Grid Computing, Virtualization, SOA and Automation: Evolving Cloud Computing

Yatin Kantak, Country Manager – Applications & Geo Expansion, Oracle India

CIOs have ranked security, privacy and regulatory compliance as their top concerns around adoption of cloud computing technology and solutions. They often have lingering concerns in a number of areas including security policy compliance, interoperability, and portability. According to a survey conducted by Unisphere Research among IT and data managers and professionals with the Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG) members, security issues continue to be a concern with the use of public cloud and online application services, making private clouds a more attractive option to enterprises. However, when it comes to compliance standards, cloud and compliance are often treated as opposing forces. While cloud encourages dynamism, compliance enforces caution and control. Data breach investigations have shown that security controls must be multi-layered to protect against threats that range from account misuse to SQL injection attacks. In addition, the ever changing regulatory landscape and renewed focus on privacy demonstrates the need for solutions to be transparent and cost effective to deploy.

Emerging trends and the evolution of cloud

Cloud technologies have evolved so much that they can now provide software as a service, database or middleware tools as a service, hardware and storage as a service and Java as a service. There is no doubt that cloud has joined the mainstream. To realize the full benefits of cloud technologies, organizations must look beyond simple consolidation and choose application-driven solutions. They should look at solutions that provide them high efficiency, high utilization, complete and integrated virtualization, from desktop to the data center. It should go far beyond simple consolidation and enable companies to virtualize and manage their full hardware and software stack.

Over time, cloud computing has evolved under the influence of several trends that have been driving enterprise data centers and service providers. These trends include grid computing, virtualization, SOA shared services and large- scale management automation. Cloud computing takes these to the next level by adding new capabilities such as self-service, dynamic scaling and pay-per-use. This is the reason why organizations are looking to the cloud to change not only how they buy and consume IT, but also how IT actually impacts the business. No longer just about lower up-front costs, the cloud now promises to deliver greater agility and free up resources to focus on innovation versus running and maintaining systems. Deploying business applications in the cloud can deliver both short and long-term benefits, including cost savings, improved agility, and faster innovation—but only if the cloud is enterprise-grade. When evaluating the cloud strategy, it is important for CIOs to consider the level of control and choice the organization will either maintain or have to give up to achieve some of these benefits. There are also additional risks to consider when outsourcing all or part of enterprise applications to a third-party cloud provider, making it important to always evaluate the quality of these services as a key purchasing criteria.

Engineering Investments in Applications

Cloud demands necessary engineering investments in applications to form complete and best-practice business processes across its functional pillars. Grid computing is one such stride towards enabling the creation of a single IT infrastructure that can be shared by multiple business processes. Software designed specifically for grid computing can deliver a higher quality of service to those business processes at a much lower cost. At the same time a complete cloud lifecycle management solution can allow quick set up while managing   and supporting enterprise clouds. It should be aimed at providing self-service provisioning balanced against centralized, policy-based resource management, integrated chargeback and capacity planning, with complete visibility of the physical and virtual environments from applications to disk.

While providing a database cloud service, the benefits should be weighed on four scales – Simplicity, Portability, Enterprise Strength and Productivity. Organizations should focus on making it simple to provision, simple to administer and simple to use to develop and deploy all types of applications, with an eye on technology that can be moved to any platform. In addition, simplicity must not limit capability, flexibility or functionality. It should simultaneously empower customers’ productivity, from their developers to their administrators to their business experts.

Today IT professionals are excited by the technical advantages of cloud computing, and LOB (Line of Business) managers look to the cloud as a driver of business growth, efficiency, and productivity. By transforming IT into a business-centric provider of services that users can access from anywhere, there is a need to help companies build a more agile, efficient, and innovative enterprise. The key benefit of cloud computing is empowerment and it can be derived only by allowing an organization to use its IT resources more effectively.