Recently Rackspace published a post addressing some common cloud computing myths. One of the more interesting items on that myth list was cloud integration with existing systems.
This is a particularly interesting myth because there is perhaps no central truth relative to the ease or difficulty of integrating existing applications with the cloud. Some service-oriented apps are simple to sync with cloud, while others are more difficult (legacy apps, for instance).
Integration with cloud is not simply a technical issue, however. In order for a cloud initiative to be successful, integration has to occur on the business level as well. Increasingly, operations and internal infrastructure will shift into the cloud for all the known benefits of cost, scalability, and elasticity. But the processes that govern an IT staff at an organizational level similarly have to change to integrate correctly, especially around expectations regarding downtime and performance.
This apparent dichotomy of relaxing expectations and achieving results is completely foreign to the average IT organization. The average IT shop controls all the variables related to every aspect of its infrastructure —from cost of equipment, to elasticity of the environment, to performance, all the way to downtime. Cloud alleviates some of that control. Whether that change plays positively or negatively depends on the organization, but at any rate, it presents an opportunity for integration to become something other than an onerous task.
IT organizations have to realize that if they pick a very good cloud partner, the relationship they initiate necessitates give and take from both parties. The relationship must be symbiotic in nature, as a function of reaching the shared goals of performance, uptime, and cost. IT must also realize that by working with a cloud vendor, it can access a new level of technical expertise to help determine the best process to integrate new or existing systems and apps.
In the end, integration with the cloud has as much to do with effectively integrating with the cloud provider as an external business unit to your company as it does with the particulars of the technologies being synced.
By Jake Gardner