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Drive innovation with cloud

Gery Messer | May 25, 2010
Cloud computing will enable enterprises to address key business issues of reducing IT costs, driving innovation and improving business agility.

Furthermore, when virtualisation is integrated in the operating system, it enables the same physical hardware to be used to host both the operating system as well as the virtual machines, dramatically improving efficiency without compromising the performance of bare metal applications.

Demands of growth

National Business Center, a US Department of Interior (DOI) office, provides business management services and systems to the DOI and other federal agencies. NBC delivers shared infrastructure to different processes such as financial management systems, human resources, payroll, procurement and other enterprise applications. It adds value by leveraging infrastructure components across lines of business.

However, along with growth came issues that included greater demand for data centre space and compute power, and increased IT management complexity. In a rethink of the business, NBC turned to cloud computing and moved to an environment that was more standardised. Cloud computing removed the long lead time of projects, enabling benefits to be realised sooner.

NBC reduced the number of physical servers and increased the number of virtual servers. This effectively expanded capacity while decreasing power consumption and floor space requirements. As a result of standardising on Linux, NBC achieved 30 to 60 per cent savings and gained the advantage of having one skill set and one consistent solution across its data centre.

Nearly all of todays cloud providers use open source software. Open source software offers freedom from vendor lock-in and relief from the burden of licence fees. Open source eases interoperability issues and places ownership of software vital to the business within the providers control. It would be difficult for a cloud provider to achieve lowest operational costs using licensed software when an open source solution exists.

The recessionary conditions of the past 18 months continue to pressure businesses to examine spending, innovate and create new revenue opportunities. Financial scrutiny is trained on finding new ways to reduce, delay or even eliminate capital spending for IT. The cloud computing model of paying only for what is used is particularly attractive as a way to stem the rising costs of enterprise software licences.

Seamless collaboration

Todays global enterprise is sited in multiple locations with a scattered workforce and distributed workload. To be effective globally, these companies require seamless collaboration much like what goes on in todays social networking world.

Meanwhile, relentless competition drives businesses to sustain continuous innovation and accelerate time-to-market. Computing resources are no longer just required to power the enterprise. These are now needed to transform the business. Market leaders differentiate themselves in the ways they improve operational performance. In a fast-paced marketplace, theres a real connection between the ability to drive business innovation using the most cost-efficient agile technology solution and financial success.


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