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!

Talk to Me: Nvidia Claims NLP Inference, Training Records

August 15, 2019

Nvidia says it’s achieved significant advances in conversation natural language processing (NLP) training and inference, enabling more complex, immediate-response interchanges between customers and chatbots. And the co Read more…

By Doug Black

Trump Administration and NIST Issue AI Standards Development Plan

August 14, 2019

Efforts to develop AI are gathering steam fast. On Monday, the White House issued a federal plan to help develop technical standards for AI following up on a mandate contained in the Administration’s AI Executive Order Read more…

By John Russell

Scientists to Tap Exascale Computing to Unlock the Mystery of our Accelerating Universe

August 14, 2019

The universe and everything in it roared to life with the Big Bang approximately 13.8 billion years ago. It has continued expanding ever since. While we have a good understanding of the early universe, its fate billions Read more…

By Rob Johnson

AWS Solution Channel

Efficiency and Cost-Optimization for HPC Workloads – AWS Batch and Amazon EC2 Spot Instances

High Performance Computing on AWS leverages the power of cloud computing and the extreme scale it offers to achieve optimal HPC price/performance. With AWS you can right size your services to meet exactly the capacity requirements you need without having to overprovision or compromise capacity. Read more…

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Bring the combined power of HPC and AI to your business transformation

FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) acceleration cards are not new, as they’ve been commercially available since 1984. Typically, the emphasis around FPGAs has centered on the fact that they’re programmable accelerators, and that they can truly offer workload specific hardware acceleration solutions without requiring custom silicon. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Cloudy with a Chance of Mainframes

[Connect with HPC users and learn new skills in the IBM Spectrum LSF User Community.]

Rapid rates of change sometimes result in unexpected bedfellows. Read more…

Argonne Supercomputer Accelerates Cancer Prediction Research

August 13, 2019

In the fight against cancer, early prediction, which drastically improves prognoses, is critical. Now, new research by a team from Northwestern University – and accelerated by supercomputing resources at Argonne Nation Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Scientists to Tap Exascale Computing to Unlock the Mystery of our Accelerating Universe

August 14, 2019

The universe and everything in it roared to life with the Big Bang approximately 13.8 billion years ago. It has continued expanding ever since. While we have a Read more…

By Rob Johnson

AI is the Next Exascale – Rick Stevens on What that Means and Why It’s Important

August 13, 2019

Twelve years ago the Department of Energy (DOE) was just beginning to explore what an exascale computing program might look like and what it might accomplish. Today, DOE is repeating that process for AI, once again starting with science community town halls to gather input and stimulate conversation. The town hall program... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader and John Russell

Cray Wins NNSA-Livermore ‘El Capitan’ Exascale Contract

August 13, 2019

Cray has won the bid to build the first exascale supercomputer for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Lawrence Livermore National Laborator Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AMD Launches Epyc Rome, First 7nm CPU

August 8, 2019

From a gala event at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco yesterday (Aug. 7), AMD launched its second-generation Epyc Rome x86 chips, based on its 7nm proce Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Lenovo Drives Single-Socket Servers with AMD Epyc Rome CPUs

August 7, 2019

No summer doldrums here. As part of the AMD Epyc Rome launch event in San Francisco today, Lenovo announced two new single-socket servers, the ThinkSystem SR635 Read more…

By Doug Black

Building Diversity and Broader Engagement in the HPC Community

August 7, 2019

Increasing diversity and inclusion in HPC is a community-building effort. Representation of both issues and individuals matters - the more people see HPC in a w Read more…

By AJ Lauer

Xilinx vs. Intel: FPGA Market Leaders Launch Server Accelerator Cards

August 6, 2019

The two FPGA market leaders, Intel and Xilinx, both announced new accelerator cards this week designed to handle specialized, compute-intensive workloads and un Read more…

By Doug Black

Upcoming NSF Cyberinfrastructure Projects to Support ‘Long-Tail’ Users, AI and Big Data

August 5, 2019

The National Science Foundation is well positioned to support national priorities, as new NSF-funded HPC systems to come online in the upcoming year promise to Read more…

By Ken Chiacchia, Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center/XSEDE

