The Impact of Cloud Computing on Internal IT Governance

By Bruce Maches

January 25, 2010

This is the first of two articles dealing with the impact of cloud computing on the governance of the IT function. What follows is a description of the less formal internal IT governance mechanisms found in many organizations. The second article is directed at the more formal corporate IT governance steering committees and associated practices.

In theory, the realization of IT governance should be a seamless process running from the board room to actual delivery of IT services. In practice however, many organizations have an institutionalized steering committee with its associated processes that supports the organization’s IT related goals while the IT group has a leadership team or council whose governance activities are focused inward on such things as technical issues, standards, and resource management.

All IT organizations must navigate an ever changing sea of user priorities, vendor offerings, business needs, regulatory requirements and changing technologies while at the same time, delivering the systems and applications required to support the operations of the business. Those IT organizations that have the ability to manage increasingly complex environments are the one’s that are better suited to leverage new technologies, such as cloud computing. As company’s determine how to best use cloud technology those organizations with mature IT governance functions and clear IT architectural strategies will be better suited to take advantage of cloud computing and to integrate its capabilities into their existing technology infrastructures.

What is IT Governance?

IT governance involves putting defined processes around how IT resources are directed and how organizations align IT efforts with business strategy. Any IT governance framework should answer some key questions, such as how the IT department is functioning overall, what key metrics management needs to manage IT efforts, and what return the organizations IT investments are providing. Every company needs a defined process to ensure that the IT function supports the organization’s overall strategies and that IT activities are directly linked to corporate objectives.

Impact of Cloud Computing

Any potentially disruptive technology, such as cloud computing, can have a significant impact on how IT designs, creates, and delivers applications and systems to the enterprise. This impact can be either positive or negative depending on how receptive the IT organization is to change and its ability to formulate plans to leverage new technologies and incorporate them into its project portfolio.

In order for an IT department to be ready to take full advantage of what cloud computing, or any new technology can offer, it needs to have in place the following internal focused processes and capabilities.

Understanding the Costs to Deliver Services: The IT group needs to have a thorough understanding of the services it provides and the associated costs to deliver those services both for internal and external needs. An example of this would be for the IT department to recast its budget into a catalog of services and associated costs. This service catalog could include items such as the cost to provision and deliver a new server or to set up a new database instance. Without an understanding of the IT groups own “cost of goods,” there is no rational way to determine if a cloud approach for a particular project is more economical than using only internal resources.

Defined Application & Platform Standards: The IT group needs to have in place a clear set of application and platform standards that define the system environments it will provide and support, as well as sufficient checks built into the system life cycle to ensure that new projects follow these standards. This allows the IT group to reduce the complexity of the overall IT ecosystem and is a critical requirement to creating a rational cost structure. If the existing applications and systems are a hodge-podge of different platforms, operating systems, databases and vendors it will be very difficult to fully define the costs to deliver IT services. This also impedes the ability of the IT organization to create a coherent strategy for incorporating new technologies, such as cloud, into the existing IT environment while reducing the impact on existing operations.

Progressive IT Leadership: Efficiently integrating any new technology requires strong and forward looking leadership that is willing to seek out and evaluate new potentially valuable technologies. Strong IT leadership will help to drive the creation of a cohesive strategy for adopting cloud and to ensure that all areas within the IT group are on board with the direction the organization is taking.

Effective Internal IT Communications: Clear and consistent communications within the IT group is an integral function for any IT organization especially in regards to adopting a new technology such as cloud. The various groups within IT (operations, support, applications and administration) need to have consistent and clear communications with each other. This communication should include at a minimum the strategy for cloud usage, technical issues that might arise, existing or planned projects where cloud might be leveraged, and the long-term strategic planning directions for the IT group.

Comprehensive Risk Management Practices: Incorporating any new technology into an existing technology base carries inherent risk that must be effectively managed and dealt with. The IT group needs to have in place the risk management practices required to ensure that risks to existing operations and to project success are identified and mitigated. The IT group needs to look at risks on a different level than the overall enterprise. It must also include factors such as technology direction, the strength of the vendor, impact on existing systems, data security, access control, backup/recovery, and any potential disruptions to the operations of the business if there were a service interruption.

