Politics In The Cloud

When implementing cloud services various technology barriers can crop up, such as services taking up to a week to provision or lock-in to a specific vendor’s infrastructure, which can be costly. On the other hand, there are cloud platforms available that are compatible with multiple hypervisors and can be set up and running in less than a day.

In some cases the biggest challenge won’t be the technology but rather the internal politics that need to be navigated in order to move a cloud service from a test lab into production.

Most IT projects require sign off at a senior level and there are few organisations these days where cloud isn’t on the agenda for C-level executives, particularly if they are looking for ways to reduce costs. Delivering a true self-service experience to your users or customers can be a political minefield that needs to be navigated.

A survey that was recently conducted at VMworld showed that self-service cloud isn’t available to 85% of users and I suspect there are many system or network administrators who do not want to lose control of what they have created over the last few years.

Each technology stakeholder will have built and configured their part of the environment. They are in control and know they can meet the SLAs they have signed up to. There are also likely to be processes and procedures that many feel ‘work’ today, and they will be reluctant to put in the effort needed to adapt to a new cloud model. A cloud model should be about doing the upfront configuration once so it can be used many times without constant input from administrators.

Technology is not the barrier here and any good cloud model should provide self-service to users (or customers) whilst maintaining the control any organisation needs. That control should take the form of restricting users to a set of resources or controlling the parts of the infrastructure they are allowed to use. Naturally, any cloud orchestration is also going to need administration delegation through role-based privileges.

If you can demonstrate to your internal stakeholders that controlled self-service is possible, then rather than being a barrier it can be seen as a viable avenue. Administrators as well as consumers should be sold the benefits that a cloud service will bring. If you are creating a cloud service then everyone using it needs to fully understand who owns what and who does what in the environment so you can navigate the internal politics and the stakeholders cast their votes in your favour.

SHARETweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestDigg thisShare on RedditShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Jim Darragh is the CEO of Abiquo and joined the company in September 2012 with a vision to aggressively grow the business and deliver shareholder value. Prior to this he held the position of SVP & General Manager of the Stingray business unit at Riverbed Technology, a role he began in July 2011 following his influential leadership as CEO at Zeus Technology. Jim was instrumental in the acquisition of Zeus by Riverbed in 2011, spearheading an award-winning exit that attracted considerable attention in the European equity markets. Prior to Zeus, Jim has a long history of building successful international software businesses across the industry at SAP, CA Technologies and BMC Software.