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Global Standardization Encourages Cloud Adoption

Submitted by on 27 Mar 2013 – 15:02

By Xavier Poisson-Gouyou Beauchamps, Vice President Cloud Computing, HP EMEA

European countries will not see the full benefits of cloud unless steps are taken to deal with the remaining barriers to adoption. Some of the main actions involve getting rid of the “jungle” of technical standards to enable interoperability. Openness is essential to making global standardization work because it ensures reliability of data no matter which country we’re in, speeds innovation, and forces us to rethink how we approach security.

 

Eventually we will take IT for granted

Today, you can use power in France which may have been generated in Sweden. Nearly every organization has access to electricity and water yet does not have to worry about who’s running their electricity – they pay employees to focus on innovation and business growth rather than non-core processes. This thinking should apply to how organizations view IT, a utility which is essential to have but not own or manage.

When it comes to accessing data and services, it should not make a difference whether or not a cloud provider is based in Germany or in France. What matters is making sure that citizens across Europe can manage their e-mail, do their taxes, increase computing power or pull up medical records at anytime from anywhere.

Looking to the future, Europe will play a key part in changing the perception of how IT is consumed across a diverse group of geographies.  Countries will need to create circumstances which are conducive to global standardization, ensuring data reliability 24×7. We cannot afford to work in silos or be locked into a specific technology choice, limiting flexibility and agility, which contradicts the benefits of cloud.

Another way Europe can encourage adoption is to be flexible around the contracting process.  Service level agreements (SLAs) are vital – we don’t notice them in electricity and utilities because they are so widely adopted and accepted, but ensuring quality of service, or ensuring the voltage is always 220v within agreed tolerance, is essential if we are to trust plugging in our devices.

This should apply to our thinking around SLAs related to IT.  A service level agreement provides a true representation of what the organization can count on from a service and it shouldn’t force vendor lock-in.

 

A desire for change will drive innovation

The cloud offers myriad possibilities to improve how technology is run but organizations need find the right balance. For example, Netflix, a global Internet television network, could sit in the public cloud, but the vast majority of Global 5000 companies will have hybrid business processes and applications for which some parts will run in the data centre, and some parts will run in the cloud.

Applications that are crash prone, rack up huge costs in software licensing or require large amounts of memory may be appropriate to move to the cloud. Current investments in mission-critical functions may need an on-premise delivery model. The public cloud may be more appropriate for development and testing while core application development may be better suited for the private cloud.

As such, it’s essential that organizations can easily move a cloud service from one delivery model to the other throughout the application lifecycle.  Service providers should help nations figure out their blueprint before taking the journey.

 

Interoperability is essential for continuous improvement

To give organisations the best choice and flexibility we believe that a standards-based approach, that allows collaboration – portability – and avoids supplier lock-in, is essential.  All of this can be achieved through interoperability, enabling products and systems to work with other products and systems without any restricted access.

Instant access to an extended ecosystem of partners and developers can bring new applications to the market much more quickly. Freedom from vendor-lock in fosters innovation, provides transparency into infrastructure design and lets developers choose the tools, languages and frameworks they want to use.

As a consequence, the cloud must run on large data centres comprised of standardized individual servers. With the explosion of information and storage requirements, the number of individual servers continues to grow, pushing manufacturers to build more energy efficient servers using chips based on the ones used in mobile phones, for example.

Customers deserve options. If they use propriety technology, this limits choice thus slowing innovation. That’s one reason why HP recently joined the OpenStack project, developing open source software for building private and public clouds ready for the future. The technologies can scale up or down quickly depending on the instant need, while limiting the software costs to make this happen.

HP’s use of OpenStack technology means customers get innovative cloud technology and can easily port code and integrate applications with no vendor lock-in.  Anyone can build a cloud on OpenStack which ultimately drives innovation.

 

Better protection is achievable

There is always risk in moving toward an open environment where everyone has access to the same codes. Despite this, access to the code will enable organizations to better manage security as they plug in directly on the code level. Well defined policies on sharing information will also play their part to ensure secure data access and management, hence encouraging cloud adoption and helping organizations better manage security. Intelligence agencies and militaries have been doing this for a long time but they do it within well-defined policy agreements on a need-to-know basis.

The European Framework on Data Protection should introduce the concept of accountability which goes beyond simple compliance or mere industry self-regulations. It requires companies to comply with the legislation while making responsible, ethical and disciplined decisions. The next fundamental step is to demonstrate willingness and capacity to ensure this high level of personal data protection.

 

The EU can take the lead

European countries have a great tradition of progress through collaboration.  In summary, our region needs to have a vision of where things need to be when it comes to cloud. We need open standards which will enable us to share our best ideas with each other, evangelize and rise up against the latency and inertia that inhibit change adoption. This skill is critical for us to be global leaders in cloud adoption and become a “cloud-active region,” as defined by Vice-President Kroes.