As the new year approaches, I wondered where CIOs would focus their IT resources in 2015 to make a positive impact on their business. I came across an article from December 2013 by Janco Associates* where six out of the ten top CIO issues have a direct impact on IT infrastructure provisioning which is at the heart of today’s blog.
According to the article, the top issues that CIOs need to address are driven by the current economic and political climate.
1. Continuing to move forward with new technology with increasingly constrained budgets
2. Continue to allocate sufficient resources to stay current with the social and portable digital revolution
3. Manage the mounting pressure on the enterprises IT infrastructure
4. Improve the service levels of the IT function and its applications
5. Improve IT technologies performance with business operations as the driving force
6. Be a transformation agent with the application of technologies that improve the operational and financial performance of the enterprise
I then came across this survey that provides insight into planning for next year.
Deloitte CIO Survey 2014*
Over three-quarters of CIOs (77%) report that their 2015 IT budgets are either the same or increased from the previous year, which is pretty much the same result as the 2013 survey.
The majority (55%) of IT budgets are allocated to 'business as usual' operations, with the rest split between supporting business change (23%) and business growth (22%).
Not surprisingly, a very similar pattern emerges when CIOs are asked to identify the most important elements of their job: 55 percent list "Delivering business outcomes through business services", while "Transforming IT from a cost centre to a profit centre" and "Investing in emerging technologies" come much further down the rankings.
Current IT Infrastructure Provisioning Landscape
- CIOs are faced with increasing demands from the business units to provide 24/7 available computing resources that can scale and be very secure. On top of that, it’s no longer acceptable to wait weeks or months for these requests to be fulfilled.
- It's very challenging for CIOs to meet these business demands with stagnant or slightly increasing IT budgets and an average delivery timeframe of 1-2 months to procure and install new hardware not to mention the management of this infrastructure.
Increased Demand for Cloud Solutions
Your business needs are constantly changing and so are your compute resource requirements. One solution that is earning increasing adoption is the Cloud. It will help you gain maximum flexibility to adapt to workload changes by easily scaling your compute resources based on your business requirements. Cloud computing can do away with much of the hardware upgrades and software maintenance and patching that made up a chunk of the cost and average IT professional's day, forcing IT departments to adopt a more customer-focused role, according to CIOs.
Infrastructure as a Service comprises the most fundamental building blocks of any cloud service; the processing, storage and network infrastructure upon which all cloud applications are built. The beauty of infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is its ability to provide IT resources to companies as they need them. This gives data center managers the option of not having to spend hard dollars for resources that might stand idle 80 percent of the time at the same time that it turns processing and storage into commodities that can be ordered whenever they’re needed.
IaaS is a provision model in which an organization outsources the equipment used to support operations, including storage, hardware, servers and networking components. The service provider owns the equipment and is responsible for housing, running and maintaining it. You will typically pay on a per-use basis.
Characteristics and components of IaaS include:
- Utility computing service and monthly fee based billing model
- Automation of administrative tasks
- Dynamic scaling
- Policy-based services
- Internet connectivity
- 7/24 Monitoring and Support
You need to look for a Cloud Service Provider to partner with that offers a highly secure and available (local/Canadian) Ontario based Tier III data center that includes robust infrastructure based on leading technology providers for server, storage, network and virtualization technologies including compliance with industry standards for security and data protection.
The ideal IaaS provider offering would deliver the following benefits:
- Ontario Based Data Center: You will be assured of the location of your data.
- Location independence: service that can usually be accessed from any location as long as there is an internet connection and the security protocol of the cloud allows it.
- Scalability: 24 hours or less to provision the necessary compute resources, therefore rapid response time for expanding capacity or eliminating the wastage of unused capacity. Compute resources for production, development and business continuity.
- No investment in hardware: the underlying physical hardware that supports an IaaS service is set up and maintained by the cloud provider, saving the time and cost of doing so on the client side
- Flexibility: Partnering with an IaaS provider that understands that not all workloads will be in the Cloud and can offer on premise solutions and services.
- Utility style costing: On demand service and you only pay for the resource that you actually use
- Physical security of data center locations: services available through a public cloud, or private clouds hosted externally with the service provider, benefits from the physical security afforded to the infrastructure which are hosted within a data center
No single point of failure: if one server or network switch, for example, were to fail, the broader service would be unaffected due to the remaining multitude of hardware resources and redundancy configurations. For many services if one entire data center were to go offline, never mind one server, the IaaS service could still run successfully. IT support availability 24/7, 365 days a year.
Business Benefits Include:
- Predictability: Predictable costs, strong governance, and service-level driven outcomes.
Expert guidance: experience in infrastructure and managed services to guide effective integration, management, and governance of cloud services.
- Cost savings: pay for the computing capacity you require while gaining access to the capacity of a state-of-the-art infrastructure.
- Capacity measurement provides automatic flexibility and future cost predictability.
System acquisition bypass: access "instant infrastructure" that allows you to bypass system acquisition, installation, and start-up phases, and move directly to operational phases
- Enhanced agility: you will be able to react to shifting business needs quickly and easily without a large capital investment. Increasing agility will enable you to remain competitive.
Technical competence and consultative capability
You should expect your IaaS provider to exceed or at least minimally meet (if your IT staff is strong) the standards of technical excellence that you expect of your own data center. You will also be best served if they also offer consultative services that can assist in infrastructure planning.
Myths and misconceptions about IaaS
Some of the most common myths about IaaS are higher cost, lost control of your IT, security, complexity. These misconceptions need to be discussed internally with an expert to bring forth the true value and benefits of this solution. IaaS is an economically viable solution to address some of the top issues facing CIOs in 2015 with stagnating or modestly increased IT budgets from the previous year.
At Sentia, we are proud of being considered trusted partners by our customers and helping them be successful and grow. We offer various cloud services such as IaaS and can demonstrate our capabilities and provide professional services that come with selling traditional hardware based IT solutions. We are nimble enough to offer personalized service and large enough for our clients to receive enterprise-class services.
Download our whitepaper, Building a Rock Solid Foundation with IaaS
, to learn much more.
To read more about surveys mentioned in this blog, visit the links below:
* Top Issues for CIOs in 2014
* Deloitte CIO Survey 2014
Feel free to call me at my number below or email me
to discuss your IT challenges.
Chris Charette, Vice President, Managed Services