Efficiency Makes the Cloud King
Whether we're discussing your personal health, business or cloud computing, efficiency is the name of today’s game. Let me walk you through a few examples. In Christopher McDougall’s book Born to Run, he examined extensive research on how human beings are actually constructed for long distance running.
Whether we're discussing your personal health, business or cloud computing, efficiency is the name of today’s game. Let me walk you through a few examples. In Christopher McDougall’s book Born to Run, he examined extensive research on how human beings are actually constructed for long distance running. He compares our physique with that of a cheetah, versus a rabbit, and discusses the need for endurance over speed when running is part of your survival – hunting or escaping, for example.
Our legs and our lungs are efficiently designed to support those objectives. Similarly, so is the African Wild Dog, the most efficient hunter in nature. They live in packs of 6-20 and instinctively understand that when their numbers dip below six, their ability to hunt effectively – and therefore survive – decreases. They maintain harmonious packs with very little in-fighting and competition, and hunt in a methodical, organized fashioned. When chasing prey, they run a relay-style race, alternating which dogs take the lead and which pack members drop back to rest while on a long chase. The result is that no prey can outrun a pack of African Wild Dogs.
Efficiency is an evolutionary output – a prime example of survival of the fittest.
This is an applicable story in any world. Efficiency helps families juggle long hours at work, gymnastics and music lessons after school, homework, making dinner and occasionally, getting in that run. Efficiency helps restaurants prepare the specials of the evening, serve up delicious meals in less time than you could cook them at home and still have you sated and leaving a large tip for your friendly waitstaff. Efficiency helps businesses do more with less, save money, reduce time to market and provide key services cost effectively to customers.
Where Cloud Computing Fits In
Cloud computing enables businesses to take advantage of such efficiencies by optimizing costs and improving workflows in a variety of ways, including the automation of day-to-day operational tasks and deployment of required resources in a centralized, highly virtualized environment.
At ASG Software Solutions, we have been focused on providing customers with efficiency, visibility and control through cloud computing and IT automation, allowing them to make informed decisions about how they manage business growth. We have recently acquired several companies to help us put together the right technologies to achieve this – most recently, we acquired NTRglobal. That announcement was featured here a few weeks ago, and we fully expect NTRglobal’s cloud functionality to be an important building block that helps our customers better manage their business.
To truly harness the power of the cloud, companies should seek a solution that encompasses a series of essential “cloud building blocks” that address all service and management layers of an enterprise cloud environment: access management, service management, service optimization, resource management and the infrastructure layer. This post will be the first in a series to address these important building blocks. Let’s start with access and service management layers.
Access Management: Cloud Workspaces
The easiest, fastest and most flexible way to provide access to applications, data and services is by combining the latest virtualization, server-based and web technologies in a cloud workspace. Cloud workspaces are browser-based and can be pre-configured or modified by the user with a wide selection of web-parts for best usability and productivity.
Cloud workspaces support the business in several ways:
- Increased productivity and enhanced user satisfaction by allowing access to applications and data from any device
- Solid security through integrated challenge-response authentication and precise access control
- Support for almost any application delivery technology and elimination of vendor log-in
- Access to a service catalog with self-service
- Offline capability for best business continuity and increased productivity
- Support for seamless, single sign-on (SSO) to third-party public cloud offerings
- Modular and customizable per user for individual look and feel
Cloud workspaces provide convenient user access to applications, content and services via easy-to-use and customizable user interfaces. Regardless of the device or location, users are king: they get what they need from the cloud. Efficient, flexible and secure.
Service Catalog: Aligning Business and Controlling Costs
A service catalog is the central communication and visualization core where the business and IT operations merge by providing an overview of all available and supported applications, IT services and assets to the business, and ensures that users and management are aware of related costs. Catalogs optimize the user experience while supporting the cost control with Amazon-like service descriptions, sophisticated order processes and user satisfaction polls service.
Service catalogs offer numerous benefits:
- Centralized tool to define and show service definitions
- Order and contract management for all technical and business processes
- Role-based user access via cloud workspace
- Intuitive, Amazon-like self-services
- Sophisticated approval workflows to ensure self-service governance
- ITIL-based management focus to cloud processes
- Comprehensive reporting and accounting options (e.g. for charge-back)
- User satisfaction polls to ensure and optimize the service quality
As powerful cloud building blocks, cloud workspaces and service catalogs optimize IT service delivery, improve end user satisfaction, increase efficiency and productivity, and reduce operational costs. Your management team and your customers are happy. Who doesn’t want to be king of that cloud?
Natalie Hahn O’Flaherty is senior VP of marketing of ASG, which develops enterprise IT software solutions engineered to reduce cost, mitigate risk and improve service delivery throughout the IT lifecycle. Guest blogs such as this one are part of Talkin' Cloud's annual platinum sponsorship.