For many folks, cloud integration is old hat; they just weren't calling it cloud. However, new storage and processing options combined with a dramatically lower price point bring the cloud computing discussion into new areas.
More than 40% of respondents to a recent InformationWeek survey reported using a consultant or integrator for a large-scale cloud integration project. Most planned for that expense, but 15% of those that had to use a third party reported that they had to absorb the cost unexpectedly. Don't be one of them. Admit that cloud computing is new and plan for help.
Help is out there. A few years back, there was no real partner or engineering ecosystem to support early cloud or software-as-a-service initiatives. Most vendors were going direct or relying on a loose affiliation of developers. Now, conventional vendors such as Microsoft and Oracle have expanded their cloud programs, bringing their existing partners and consultants with them. Web-centric vendors including Google and Amazon are expanding their programs rapidly to provide the broad support enterprises demand. If your cloud provider doesn't have an ecosystem of third-party support, that may be a red flag.
Continue to ask questions
Cloud initiatives continue to gain traction in organizations and are a bright spot of growth and innovation in a drab IT climate. The flexibility, scalability, and cost savings make it a compelling argument. However, fully building out the operations to support, maintain, and account for the systems not only requires engineering changes, it also requires groups work with each other and vendors in a new way. No question about that.
Michael Healey is president of Yeoman Technology Group, an engineering and consulting firm.