Conclusion

To properly take advantage of what cloud computing can provide, IT organizations need to take a hard look at their internal governance processes and adapt them as necessary. Those organizations that do not have the structure and disciplines in place to effectively leverage new technologies will always be behind the curve in delivering value and at a competitive disadvantage. Cloud computing not only raises the bar on how strategy and governance intersect it also requires centralized control to ensure that a coherent strategy is followed and risks are minimized.

The next article in this series examines the impact of cloud on more formalized IT governance functions using the COBIT model as a reference point.

About the Author

Bruce Maches is a 32-year IT veteran and has worked or consulted with firms such as IBM, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, SAIC, and Abbott. He can be reached at [email protected].

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

At SC18: Humanitarianism Amid Boom Times for HPC

November 14, 2018

At SC18 in Dallas, the feeling on the ground is one of forward-looking buoyancy. Like boom times that cycle through the Texas oil fields, the HPC industry is enjoying a prosperity seen only every few decades, one driven Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia’s Jensen Huang Delivers Vision for the New HPC

November 14, 2018

For nearly two hours on Monday at SC18, Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, presented his expansive view of the future of HPC (and computing in general) as only he can do. Animated. Backstopped by a stream of data charts, produ Read more…

By John Russell

New Panasas High Performance Storage Straddles Commercial-Traditional HPC

November 13, 2018

High performance storage vendor Panasas has launched a new version of its ActiveStor product line this morning featuring what the company said is the industry’s first plug-and-play, portable parallel file system that d Read more…

By Doug Black

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

AI Can Be Scary. But Choosing the Wrong Partners Can Be Mortifying!

As you continue to dive deeper into AI, you will discover it is more than just deep learning. AI is an extremely complex set of machine learning, deep learning, reinforcement, and analytics algorithms with varying compute, storage, memory, and communications needs. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

New Data Management Techniques for Intelligent Simulations

The trend in high performance supercomputer design has evolved – from providing maximum compute capability for complex scalable science applications, to capacity computing utilizing efficient, cost-effective computing power for solving a small number of large problems or a large number of small problems. Read more…

SC18 Student Cluster Competition – Revealing the Field

November 13, 2018

It’s November again and we’re almost ready for the kick-off of one of the greatest computer sports events in the world – the SC Student Cluster Competition. This is the twelfth time that teams of university undergr Read more…

By Dan Olds

At SC18: Humanitarianism Amid Boom Times for HPC

November 14, 2018

At SC18 in Dallas, the feeling on the ground is one of forward-looking buoyancy. Like boom times that cycle through the Texas oil fields, the HPC industry is en Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia’s Jensen Huang Delivers Vision for the New HPC

November 14, 2018

For nearly two hours on Monday at SC18, Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, presented his expansive view of the future of HPC (and computing in general) as only he can Read more…

By John Russell

New Panasas High Performance Storage Straddles Commercial-Traditional HPC

November 13, 2018

High performance storage vendor Panasas has launched a new version of its ActiveStor product line this morning featuring what the company said is the industry Read more…

By Doug Black

SC18 Student Cluster Competition – Revealing the Field

November 13, 2018

It’s November again and we’re almost ready for the kick-off of one of the greatest computer sports events in the world – the SC Student Cluster Competitio Read more…

By Dan Olds

US Leads Supercomputing with #1, #2 Systems & Petascale Arm

November 12, 2018

The 31st Supercomputing Conference (SC) - commemorating 30 years since the first Supercomputing in 1988 - kicked off in Dallas yesterday, taking over the Kay Ba Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

OpenACC Talks Up Summit and Community Momentum at SC18

November 12, 2018

OpenACC – the directives-based parallel programing model for optimizing applications on heterogeneous architectures – is showcasing user traction and HPC im Read more…

By John Russell

How ASCI Revolutionized the World of High-Performance Computing and Advanced Modeling and Simulation

November 9, 2018

The 1993 Supercomputing Conference was held in Portland, Oregon. That conference and it’s show floor provided a good snapshot of the uncertainty that U.S. supercomputing was facing in the early 1990s. Many of the companies exhibiting that year would soon be gone, either bankrupt or acquired by somebody else. Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