High Performance (Potato) Chips

May 5, 2006

In this article, we focus on how Procter & Gamble is using high performance computing to create some common, everyday supermarket products. Tom Lange, a 27-year veteran of the company, tells us how P&G models products, processes and production systems for the betterment of consumer package goods. Read more…

By Michael Feldman

Supercomputer-Powered AI Tackles a Key Fusion Energy Challenge

August 7, 2019

Fusion energy is the Holy Grail of the energy world: low-radioactivity, low-waste, zero-carbon, high-output nuclear power that can run on hydrogen or lithium. T Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Cray, AMD to Extend DOE’s Exascale Frontier

May 7, 2019

Cray and AMD are coming back to Oak Ridge National Laboratory to partner on the world’s largest and most expensive supercomputer. The Department of Energy’s Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Graphene Surprises Again, This Time for Quantum Computing

May 8, 2019

Graphene is fascinating stuff with promise for use in a seeming endless number of applications. This month researchers from the University of Vienna and Institu Read more…

By John Russell

AMD Verifies Its Largest 7nm Chip Design in Ten Hours

June 5, 2019

AMD announced last week that its engineers had successfully executed the first physical verification of its largest 7nm chip design – in just ten hours. The AMD Radeon Instinct Vega20 – which boasts 13.2 billion transistors – was tested using a TSMC-certified Calibre nmDRC software platform from Mentor. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

TSMC and Samsung Moving to 5nm; Whither Moore’s Law?

June 12, 2019

With reports that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TMSC) and Samsung are moving quickly to 5nm manufacturing, it’s a good time to again ponder whither goes the venerable Moore’s law. Shrinking feature size has of course been the primary hallmark of achieving Moore’s law... Read more…

By John Russell

Deep Learning Competitors Stalk Nvidia

May 14, 2019

There is no shortage of processing architectures emerging to accelerate deep learning workloads, with two more options emerging this week to challenge GPU leader Nvidia. First, Intel researchers claimed a new deep learning record for image classification on the ResNet-50 convolutional neural network. Separately, Israeli AI chip startup Hailo.ai... Read more…

By George Leopold

Nvidia Embraces Arm, Declares Intent to Accelerate All CPU Architectures

June 17, 2019

As the Top500 list was being announced at ISC in Frankfurt today with an upgraded petascale Arm supercomputer in the top third of the list, Nvidia announced its Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

ISC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

CRAY
CRAY
DDN
DDN
DELL EMC
DELL EMC
GOOGLE
GOOGLE
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL

Cray Wins NNSA-Livermore ‘El Capitan’ Exascale Contract

August 13, 2019

Cray has won the bid to build the first exascale supercomputer for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Lawrence Livermore National Laborator Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Top500 Purely Petaflops; US Maintains Performance Lead

June 17, 2019

With the kick-off of the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Frankfurt this morning, the 53rd Top500 list made its debut, and this one's for petafl Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Hardware That Powered the Black Hole Image

June 24, 2019

Two months ago, the first-ever image of a black hole took the internet by storm. A team of scientists took years to produce and verify the striking image – an Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Cray – and the Cray Brand – to Be Positioned at Tip of HPE’s HPC Spear

May 22, 2019

More so than with most acquisitions of this kind, HPE’s purchase of Cray for $1.3 billion, announced last week, seems to have elements of that overused, often Read more…

By Doug Black and Tiffany Trader

AMD Launches Epyc Rome, First 7nm CPU

August 8, 2019

From a gala event at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco yesterday (Aug. 7), AMD launched its second-generation Epyc Rome x86 chips, based on its 7nm proce Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Chinese Company Sugon Placed on US ‘Entity List’ After Strong Showing at International Supercomputing Conference

June 26, 2019

After more than a decade of advancing its supercomputing prowess, operating the world’s most powerful supercomputer from June 2013 to June 2018, China is keep Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

In Wake of Nvidia-Mellanox: Xilinx to Acquire Solarflare

April 25, 2019

With echoes of Nvidia’s recent acquisition of Mellanox, FPGA maker Xilinx has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Solarflare Communications, provider Read more…

By Doug Black

Qualcomm Invests in RISC-V Startup SiFive

June 7, 2019

Investors are zeroing in on the open standard RISC-V instruction set architecture and the processor intellectual property being developed by a batch of high-flying chip startups. Last fall, Esperanto Technologies announced a $58 million funding round. Read more…

By George Leopold

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