3 Questions That Every IT Manager Should Be Asking About Clouds

by drjim on December 1, 2011

Image Credit Get over your excitement about clouds and start asking questions

Get over your excitement about clouds and start asking questions

I love clouds, you love clouds, we all love clouds. It seems like everyone in IT is talking about cloud computing and how it’s the next big thing. Look, I think that there’s a lot of good things about cloud computing, but I’m not convinced that it’s the right solution for everyone. This brings up the question of how an IT manager can find out if cloud computing is right for his or her IT department. It turns out that there are three questions that just might provide the answer that you are looking for.

How Much Will This Save Me?

A lot of the excitement about cloud computing comes from the simple fact that most IT managers view the cloud as a way to reduce the cost of running an IT project. However, before visions of budget savings start dancing in your head, you need to answer some questions first.

Roger Cheng over at the Wall Street Journal has taken a look at where the expenses in running an IT department come from. What he’s discovered is that servers run about $2000 – $6,000. This capital expense can be avoided if instead of buying more servers a IT manager simply subscribes to more cloud computing resources when it’s time to expand a project’s IT infrastructure.

In addition to saving on buying more servers, there are potentially other savings that an IT manager can realize by moving a project to the cloud. Buying more servers would require more IT staff to act as systems administrators – no servers means no hiring of additional administrators. Sure, you want to manage a dream team of IT professionals, but first you need to make sure that the company can pay for them.

Are Cloud Services Reliable Enough?

It seems as though every other month or so there is another story in the paper about some cloud provider having an outage. One time it’s Amazon, the next it’s Google. As a IT manager you need to be asking yourself if this cloud computing stuff is really reliable enough for you to be trusting your company’s IT infrastructure to.

It turns out that the analysts have taken a look at the overall reliability of the clouds that are being provided and they are as, if not more, reliable than most company’s IT infrastructure. One reason for this is that providing a cloud is all that the providers do and so they hire and staff in order to ensure the reliability of their product.

What Don’t I Know About Clouds?

The wise IT manager knows to ask “what don’t I know enough to ask about?” One key issue has to do with your company’s most precious asset – its corporate data. When you move this project data to a cloud, you are asking another company to take care of it. Are you and your company’s management team comfortable doing this?

Is your project really going to save money by moving to the cloud? Not every project will – it all depends on how your IT department is set up now and what it’s going to look like in the future. You have other options for saving money – virtualizing the project servers that you have today is one way to accomplish this.

What All Of This Means For You

Cloud computing is all the rage these days. IT managers are getting more and more pressure to introduce cloud computing into their IT projects. Before they take this step, they need show some leadership and get some questions answered.

The promise of cloud computing is that it will save an IT project money. Do you know where these savings will come from? How does the reliability of the cloud compare to your IT project’s current level of reliability? Finally, what other options besides cloud computing do you have for boosting your IT project’s performance?

Cloud computing appears to be here to stay. However, that doesn’t mean that every IT manager should race out and jump into the cloud today. Take your time and get the answers to the important questions and your next step will become clear to you.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that the company’s finance department should be involved in determining if the savings of moving into the cloud would be worth the effort for your project?

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