Cloud's Impact On IT Operations: Don't Overlook Your Legacy

Cloud computing has provided opportunities for organizations of all kinds to reduce the risks associated with IT acquisition (software and hardware), expand in sync with business needs, and contain costs. Some have even evolved their internal IT department from a reactive cost center to a more proactive service delivery center. Over the past two or three years, the very same cloud computing model that has helped CIOs deliver these benefits has also resulted in many IT organizations becoming more focused on auditing, inspecting, reviewing, and modernizing their internal IT capabilities. Unfortunately, in the majority of cases, there has been little to no forethought about how internal IT can be extended to embrace public clouds. In effect, IT organizations have so far turned a blind eye to external cloud solutions and focused instead on delivering internal (or private) cloud functionality.

Increasingly, organizations will try to replicate the value of cloud by modernizing, restructuring, and reimplementing their existing IT architectures using cloud concepts such as self-provisioning, elasticity, multitenancy, service-oriented architecture (SOA), and virtualization. Their well-meaning intent is to convert their existing siloed, massive, and underutilized IT systems to a better and efficiently connected cloud (private) environment.

As cloud computing begins to mature (particularly in more sophisticated markets) and hybrid clouds start to prove their business value, organizations will focus more on adopting both public and private cloud environments — and having them potentially work seamlessly together. However, the biggest hindrance these organizations have faced to date is their legacy systems. These systems simply aren’t architected or capable of running in a cloud environment, let alone a hybrid cloud scenario. Interestingly, over the past two to three years, organizations have evaluated and adopted the public cloud primarily for their front-end application requirements (like CRM, collaboration tools, and email), leaving their back end (payroll, finance, and HR) at the mercy of their legacy IT environments. Now, with compelling reasons to adopt hybrid cloud approaches, organizations are having a much tougher time integrating their environments. This also gives service providers opportunities to help manage, rebuild, and integrate these legacy systems with modern public cloud offerings.

In light of an increased use of cloud services generally, and organizations’ increasing desire to move to hybrid models in particular, we believe the demand for application performance management and next-generation data center orchestration tools will grow very quickly. Application management will gain renewed visibility and spending as organizations continue to struggle to transform their traditional data centers into private/hybrid clouds. This move will be crucial to ensure a consistent quality of service and experience for all business applications and users.