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!

HPC in Life Sciences Part 1: CPU Choices, Rise of Data Lakes, Networking Challenges, and More

February 21, 2019

For the past few years HPCwire and leaders of BioTeam, a research computing consultancy specializing in life sciences, have convened to examine the state of HPC (and now AI) use in life sciences. Without HPC writ lar Read more…

By John Russell

Arm Unveils Neoverse N1 Platform with up to 128-Cores

February 20, 2019

Following on its Neoverse roadmap announcement last October, Arm today revealed its next-gen Neoverse microarchitecture with compute and throughput-optimized silicon designs catered toward general-purpose cloud computing Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

The Internet of Criminal Things—Trust in the Gods but Verify!

February 20, 2019

“Are we under attack?” asked Professor Elmarie Biermann of the Cyber Security Institute during the recent South African Centre for High Performance Computing’s (CHPC) National Conference in Cape Town. A quick show Read more…

By Elizabeth Leake, STEM-Trek

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPE and Intel® Omni-Path Architecture: How to Power a Cloud

Learn how HPE and Intel® Omni-Path Architecture provide critical infrastructure for leading Nordic HPC provider’s HPCFLOW cloud service.

powercloud_blog.jpgFor decades, HPE has been at the forefront of high-performance computing, and we’ve powered some of the fastest and most robust supercomputers in the world. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

The Perils of Becoming Trapped in the Cloud

Terms like ‘open systems’ have been bandied about for decades. While modern computer systems are relatively open compared to their predecessors, there are still plenty of opportunities to become locked into proprietary interfaces. Read more…

Machine Learning Takes Heat for Science’s Reproducibility Crisis

February 19, 2019

Scientists are raising red flags about the accuracy and reproducibility of conclusions drawn by machine learning frameworks. Among the remedies are developing new ML systems that can question their own predictions, show Read more…

By George Leopold

HPC in Life Sciences Part 1: CPU Choices, Rise of Data Lakes, Networking Challenges, and More

February 21, 2019

For the past few years HPCwire and leaders of BioTeam, a research computing consultancy specializing in life sciences, have convened to examine the state of HP Read more…

By John Russell

Arm Unveils Neoverse N1 Platform with up to 128-Cores

February 20, 2019

Following on its Neoverse roadmap announcement last October, Arm today revealed its next-gen Neoverse microarchitecture with compute and throughput-optimized si Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Insights from Optimized Codes on Cineca’s Marconi

February 15, 2019

What can you do with 381,392 CPU cores? For Cineca, it means enabling computational scientists to expand a large part of the world’s body of knowledge from th Read more…

By Ken Strandberg

ClusterVision in Bankruptcy, Fate Uncertain

February 13, 2019

ClusterVision, European HPC specialists that have built and installed over 20 Top500-ranked systems in their nearly 17-year history, appear to be in the midst o Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

UC Berkeley Paper Heralds Rise of Serverless Computing in the Cloud – Do You Agree?

February 13, 2019

Almost exactly ten years to the day from publishing of their widely-read, seminal paper on cloud computing, UC Berkeley researchers have issued another ambitious examination of cloud computing - Cloud Programming Simplified: A Berkeley View on Serverless Computing. The new work heralds the rise of ‘serverless computing’ as the next dominant phase of cloud computing. Read more…

By John Russell

Iowa ‘Grows Its Own’ to Fill the HPC Workforce Pipeline

February 13, 2019

The global workforce that supports advanced computing, scientific software and high-speed research networks is relatively small when you stop to consider the magnitude of the transformative discoveries it empowers. Technical conferences provide a forum where specialists convene to learn about the latest innovations and schedule face-time with colleagues from other institutions. Read more…

By Elizabeth Leake, STEM-Trek

Trump Signs Executive Order Launching U.S. AI Initiative

February 11, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) today launching a U.S Artificial Intelligence Initiative. The new initiative - Maintaining American L Read more…