At SC18: GM, Boeing, Deere, BP Talk Enterprise HPC Strategies

November 9, 2018

SC18 in Dallas (Nov.11-16) will feature an impressive series of sessions focused on the enterprise HPC deployments at some of the largest industrial companies: Read more…

By Doug Black

Cray Unveils Shasta, Lands NERSC-9 Contract

October 30, 2018

Cray revealed today the details of its next-gen supercomputing architecture, Shasta, selected to be the next flagship system at NERSC. We've known of the code-name "Shasta" since the Argonne slice of the CORAL project was announced in 2015 and although the details of that plan have changed considerably, Cray didn't slow down its timeline for Shasta. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TACC Wins Next NSF-funded Major Supercomputer

July 30, 2018

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) has won the next NSF-funded big supercomputer beating out rivals including the National Center for Supercomputing Ap Read more…

By John Russell

IBM at Hot Chips: What’s Next for Power

August 23, 2018

With processor, memory and networking technologies all racing to fill in for an ailing Moore’s law, the era of the heterogeneous datacenter is well underway, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Requiem for a Phi: Knights Landing Discontinued

July 25, 2018

On Monday, Intel made public its end of life strategy for the Knights Landing "KNL" Phi product set. The announcement makes official what has already been wide Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

House Passes $1.275B National Quantum Initiative

September 17, 2018

Last Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Quantum Initiative Act (NQIA) intended to accelerate quantum computing research and developm Read more…

By John Russell

CERN Project Sees Orders-of-Magnitude Speedup with AI Approach

August 14, 2018

An award-winning effort at CERN has demonstrated potential to significantly change how the physics based modeling and simulation communities view machine learni Read more…

By Rob Farber

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

New Deep Learning Algorithm Solves Rubik’s Cube

July 25, 2018

Solving (and attempting to solve) Rubik’s Cube has delighted millions of puzzle lovers since 1974 when the cube was invented by Hungarian sculptor and archite Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

US Leads Supercomputing with #1, #2 Systems & Petascale Arm

November 12, 2018

The 31st Supercomputing Conference (SC) - commemorating 30 years since the first Supercomputing in 1988 - kicked off in Dallas yesterday, taking over the Kay Ba Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TACC’s ‘Frontera’ Supercomputer Expands Horizon for Extreme-Scale Science

August 29, 2018

The National Science Foundation and the Texas Advanced Computing Center announced today that a new system, called Frontera, will overtake Stampede 2 as the fast Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE No. 1, IBM Surges, in ‘Bucking Bronco’ High Performance Server Market

September 27, 2018

Riding healthy U.S. and global economies, strong demand for AI-capable hardware and other tailwind trends, the high performance computing server market jumped 28 percent in the second quarter 2018 to $3.7 billion, up from $2.9 billion for the same period last year, according to industry analyst firm Hyperion Research. Read more…

By Doug Black

Intel Announces Cooper Lake, Advances AI Strategy

August 9, 2018

Intel's chief datacenter exec Navin Shenoy kicked off the company's Data-Centric Innovation Summit Wednesday, the day-long program devoted to Intel's datacenter Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Germany Celebrates Launch of Two Fastest Supercomputers

September 26, 2018

The new high-performance computer SuperMUC-NG at the Leibniz Supercomputing Center (LRZ) in Garching is the fastest computer in Germany and one of the fastest i Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Houston to Field Massive, ‘Geophysically Configured’ Cloud Supercomputer

October 11, 2018

Based on some news stories out today, one might get the impression that the next system to crack number one on the Top500 would be an industrial oil and gas mon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

MLPerf – Will New Machine Learning Benchmark Help Propel AI Forward?

May 2, 2018

Let the AI benchmarking wars begin. Today, a diverse group from academia and industry – Google, Baidu, Intel, AMD, Harvard, and Stanford among them – releas Read more…

By John Russell

Google Releases Machine Learning “What-If” Analysis Tool

September 12, 2018

Training machine learning models has long been time-consuming process. Yesterday, Google released a “What-If Tool” for probing how data point changes affect a model’s prediction. The new tool is being launched as a new feature of the open source TensorBoard web application... Read more…

By John Russell

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This