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Monday, 30 November 2009

Windows Azure - Do You Run The Risk?

With the launch of Windows Azure into the Cloud computing marketplace, do CIO's and CFO's run the risk of having the wool pulled over their eyes, in their desire to reap the benefits of Cloud computing?

What I mean is, if organisations are tasking their IT teams to move into the Cloud, do they truly know what does get moved into the Cloud and ALL the benefits the organisation should enjoy as a result?

If the mission tasking is based on the supposition that cost savings can be made by running applications in the Cloud, then one needs to be a bit clearer about what aspects of Cloud computing are to be exploited.

The media are getting more specific about what the Cloud is; Infrastructure, Platform and Software -as-a Service (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS, respectively). But for the Executives, here in comes the risk of Azure.

On the face of it, Azure might offer a cost benefit as a PaaS, but the move or redevelopment of legacy Windows applications to Azure may be an iceberg in your cost reduction strategy.

Software-as-a-Service has an attraction, in that it delivers all the functionality of an application for the masses. Organisations have moved to this type of service, after they have realised that all the customised application development they have undertaken to deliver their bespoke application in the past, had delivered no more of a return than if they had taken an off-the-shelf package in the first place. A SaaS application might not be perfect in all its functionality, but if it will deliver over 70% of ALL the features you require, and the core of the functionality is very user-friendly, you will achieve a very high level of adoption and deliver a quantifiable return. If you want to customise the SaaS application thereafter, you can do in typically 20% of the normal development time.

So, before you let your IT teams go running off and start redeveloping your Windows applications to be able to run on Azure, in the Cloud. Take the time to assess what's out there as SaaS, and take the opportunity to ditch some of those burdensome applications that have cost you dearly, so that the exploitation of the Azure platform is cost effective and delivers new efficiencies for the organisation.

Understand what PaaS is all about, what you want to redevelop onto the platform and take the opportunity where necessary to subscribe to a SaaS application if it will offer a more cost effective, efficient and productive solution.

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