By John Russell

Celebrating Women in Science: Meet Four Women Leading the Way in HPC

February 11, 2019

One only needs to look around at virtually any CS/tech conference to realize that women are underrepresented, and that holds true of HPC. SC hosts over 13,000 H Read more…

By AJ Lauer

Quantum Computing Will Never Work

November 27, 2018

Amid the gush of money and enthusiastic predictions being thrown at quantum computing comes a proposed cold shower in the form of an essay by physicist Mikhail Read more…

By John Russell

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

The Case Against ‘The Case Against Quantum Computing’

January 9, 2019

It’s not easy to be a physicist. Richard Feynman (basically the Jimi Hendrix of physicists) once said: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourse Read more…

By Ben Criger

AMD Sets Up for Epyc Epoch

November 16, 2018

It’s been a good two weeks, AMD’s Gary Silcott and Andy Parma told me on the last day of SC18 in Dallas at the restaurant where we met to discuss their show news and recent successes. Heck, it’s been a good year. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Reportedly in $6B Bid for Mellanox

January 30, 2019

The latest rumors and reports around an acquisition of Mellanox focus on Intel, which has reportedly offered a $6 billion bid for the high performance interconn Read more…

By Doug Black

ClusterVision in Bankruptcy, Fate Uncertain

February 13, 2019

ClusterVision, European HPC specialists that have built and installed over 20 Top500-ranked systems in their nearly 17-year history, appear to be in the midst o Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

Looking for Light Reading? NSF-backed ‘Comic Books’ Tackle Quantum Computing

January 28, 2019

Still baffled by quantum computing? How about turning to comic books (graphic novels for the well-read among you) for some clarity and a little humor on QC. The Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

SC 18 Virtual Booth Video Tour

Advania @ SC18 AMD @ SC18
ASRock Rack @ SC18
DDN Storage @ SC18
HPE @ SC18
IBM @ SC18
Lenovo @ SC18 Mellanox Technologies @ SC18
NVIDIA @ SC18
One Stop Systems @ SC18
Oracle @ SC18 Panasas @ SC18
Supermicro @ SC18 SUSE @ SC18 TYAN @ SC18
Verne Global @ SC18

Contract Signed for New Finnish Supercomputer

December 13, 2018

After the official contract signing yesterday, configuration details were made public for the new BullSequana system that the Finnish IT Center for Science (CSC Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Deep500: ETH Researchers Introduce New Deep Learning Benchmark for HPC

February 5, 2019

ETH researchers have developed a new deep learning benchmarking environment – Deep500 – they say is “the first distributed and reproducible benchmarking s Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Quantum Update: Q System One Launch, New Collaborators, and QC Center Plans

January 10, 2019

IBM made three significant quantum computing announcements at CES this week. One was introduction of IBM Q System One; it’s really the integration of IBM’s Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Reflections and (Mostly Hopeful) Predictions

December 19, 2018

So much ‘spaghetti’ gets tossed on walls by the technology community (vendors and researchers) to see what sticks that it is often difficult to peer through Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Bets $2B Seeking 1000X AI Hardware Performance Boost

February 7, 2019

For now, AI systems are mostly machine learning-based and “narrow” – powerful as they are by today's standards, they're limited to performing a few, narro 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, product photos, and even a beautiful image of supernovae... Read more…

By John Russell

The Deep500 – Researchers Tackle an HPC Benchmark for Deep Learning

January 7, 2019

How do you know if an HPC system, particularly a larger-scale system, is well-suited for deep learning workloads? Today, that’s not an easy question to answer Read more…

By John Russell

Intel Confirms 48-Core Cascade Lake-AP for 2019

November 4, 2018

As part of the run-up to SC18, taking place in Dallas next week (Nov. 11-16), Intel is doling out info on its next-gen Cascade Lake family of Xeon processors, specifically the “Advanced Processor” version (Cascade Lake-AP), architected for high-performance computing, artificial intelligence and infrastructure-as-a-service workloads. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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