CIOs are increasingly faced with a dilemma: How can they embrace the latest technologies and still maximize their investment in legacy enterprise systems? Companies have invested a small fortune in data-center hardware and software, and virtualization and cloud computing are making legacy systems obsolete. Despite the fact that it’s clear that the future lies in the cloud, many CIOs are reluctant to surrender their on premise solutions, at least not yet. With the right resources and creative thinking, value-added resellers (VARs) can show customers how to get more from their on premise systems while laying the foundation for migration to a virtualized infrastructure that takes advantage of cloud resources.
Migration to the cloud is clearly well underway, but the majority of businesses still maintain enterprise systems on site. However, these same companies are experimenting with cloud resources. SiliconANGLE reports that over the next five years, there will be a 44 percent annual growth rate in workload on the public cloud, versus an 8.9 percent increase in on premise computing workloads. Data-center workloads are expected to grow 2.3 times by 2017, and cloud workloads will grow 3.7 times. And 82 percent of companies have already reported saving money with cloud computing.
VARs need to change their approach to enterprise installation and help customers break down their firewalls and embrace cloud computing but in a way that makes the most of legacy systems. The secret is finding the best way to share data in a way that makes both on premise and cloud services more valuable. With the right cloud strategy, VARs can help customers extend on premise systems to the cloud, make the most of existing systems, and sell new components and services in the process.
On Premise and Cloud Data Federation
There are many reasons that VARs and their data-center customers may be resisting cloud adoption. It can be less expensive to use legacy systems data storage, because everything is up and running. The company maintains absolute control over its infrastructure, and VARs are able to sell more hardware, software, and maintenance. Some companies are worried about data security and cite that as their reason for maintaining a closed infrastructure. Others just adopt the attitude that if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.
However, with the explosion in the amount of data and the resources to process those data, most networks are going to reach capacity. It will prove more expensive to add more servers and blade storage than to add cloud services. This is where identifying data federation strategies can extend the value of legacy systems using cloud resources. Here are three strategies for on premise/cloud data sharing:
1. Create a cloud data repository – Data storage is usually the reason that companies migrate services to the cloud. It’s less expensive to store data in the cloud than add on-site data storage, and the cloud is elastic, so it expands with the need. Why not take data from different data sources and create a single data repository? Now you can federate cloud and local data so that everyone in the company has access to the same hybrid data storage, whether the data are on premises or in the cloud.
There are different vendors that offer solutions for federated cloud data:
IBM InfoSphere – InfoSphere can create a foundation to integrate information from multiple sources, providing data management, data warehousing, information governance, and even big data support.
Oracle’s Data Service Integrator – Oracle’s data federation platform allows users to develop and manage integrated data systems, providing a single view of data from disparate sources. It supports read-and-write services from multiple data sources and makes it easy to create custom federated platforms without coding.
SAP’s Business Intelligence Solutions – Formerly Business Objects, SAP Business Intelligence Solutions integrates data from different resources for big data mining and related applications and features self-service data visualization, dashboards, and more.
2. Adopt a unification toolkit – Instead of creating a data smorgasbord, you can create custom connections to feed select applications. Using a toolkit, you can create specific data feeds that reconcile local and remote data sources to power target applications. If your sales team uses Salesforce, for example, you can continue to use the Web-based Salesforce interface, but data can be fed from another resource, either hosted or on premise.
There are multiple vendors providing ways to couple with other applications, such as Oracle or SQL Server. Informatica Cloud, for example, provides an Integration Platform as a Service that integrates workflow between on premise and cloud applications.
3. Develop a process-based approach – Another approach is integrating specific business processes. Internal business processes can be integrated with cloud data matching data sources and synchronizing data automatically.
Talend Data Fabric, for example, offers a set of easy-to-use tools that integrate processes. Talend combines historical and real-time data in a single view and cleanses and transforms data into recommendations. It also has a module that can compare data sources that might be federated, as well as support for Hadoop.
The cloud is the future, and the VAR’s ability to show customers how to get more out of their existing infrastructure by incorporating the cloud will be a win-win for the customer and the VAR. The ability to expand data and resources without scrapping their existing infrastructure means that CIOs can maximize their capital expenditure. At the same time, it creates new value for the VAR that can help deliver cloud services and integrate legacy systems in order to share data with the cloud.