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Cloud Computing and Business Intelligence

One of the major constraints of business intelligence deployment is performance management of the existing enterprise infrastructure. For many companies, enterprise infrastructure has been designed and built around transactional systems and communication requirements. However, today these two driving technologies have been superceded in focus by the need for business intelligence.

Business intelligence is not only about supply chain logistics and sales and marketing analytics. It helps redefine the way the business operates, its processes, the decision making processes and the organizational performance management.

However, the infrastructure needed to suppport execution of high volumes of small file sizes typical of communications and transactional systems does not meet the needs of the large performance demands for analytical business intelligence systems.

Whilst this is easy to recognize, it is not quite so easy for enterprises to upgrade thier enterprise systems is a way that does not disrupt current capabilities. That is, until cloud computing entered the scene. Whilst all the issues around cloud computing have yet to be resolved, most are getting very close. A major step forward in that resolution process occured when virtualization leader VMWARE launched their recent virtual OS - VSphere.

vSphere 4, virtualization has almost been demoted from being the latest word on everyones lips, to being a small part of something much bigger – and something much more exciting. vSphere provides the missing link in cloud computing infrastructure and provides new hopes for IT managers for a realistic option to support BI Applications.

One of the biggest challenges in upgrading enterprise systems is the budget, and during economic downtimes, enterprise systems fail to make the cut list - but BI still remains in the top 3. So how does an IT manager resolve this dilemma?

Today, 75% of IT budgets are spent on keeping the lights on. This is severely restricting allocation for business building technologies such as business intelligence. However, cloud computing can and will change that. The strategies and concepts around cloud computing and BI are challenging IT managers to rethink and restructure the role of IT in business. Cloud computing provides the opportunity to move computing requirements off the Capex budget and onto the Opex budget.

But the change doesn't stop at the source of processing power or budgeting. IT will typically become more engaged with the business outcomes of IT, rather than the technology itself. The role of IT managers is also changing. Changing from selecting boxes and pipes that run the business transactions and communications to selecting and negotiating IT service contracts, managing SLA’s and seeking out new technologies to boost business performance.

Cloud networks keep the lights on – and let IT managers sleep at night. Not only are cloud infrastructures intelligent in recognizing that a network is failing to meet a client SLA, they are self healing, adding additional resource or capacity on demand. No IT intervention required. This is exciting news for many businesses who are struggling with their BI programs through underperforming infrastructures, and prior to vSphere the nightmare of ungrading to meet the processing demands on BI.

More about VMWare vSphere 4


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