The data storage problem to be solved is straightforward. Achieve a cost efficient but secure and scalable storage and computation solution that services growth and higher demands but does not depend upon costly enlargements to server rooms or dedicated resources.
Stated a slightly different way, it could also be:
Improve the corporate bottom line by managing IT costs without making the already overworked IT organization stand on their heads. Ideally, the benefits achieved by cloud solutions fit these challenges. The company would benefit from the values brought by cloud solutions such as:
- Efficiencies of scale, distribution, service availability and growth,
- Benefits and savings of elasticity, centralization, and managed growth,
- Enhancements to security, data protection, and business continuity,
- Scalability, distribution, collaboration, flexibility,
- Cost management – pay only for what you need and use.
The value of these features appears to be achieved with cloud solutions. However, there are issues with public cloud offerings that rule them out as an option for many companies facing this challenge.
In enterprise solutions these key factors are driving influences on what can or cannot be a viable solution in their corporate environment:
- Security and Compliance
- Mobility – of both resources and consumers of those resources
- Performance – speed+proximity+reach-ability across the full corporate network
- Cost – capital and operational
In addition to the self-imposed factors above, some of the constraints and challenges that face businesses today include:
- Compliance and Regulatory – must align
- HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)
- PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)
- FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standards)
- SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act) (Bill C198 in Canada)
- I.T. Accountability – must have the knowledge and the trust
- Dark clouds – no visibility as to what’s inside
- Unsecure clouds – Dropbox hacks etc.
- Vendor Lock-in – cannot be constrained to a future hostage situation
- Closed systems – high security but at a higher cost of maintenance, repair and recovery
These are factors that are either dictated to the company as a whole or applied specifically to the IT organization by the corporate senior executive. The list above is not comprehensive and it varies and grows between the various markets. They do stand as an illustration that any solution to the challenge must be sound, solid and supportable. It must also fit within the three C’s of corporate and IT constraints: compliance, cost, complexity.