Open standards critical for successful cloud strategy: Red Hat

There are many factors that enterprises should consider before procuring cloud services externally, including taking an open standards approach, according to Red Hat platform business unit manager for Australia Colin McCabe.
Written by Spandas Lui, Contributor on

CIOs are faced with many constraints when trying to move into the cloud with an external provider, and having an open standards approach can alleviate some of those woes, according to Red Hat platform business unit manager for Australia Colin McCabe.

For enterprises that have yet to take the cloud leap, their CEOs are increasingly putting pressure on CIOs to fast track their cloud journey as hype for the technology reaches fever pitch. But CIOs themselves are confronted by issues, such as how to adopt cloud in a manner that is not just relocating the company's IT infrastructure, and how to ensure IT security, according to McCabe.

Taking on software as a service (SaaS) and engaging with external cloud service providers is one way of quickly jumping on the cloud bandwagon, but there are many factors to consider internally within a business, he said.

"Moving an x86 workload which is virtualised onto another piece of hardware, be it in the cloud or your own datacentre, is relatively easy these days," McCabe told ZDNet. "But looking at the large business applications that people are running in proprietary UNIX systems; that's much more difficult to move to any sort of elastic-style cloud environment."

He said that companies are torn between moving to the cloud, but potentially not being able to move their core business applications into the new environment.

"When you approach that cloud environment, setting up new workloads to actually be deployed into the cloud-ready environment is one step easier in the cloud," McCabe said. "But at the same time as doing that, it's important that organisations take very open standards and open architected views of what they're about to do."

Not only does this approach allow companies to take advantage of the flexibility in where to host their IT resources in the cloud, be it in a public or private cloud, it also gives them the ability to move easily between cloud providers that also use open cloud standards, he said.

While it's tempting for enterprises to just hand everything over to a cloud provider to avoid having to deal with all the associated troubles, McCabe advised against that.

"The IT support staff and management need to become aware of how to do this — it's really about skilling up and taking ownership of your own destiny in terms of the cloud, rather than just giving the cloud provider a call, asking them to take all your stuff," he said. "If cloud outsourcing is not done and approached correctly, then moving to the cloud effectively becomes just outsourcing IT environments, so using open standards and open architectures is really important."

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