Disruptive Clouds: Imagine a world where IT was treated like a utility service.

01 Jul 2011 3:22 PM | Terell Jones (Administrator)

First, just let me say I was never one to get caught up in the hype-cycle of cloud computing because I’m old school.  We called it network services in the early 90′s, then it became managed services by the late 90′s, then it became Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), and soon on and so forth. Now we are calling the same monthly billing for IT services the cloud.  Let’s compare Cloud Computing to heating and air conditioning.  We pay a monthly bill for services rendered. We never touch the water heater or the air conditioner, unless you’re like me that has an ex-father-in-law that would talk you through it. Beyond that, we just pay the bill and expect not to freeze or overheat.  It gives us more time to live our lives. Trust me, I have better things to do than wonder if I’m going to blow myself up lighting the pilot light.

Well, in theory, cloud computing should free us up to concentrate on doing our business.  Imagine how we have traditionally run IT over the last two decades.  We started out simple with a network administrator who made sure that our network inside the office was working with 10mb ethernet.  Then along comes the internet spawning the need for expertise in Email systems, database systems, web development, legacy migrations, etc.  The basic office had at least for servers running: network server, email server, web server, and database server.  As technology changed the skillsets changed, which meant more manpower expense.  Imagine needing to pay six figure salaries for at least 4 high priced individuals to run IT?  That is what we did yesterday and that is what we do today.  Well the cloud can easily disrupt that.

A small to medium size business must trust these highly trained individuals to be on staff because if they screw anything up, there is no SLA for screw ups with employees. You just fire them and pay the cost to replace them.  The problem with IT is that it could cost thousands for screw ups.  According to Salary.com the average median chief information officer (CIO) salary in Herndon, VA is $246,000, the average chief information security officer (CISO) is $177,000.  Now already your budget is strained by $423,000, and I haven’t added the storage technician, software development, virtualization experts, etc.  With just two c-level executives in IT, you have to budget $35,250 per month, not including software and hardware expenses.  If you think the CIO is going to get their hands dirty, you’re sadly mistaken. They are administrators, they administer. That means they delegate to some other high priced IT staffer.

Let’s say this small company has 100 employees, using MS Office, MS Dynamics CRM, and Outlook.  Imagine a cloud provider like, Ecomnets or Rackspace, hosts all the computers and applications for $100/seat.  The IT budget quickly becomes $10,000 per month.  The difference is, you saved two thirds moving to the cloud, and now you can eliminate unnecessary staff or re-purpose them for more strategic projects.  No more computer refreshes.  No more service outages. If there are any, at least you get compensated for it. Gotta love service level agreements (SLAs).  If you own it and it breaks, you have to replace it out of your own pocket.  The TCO is staggering when you really look at cloud computing.  I don’t know about you, but I got better things to do than worry about break-fix maintenance, and anti-virus and malware issues.  I want to focus on more strategic things concerning Green IT.

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