Moving Apps To The Cloud Fuels Innovation

This post is part three of a three part series examining how the cloud accelerates innovation. This final installment looks at how the cloud frees IT from creating applications and other on-premise restraints, and how it can ultimately attract new talent, both of which foster innovation.

Cloud computing doesn’t just free IT from day-to-day on-site maintenance and enable it to focus on value-add versus maintaining the status quo, it also takes some of the burden of creating applications off of IT’s shoulders, further removing the constraints on an on-premise model.

Another benefit is that the cloud offers more transparency into the consumption of computing resources than on-premise architectures, which makes it easier to see who is using what resources and gain an understanding of usage patterns.

On-premise models often limit the flexibility to roll out new services; make it difficult to find time to develop new, value-added applications due to focusing on fixing current apps and tending to other problems; and require added time to manage contracts with providers and maintain software and hardware.

A cloud computing model, however, removes these hurdles, enabling IT to focus on co-innovating with business users and build applications and solutions that differentiate an enterprise, which ultimately adds real value.

Managing a complex application portfolio is several orders of magnitude easier in the cloud. Applications can be deployed more quickly and more easily because the cloud removes the need to apportion and manage on-premise resources. The result is a reduction in the cost to try new things and innovate. Meanwhile, upgrades, patches and other changes to commercial software are no longer IT’s worry, but the responsibility of the cloud vendor, which can automate deployment and management of apps, thus allowing IT teams to work on new apps that can create a competitive advantage and provide differentiation.

Cloud vendors can also track data like application usage, storage, memory requirements and CPU Loads, along with monitoring tools that can alert enterprises to security issues or when resources are overtaxed. Leveraging these cloud offerings offers IT more detailed information than they could get from on-premise architectures.

Among some of the applications and tasks that are best suited for the cloud are email, which when hosted in the cloud can cut the risk of downtime and provide continuity for users; backup, which eliminates the cost and maintenance of expensive on-premise file servers for storage and lets users share and sync data, it can also support disaster recovery by moving data offsite; and file sharing, such as Microsoft SharePoint, which enables document management and collaboration in the cloud.

The cloud also enables companies to benefit from collective innovation and enables companies to detach their own product and service innovation from maintaining infrastructure and applications. Leaving it up to cloud vendors to bear the cost and worry of upgrades frees time and money for innovation. And other benefits like speed, lower costs, easier access and the elimination of upgrade and versioning hassles.

And a side-effect of this innovation driven by the cloud is the ability to attract top talent. Talented engineers and developers are attracted to enterprises with a clear strategy to leverage cloud systems. And bringing aboard top talent further accelerates innovation.

The issues and topics discussed in this blog post, and the ones that preceded it, can be examined more deeply in the new whitepaper, How The Cloud Accelerates Innovation, which is available for download now.

John Engates joined Rackspace in August 2000, just a year after the company was founded, as Vice President of Operations, managing the datacenter operations and customer-service teams. Two years later, when Rackspace decided to add new services for larger enterprise customers, John created and helped develop the Intensive Hosting business unit. Most recently, John has played an active role in the evolution and evangelism of Rackspace's cloud-computing strategy and cloud products. John meets frequently with customers to hear about their needs and concerns, and to discuss Rackspace's vision for the future of cloud computing. John currently serves as Chief Technology Officer. John is also an internationally recognized cloud computing expert and a sought-after speaker at technology conferences, including CA World, the Goldman Sachs Techtonics Conference and Cloud Expo. He speaks on the future of cloud computing, enterprise cloud adoption, data center efficiency, green data center best practices, and more. Prior to joining Rackspace, John was a founder and General Manager at Internet Direct, one of the original Internet service providers in Texas. John is a graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio and holds a B.B.A. in Accounting.


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