CIO Briefing

Cloud computing management guide for enterprise CIOs

Cloud computing has crossed over from technical term to mainstream concept, but that doesn't mean enterprise CIOs aren't still weighing whether the cloud is a good fit for their organizations. There are critical technical, cultural and security components to be considered before any deal is inked with an outside cloud vendor; and the possibilities of the private cloud are proving intriguing to IT pros as well.

In this cloud computing management guide, learn how to assess your organization's readiness for further cloud pursuits, examine the risks inherent in moving any of your data off-site and establish a private cloud in your organization -- and don't miss our stories about the cloud in action.

This guide is part of SearchCIO.com's CIO Briefings series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic guidance and advice that addresses the management and decision-making aspects of timely topics. For a complete list of the topics covered to date, visit the

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Considering cloud computing for your organization

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Ask CIOs what they expect from a hosting company or an outsourcer, and they rattle off a list of capabilities and terms, right down to clauses in the partner contract. Ask what they hope to gain from a cloud services provider -- what the true value of cloud computing is -- and they hesitate.

It's not that CIOs don't understand the technology behind the concept, it's that the concept itself means different things to different CIOs. It also depends on their industry, company size, economic situation, business needs and IT infrastructure, to name just a few factors. Then comes the list of unanswered questions and uncertainties surrounding data privacy and security, application and network performance, bottom-line costs vs. an in-house deployment, existing infrastructure investments, and service-level agreements (SLAs).

As with any new release, CIOs are waiting for the bugs to shake out -- and doubts surrounding cloud's security and costs are some big bugs.

Learn more in "The value of cloud computing: CIOs discuss expectations and payoffs." Also:

Examining cloud computing risks

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Public cloud computing risks are numerous enough to field a top 10 -- or even more. Professional organizations and CIOs are developing threat lists to help them come to grips with the public cloud, an entity that will continue to seep into the enterprise IT environment whether they like it or not.

Some lists of top public cloud computing risks are sweeping and philosophical, such as the Top Threats to Cloud Computing, v.1.0, developed by the Cloud Security Alliance. Most include some combination of a number of items, including security and compliance.

Learn more in "Advice for dealing with the top 10 risks in public cloud computing." Also:

Establishing a private cloud

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Jay Leader's definition of private cloud resembles that of many other IT executives: a network of servers providing on-demand services "within my own infrastructure, or externally in a dedicated hosted infrastructure."

The CIO of iRobot Corp. in Cambridge, Mass., also reacts the same way to the "new" paradigm as other seasoned IT pros do: He's not impressed. "I'm old enough to remember service bureaus on mainframes," Leader said. "Technology is like fashion. If you wait around long enough, what's out will be back in again."

"We have come full circle in 25 years," said Fred Rathweg, DB2 architect at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Learn more in "IT executives share their views on private clouds." Also:

Learning lessons from cloud computing

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The three dominant cloud computing models -- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) -- are changing fast, as cloud providers reach up and down the stack to offer as close to a one-stop shop as possible.

To understand how these cloud computing models are evolving and converging, it helps to know the history, said Jeffrey Kaplan, managing director of ThinkStrategies Inc., a consultancy in Wellesley, Mass. For one thing, he says, SaaS was first.

Learn more in "The lines between cloud computing models are blurring." Also:

More resources

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This was first published in June 2010

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