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IT Scenarios for the Cloud

IT Scenarios for the Cloud

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“I think it is one of the foundations of the next generation of computing." -- Tim O'Reilly

While putting together lessons learned from our Cloud-related Enterprise Strategy engagements, we consolidated a set of recurring IT scenarios and themes.  You may find these useful if you are thinking about cloud opportunities from an IT perspective, and are looking for some common patterns and perspectives.

IT scenarios for the Cloud are technical scenarios that can ultimately be linked back to business scenarios. For any given business scenario, one or more IT scenarios can be defined that expose a clearer picture of how the enabling technologies can be used to reach a solution.

The following are key scenarios to be aware of from an IT perspective. These highlight the alignment of Cloud opportunities with common growth, deployment and management trends.

IT Scenarios for the Cloud

Cloud IT scenarios are organized into the following categories:

  • Business Intelligence
  • Cloud Computing
  • Consumerization of IT
  • Corporate Environmental Sustainability
  • Innovation for Growth
  • Low-Cost Computing in the Enterprise

Business Intelligence
The use of business intelligence is a recognized way to enable a company to make insightful choices and thereby improve effectiveness. The Cloud is a means to lower the barrier to entry for these technologies. In the Cloud, datacenter overhead is mitigated by a pay-as-you-go model and the total cost of ownership (TCO) for business intelligence is lowered.

The primary tenants of this scenario are:

  • Empower your people with business insights
  • Improve organizational effectiveness
  • Enable IT efficiency

Cloud Computing
The Cloud enables customers to deliver connected experiences by delivering applications or solutions that leverage enterprise-class services of Cloud platforms.

The primary tenants of this scenario are:

  • Trust in enterprise-class services
  • Deliver consistent, connected experiences
  • Harness the power of choice

Consumerization of IT
This scenario focuses on the evolution of corporate IT environments towards a user-centric computing model. User devices and personal devices entering the workplace are changing the IT landscape. Enabling these devices consequently enables the users and ultimately promotes an innovative workplace.

The primary tenants of this scenario are:

  • Boost productivity with new ways of connecting and sharing
  • Stay competitive as an innovative company and workplace
  • Deliver IT flexibility while managing security

Corporate Environmental Sustainability
Green IT is a testament to the active rethinking of business practices throughout the industry. Beyond pure ecological impact, corporations are achieving significant savings through smart use of technology.

The primary tenants of this scenario are:

  • Reduce energy demands
  • Manage energy and environmental footprint
  • Rethink business practices

Innovation for Growth

An investment in tools, processes, and culture can drive innovation and grow a business through new products, services, and/or processes. For nearly every enterprise, innovation is critical to long-term success. Investing to drive innovation can improve a business’s competitiveness and help it thrive in a challenging economy and shifting business landscape.

The primary tenants of this scenario are:

  • Engage: Widen the idea pipeline
  • Evolve: Turn ideas into action
  • Evaluate and execute: Optimize return on investment (ROI) and business value

Low-Cost Computing in the Enterprise
This scenario is centered on IT efficiency and lowering the cost of business. Savings are achieved by reducing both capital expenditures and operating expenditures. Costs are cut out of IT infrastructure and operations through more efficient use of hardware and software, standardized configurations, and streamlined management.

The primary tenants of this scenario are:

  • Maximize the efficiency of your IT infrastructure
  • Use technology to lower the cost of doing business
  • Take advantage of technology delivery innovation

Common Scenario Patterns for the Cloud


When reviewing successful Cloud implementations, the following patterns are common scenarios:
  • Growing Fast
  • On and Off Bursting
  • Unpredictable Bursting
  • Predictable Bursting

In general you can think about the Cloud as an application that fits one of these patterns. Use these patterns to analyze and test potential Cloud scenarios for success. For example, the “On and Off Bursting” scenario is optimal for testing because you can run the application on premises and in the Cloud concurrently.

Growing Fast

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Archetype(s):

  • Startup companies
  • Viral applications and agents - Designed for 100, wanted by 20,000

Characteristics:

  • Successful services that need to grow/scale
  • Keeping up with growth is a big IT challenge
  • Complex lead-time for deployment

The Growing Fast pattern is typically represented by a startup company that begins with a minimal IT footprint, but quickly scales up their offerings as demand increases. Similarly, companies that might underestimate usage of their product might need to rapidly scale IT capabilities. Customers get to bypass the overhead costs of hardware and management, and focus on delivering business value.

On and Off Bursting

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Archetype(s):

  • Off-hours number crunching/computation jobs

Characteristics:

  • On and off workloads (e.g. Batch jobs)
  • Over-provisioned capacity is wasted
  • Time to market can be cumbersome

The On and Off Bursting pattern is commonly represented by a company needing batch processing or computation. For example, a big challenge for hedge funds is acting quickly on data or emerging events. Cloud computing offers the opportunity to come to book large numbers of machines for a short period of time to conduct analysis. The Cloud allows on-demand resource usage that removes the need for heavy capital expenditures on hardware that will sit idle for large portions of its lifespan.

Unpredictable Bursting

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Archetype(s):

  • Marketing campaigns

Characteristics:

  • Unexpected/Unplanned peak in demand
  • Sudden spike impacts performance
  • Cannot over-provision for extreme cases

The Unpredictable Bursting pattern occurs when scaling is not predictable. For example, an eCommerce site specialized in selling sporting goods for Spain’s soccer team after they won the World Cup. The Web site traffic surge due to this win was not predictable, and an inability to service the demand spike would cause a substantial loss in revenue opportunity. A site deployed in the Cloud could have additional servers provisioned in short order, or even be designed to dynamically scale server instances to follow the demand curve.

Predictable Bursting

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Archetype(s):

  • Seasonally driven eCommerce sites

Characteristics:

  • Services with micro-seasonal trends
  • Peaks due to periodic increased demand
  • IT complexity and wasted capacity

The Predictable Bursting pattern occurs when workload scales up and down based on a predictable pattern. An example of this might be a salary or payroll firm. On set intervals such as the 1st and 15th of each month, there is a spike in demand for computing power to process the payroll. By using the Cloud, the necessary computing power can be scaled to meet the demand, and then subsequently scaled back again to save expenses during the lower demand period.

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