Cloud Computing Will Liberate System Integrators

jeanscricketInternet and Web Development

Nov 3, 2013 (3 years and 9 months ago)

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Cloud Computing
Will Liberate

System Integrators


System
i
ntegrators

(SI)

have
traditionally

focus
ed
on project
-
based engagements as

hired guns


to the
customers
.
But with
c
loud
c
omputing

platforms like Windows Azure
, many S
I companies are
repositioning t
hemselves

to
develop long
-
term and on
-
going customer relations

Need for Change


The traditional SI company

business model requires
system integrators

to sell new

project initiatives to
customers
over and over
. Their engagements are usually
based on man
-
day
s and

a variety of

maintenance tasks
. After they are done with a project
, they get paid

and
need to

immediately

look for
new projects in order to keep the revenue stream

flowing.


I
n pitching new
business
, t
hey also need
t
o

bare
the
high investment cost
s

o
f

Proof
-
of
-
C
oncept

(POC)

projects.

This is
a
particular problem with

government

tenders
, which require

POC

investment
at the
beginning of the
s
ales

cycle
,
with

no

guarantee

of any

return
s.
A
t the same time
,

SI companies are also
facing increasing customer
demands

to
improve business agility, reduce management complexity and
control costs
.


Cloud

c
omputing
can address all of these challenges by
help
ing

both the SI and their customers
to
experience

more effective management and integration

and

deliver maximu
m benefit
s

and
r
eturn on
i
nvestment (ROI)
.



Changing the

Business Model with Cloud Computing


As

c
loud
c
omputing vendors are usually charged on a pay
-
as
-
you
-
go model, SI companies that leverage
the cloud

can also provide flexibility to their customers
wit
h
subscription
-
based
charges
.

They can now
provide s
ubscription rates based on the content of the software, the number of users and the
information resources to be exploited, with no extra cost for additional services such as software
upgrades, data backup
/restore,
and hardware

and database maintenance
.

Most

CIOs
welcome this
model as it allows them to align
their budget
spen
d

with their business growth.


With
c
loud
c
omputing
, customers maintain choice and control over how and where services are utilized.
T
hese choices include, for instance, determining the ratio of on
-
premises to off
-
premises solutions,
whether to host
in
a
public
or
private cloud
, and how to change the mix as
business
needs
change
.
Customers

can

also choose which services to deploy
--

IaaS
, SaaS, PaaS, o
r any combination of the three
.
Clearly,

migration to the cloud will not
happen
overnight

--

the c
loud +
o
n
-
p
remises
hybrid
scenario
will
be popular for some time to come.


For
system integrators
,
c
loud
c
omputing

provides on
-
demand computin
g and storage resources to host,
scale, and manage
w
eb applications on the Internet.
It

reduces obstacles to creating reliable and
scalable web applications because it is based on, and works with
,

familiar
technolog
ies such as ASP.NET
and PHP, as well as

i
ndustry web standards and pro
tocols such
as
SOAP
, REST

and

XML
.

As such,
they


can deliver the POC
more quickly

and

devote more time to

the business logic of an application, without
worrying about
hardware setup and
operational constraints.



Enabling New
U
sage
Scenarios


With
c
loud
c
omputing,
s
ystem
i
ntegrators can also explore new usage scenarios that
were

considered
resource intensive or too expensive in the past.

Cloud computing deliver
s

virtually unlimi
ted scalability
on demand and

give
s

companies the g
lobal reach they could never afford to build on their own.



Dynamic Scaling with Low Upfront Cost
s
:


SI companies
often find it challenging to do

capacity planning with their customer
s
. In many cases, the
customer do
es

not
even
know their exact needs as t
he usage patterns are

difficult to predict
.
T
h
at poses
a dilemma for

both parties.
O
ver
-
estimate
, and they get

hardware
redundancy
.
B
ut if they
under
-
estimate, they will not be able to maintain their service level
s
.

T
his

is where
c
loud
c
omputing
becomes im
portant.


A cloud computing platform enables applications to be hosted in an Internet
-
accessible virtual
environment that supplies the necessary hardware, software, network, and storage capacities and
provides for security and reliability, removing much of

the burden of purchasing and maintaining
hardware and software in
-
house. In the cloud, you can develop, deploy, and manage applications as you
have in the past and integrate these services to your on
-
premise applications. You pay only for the time,
resour
ces, and capacity you use
,

while scaling up to accommodate changing business needs.


So we can now subscribe for a smaller
instance

to begin with, and do not need to worry about
unpredictable usage patterns
because the

c
loud let
s

us

add extra instances in
just minutes. Since there
is neither

up
-
front hardware nor software investment
,
customers can easily

move from Capex to Opex



another advantage

that is

much welcomed by CIOs
.


Time Bound Projects


With the pay
-
as
-
you
-
go pricing model of
c
loud
c
omputing, i
t is also possible to purchase computation
power and storage capacity for a limited amount of time.
A

customer

that

run
s a

marketing campaign
for only 3
-
6 months

cannot justify an

invest
ment

in hardware
that

is going to
lie idle

after
the campaign
is finis
hed
.
B
ut with
c
loud
computing, the customer

can subscribe
to
the service for a few months and
then unsubscribe
when they no longer have demand
. For short term campaigns, that would even mean
a
saving of
50

percent

or more.


Usually these campaigns

include
traditional
w
eb
-
hosted
applications

and
emerging composed
applications that may utilize two or more data sources and services. These applications need automatic
scale
-
out and scale
-
down capabilities.
(
Facebook is a good example
)
. In such scenarios
,

the org
anization
may want to spend little capital on infrastructure while being able to handle increasing demand.


Heavy Computation




T
here are
also
customers
who
want more computational power to accomplish complex processing and
simulation tasks
.
Tasks
that
requ
ire
heavy computation

have become standard operating procedure
s

in
many industries
, but

end users

often

wait too long to get results, which
mean
s

delays in time
-
to
-
market
and productivity lags for employees.


T
here are
also
analytical applications whose ma
in function is to run processor
-
intensive operations and
data mining, often over the same data many times
. These
require access to a great deal of storage
capacity and
, at the same time,

processor availability.


As a solution to these scenarios, cloud com
puting eliminates the

need to pay for such huge capacity
twenty
-
four hours a day, seven days a week.
T
here are
also

parallel computing applications that need to
perform multiple tasks in parallel so that a huge project can be executed in a short period of
time. Again,
paying for the one
-
time
-
only large capacity that cloud computing can provide is a cost
-
effective solution.



Conclusion


With
c
loud
c
omputing,
s
ystem
i
ntegrators are ready to provide subscription
-
based services that increase
the

stickiness


o
f their customer

relations

and open up a more constant revenue

runway
.
I
t also brings
new opportunities for them
to develop

on
-
going relationship
s

with

their customers

in dynamic scaling,
time
-
bound projects
,

and heavy computation

scenarios
.