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Enterprise IT infrastructure in the age of cloud: A guide for CIOs

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Is the 'cloud center' the new data center?

Is 'cloud center' a more accurate term than 'data center' in today's IT organizations? In our inaugural tweet jam, our Twitter followers weighed in.

SearchCIO.com's inaugural tweet jam on Jan. 30 generated quite a bit of data center discussion among our followers, editors and writers in the Twitter-sphere, including varying opinions on the role of cloud computing in the modern data center -- or should it be the "cloud center"?

The first question we at @searchcio posed to our followers was, "Data centers: Should we start calling them cloud centers?"

According to the following tweets by tweet jam participants, company size plays a significant role in determining cloud readiness, and rising bring your own device (BYOD) trends are forcing large companies to make investments in their data centers to accommodate massive amounts of information stored and transmitted across countless devices:

  • @RachelatTT: It depends on the size of the organization, its data center and its cloud maturity. I've seen a range of cloud readiness.
    • @jwia: I agree with organizational readiness. Cloud is NOT for everyone and everything.
  • @Texiwill: With proper controls, everything can go in the cloud…
    • @AndiMann: @Texiwill "With proper controls, everything can go in the cloud…" < Can, but maybe shouldn't, certainly won't.
    • @Texieill: @AndiMann 'MOST' will not, some already do. It is a matter of acceptance, controls you do have and trust.
  • @CIO360: Economics of owning your own data center may be trumped by cloud providers' ability to scale and BYOD's need for a lot of capacity.
  • @mthiele10: We already overhype the cloud enough. Calling a data center a cloud center would only exacerbate the problem. Cloud tech is just a tool.
  • @jscarpati: (re: "cloud center") And another buzzword is born ;) 

One major hesitation surrounding a shift to cloud computing is the security and risk management component. Tweet jam participants urged organizations considering the cloud to implement proper controls before handing these crucial operations over to a provider:

  • @ITCompliance: With more data center info moving to the cloud -- don't forget data protection. Remember: You aren't outsourcing security too.
    • @mthiele10: @ITCompliance Realistically, "data center" might become even more relevant as a greater percentage of our workload is driven by big data.
  • @Texiwill: Know your data, know your controls, blind use of cloud is a major issue.

The cloud isn't the perfect solution for every organization, participants agreed:

  • @SeanCCameron: Depending on the company and the product, cloud is not for everyone. I think it will be a major help for some, useless for others.
    • @RachelatTT: Agreed. What do you think cloud fits best? What would you never, ever put in the cloud?
    • @AndiMann: Never say never!
    • @SeanCCameron: Obviously sensitive data; banking, gov't, etc. Some corps are going to need to spend the $ on own infrastructure data centers
  • @cmsteffen: Data center strategy and management needs to be constantly flexible and able to change.
  • @AndiMann: Cloud is one part of the CIO arsenal. Not right for every use case.

Using the cloud for disaster recovery also got some love from our followers:

  • @shannonsnowden: Because I live it daily, disaster recovery is the perfect use case for cloud.
  • @ZertoCorp: Cloud is hitting a tipping point for disaster recovery, more than early adopters. Initial kinks for cloud disaster recovery are OK.

Clearly, cloud computing isn't going to suddenly replace traditional on-site data centers, so calling them "cloud centers" might be a bit premature, but organizations are working through the kinks of a cloud strategy, being mindful of security concerns and considering their specific enterprise data center needs. We thank our Twitter followers for their insights into this discussion.

Stay tuned for additional recaps from SearchCIO.com's tweet jam about the data center, and follow @searchCIO on Twitter to be notified about upcoming Twitter conversations.

This was first published in February 2013

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Essential Guide

Enterprise IT infrastructure in the age of cloud: A guide for CIOs
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