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Cloudy outlook attracts nimble companies and developers

While enterprise corporations teeter towards cloud computing, nimbler businesses are jumping on board and developers can earn extra cash and up-skill by helping these companies. By Helen Beckett [12/08/2010]

Although 78% of corporates have discussed using cloud computing, just three out of five are implementing, according to a survey from business advisory firm TPI. Concerns about security, compliance, continuity and data protection are still inhibiting take-up among the 140 corporate IT decision-makers surveyed.

However, Chris Barnatt, associate professor of computing and future studies at Nottingham University Business School says that SMBs’ appetite for the cloud will help those IT professionals who are looking for ways to sharpen their skills. “The most common question I’m asked is: ‘I’m an IT person – how can I prepare for The Cloud?’”, reports Barnatt.

Small is beautiful

Barnatt’s advice for developers is to get product knowledge and then roll up their sleeves and go to work in the market places that have sprung up around Google apps and Zoho. “Typically these jobs consist of feature requests and doing bespoke work,” he points out. They are often small jobs and offer a way of acquiring different, varied experience.

Gaining familiarity with Microsoft’s Azure is another tip. Cheap flight carrier Easyjet’s adoption of the platform for its systems , including its departure service, is surely proof that Azure has commercially come of age.

What’s more, the traditional model of purchasing entire suites from suppliers is not-far-off-defunct, Barnatt contends. “Cloud applications have changed all this – users expect them to be tailored in a way that has not happened in the past and multiple third parties and individuals can join the mash-up.”

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Five migration concerns   

• Inadequate data security (79%)
• Fears of non-compliance with regulatory requirements (50%)
• Concerns about disaster recovery procedures (50%)
• Integration of cloud solutions with legacy systems (49%)
• Worries that others may gain access to company data (49%)

(Source TPI)

Five considerations for the IT department

• Have a clearly defined strategy. Identify the appropriate services and applications that can/should be moved to the cloud that will support the strategy.
• Investigate costs. Evaluate costs associated with internal IT versus the cost of cloud services. This will help determine what should be owned and managed internally, and what could be cloud-ready.
• Build a roadmap. With a clear strategy in place and an end goal determined assess the products and platforms you need to support and build upon.
• Prepare a migration path. Migration and integration of legacy systems may require additional resources. Find repeatable best practices, methodologies, highly developed assessment and deployment resources, plus dedicated specialists
• Pursue a pilot. Start with a custom application that leverages the instant scale, high compute or bandwidth intensive capabilities of cloud computing.”

(Source: Avanade)

A Brief Guide to Cloud Computing by Chris Barnatt publishes on August 26.

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