs: A Site Just For You
Visit InformationWeek's Global CIO -- our online community and information resource for CIOs operating in the global economy.

You'll need to tweak this letter, but you get the idea. Your vendor is probably thinking about providing its software as a service--most of the time "cloud washing" a hosted offering--but that doesn't cut it for every enterprise application. These vendors aren't going to make the investment in re-architecting their apps until they understand that their customers need it, insist on it, and might even help out. That's where we come in. Let's make it happen sooner rather than later.

Jonathan Feldman is a contributing editor for InformationWeek and director of IT services for a rapidly growing city in North Carolina. Write to him at jf@feldman.org or at @_jfeldman.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
cobiacomm
50%
50%
cobiacomm,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/2/2012 | 10:40:43 PM
re: Cloud Plans: Open Letter To Enterprise Application Vendors
Jonathan, i definitely agree every vendor and architect should deliver a plan to transition traditional, terrestrial architecture to the cloud. Unfortunately, the industry has not yet agreed on how a Cloud architecture is delivered. Your suggestion of "dynamic infrastructure, automation, orchestration, and a reduction in time" delivers attributes that tie into cloud characteristics, but are not necessarily a canonical architecture.

I have been searching for Cloud reference architecture, and 21 'Cloudy' architectural diagrams can be found in my blog post at http://blog.cobia.net/cobiacom...
2014 Private Cloud Survey
2014 Private Cloud Survey
Respondents are on a roll: 53% brought their private clouds from concept to production in less than one year, and 60% ­extend their clouds across multiple datacenters. But expertise is scarce, with 51% saying acquiring skilled employees is a roadblock.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Government, May 2014
Protecting Critical Infrastructure: A New Approach NIST's cyber-security framework gives critical-infrastructure operators a new tool to assess readiness. But will operators put this voluntary framework to work?
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Audio Interviews
Archived Audio Interviews
GE is a leader in combining connected devices and advanced analytics in pursuit of practical goals like less downtime, lower operating costs, and higher throughput. At GIO Power & Water, CIO Jim Fowler is part of the team exploring how to apply these techniques to some of the world's essential infrastructure, from power plants to water treatment systems. Join us, and bring your questions, as we talk about what's ahead.