Following the second post on this topic by Jérémy Fain, with an Innovative perspective on what Cloud Computing will change, Let me introduce this third post.
“What Cloud Computing will change for ?…”
Thanks Kwame !
Is there a change ?
EPITECH, as a school for computer science, got a real culture around “do it yourself”. Now, we started to change, because our business is changing. We can no longer focus our power on IT Services which has no “business necessity” but just is a commodity. For the first time this year, students’ emails are no longer at EPITECH but in the Cloud on the live@edu service hosted by Microsoft.
What kind of change?
EPITECH as classified its services in three groups.
- First group is the “completely under control” services, such as email, web, VOIP…
- For the second, “new technologies”, you must understand that as a first ranked IT School, EPITECH use a lot of technologies that as just triggered from labs which are the second group such as HD audio & video conferencing system, Epitech Innovative Project or EPITECH Labs for Innovation support…
- And the third one, represents “nowhere else services” which are completely specific to our business like our students and alumni management system.
We consider that only the first group services “completely under control” is eligible to Cloud Computing, and we start to move.
For the second group, “new technologies”, those technologies should join to the first group in few months or years. A number of those technologies we are trying will disappear and we don’t want to manage a change from internal to Cloud for ephemeral technologies. You can note that, before moving to Cloud, you should really understand how your business use a service and its functionalities. Then, it’s easier to move, because you can really work on the business alignment of that service. At the end, this is not a bad thing that internal technical teams learn about technologies, before moving it in the Cloud.
For the third group, “nowhere else services”, they must be competitive business services. Which means that other competitors can’t find them and no one provide them in a Cloud service.
A change for you as a professional?
We did some tests with the group “new technologies” but we bring it back inside. Mainly, because Service Level is not under control for this kind of new technologies. It’s easy to say that an email is working well or not. Performance, availability and security can be easily set and define. So SLA (Service Level Agreement) can be defined between the service provider and us. You will find plenty of tools that can supervise your mail service and tell you if the Cloud reach the required service or not.
But, as soon as you move to very new technologies, you can’t find it, or it’s very difficult. If you don’t know the customer experience regarding a service, Cloud Computing means nothing. In that case we fall back to the old way, big servers, big Internet connection…
A change in general for IT people?
IT People take it very well. They think that they have no direct value to maintain commodities. So they are an engine to the change, and they are really satisfied to be able to focus on real business activities or working on new technologies.
A change for Epitech and for the business side?
If you move several hours of expertise around commodities to business, this has clearly a very good impact. It took some months, IT customers really think that, they are “more present… more focus on real troubles…”. So finally this gives us some opportunities to a better work between IT and other teams.
A change for the relationships with your clients, teams and vendors?
The relationship has not changed so much. Sometimes it’s clearly invisible, sometimes not. For example, the email, students go to live@edu, which is clearly a change. It is a way to proof our very good relationship with a major IT Company like Microsoft which is very important for an IT School.
What will not change?
Usually everyone says that IT is a pendulum between client side (PC) or network side. I think now this will not change for a very long time, because we had to move IT to client (this has cost a lot to customer) because of the lack of computing power for a server.
Now, power is incredible, servers are really under used, customer need lighter desktop hardware solution, and network are big.. very big… enormous !
For sure, the economics ask us to grow like a frog, big majors will settle new technologies, and we will have the same discussion in few years 😉
Finally, I think a customer like EPITECH is ready for Cloud Computing, but it’s some “Cloud Computing” services that are not still ready.
Vendors continue to speak about servers, Internet connection… and technical issues where a customer wants a Global Solution. If you can tell me “I will create the service by following your customer experience” you will win ! In that case we can speak about SLA regarding a need with availability, security and performance and Yes ! Where and How in that case doesn’t matter.
If you take a look on “global solution” it usually includes servers, virtualization and storage but nothing around customer feeling. For example, take VCE (VMware, Cisco and EMC alliance for private cloud) on the website, you will read : “…VCE’s Vblock Infrastructure Packages deliver a complete IT infrastructure that integrates best-of-breed virtualization, networking, compute, storage, security, and management technologies…”. No thought for customer experience…
To conclude, what is more important between “your customer feeling about your Service” and “the last processor technical issue that can ensure 1 CPU cycle of acceleration of a virtual instruction” ?