Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cloud Adoption Roadmap: How do you make the choice between SaaS, PaaS and IaaS?

I've been extremely busy at the office the last couple of weeks fire-fighting infrastructure delivery issues. There were quite a number of times, I wished I could fast-forward to the future and switch on the whole production environment on Amazon Web Services instead of entering yet another painful procure and install saga. Anyhow, I'm back here to spend a few precious moments of my so-called spare-time to pick up on one of the five questions posed a couple posts ago.

3) How do you make the choice between SaaS, PaaS and Iaas?

My first response on receiving this question was that it (the question) was obviously "wrong". SaaS, PaaS and IaaS are technology categories that can be useful for discussing the solutions available. However, these are not binary (or should I say ternary) choices and our clients are often going to adopt solutions across all these categories.

On further thinking, I think the question behind this that we are all trying to grapple with is how to figure out the best roadmap to the cloud future. Let's spend just a few moments working this one. 

It's all about the business
First back to the basics even your newbie MBA recruit will preach. Work on a business-led roadmap. IT has always been about delivering business benefits. Therefore, it's obvious that your adoption roadmap must be built-up around the benefits cases for projects and not just because it is cloud. Calculating the risk and costs of these projects leaves you with your typical project portfolio and you can make well-considered investment options. There's nothing special about the technology here.

Develop your IT strategy not a Cloud strategy
Cloud computing brings a new set of options to be considered within your exisiting IT landscape but there is nothing fundamentally "right" about cloud computing. The vendors are still maturing and there are bad offerings out there as well as the good.  With your business-led project opportunities identified, weigh-up cloud options alongside traditional on-premise alternatives (which might actually be the better investment - it's not about the technology). You will no doubt arrive at a hybrid end-state. Tactical and opportunistic this might be but with cloud models still relatively immature  I believe this to be the best "strategy" over the next year while deciding the long-term strategic play as the market develops.

One-size will not fit all and the appropriate adoption path for a business will differ based upon its unique set of business requirements and decision criteria. Over time, the business can use SaaS, PaaS and IaaS to re-architect not only its systems landscape but also its IT organisation model as services from external providers are leveraged. In fact, quite possibly in the future, it will be the organisation model and what you decide to keep in-house vs. using a cloud service that will the defining feature of the IT strategy and end-state architectures.

A quick post today.. back to the office to do some further infrastructure risks mitigation...

No comments:

Post a Comment