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One Size Most Definitely Does Not Fit All

When you start to plan your cloud environment and you send out RFPs to various vendors, make sure you ask the right questions

Larry Ellison let it be known at the recent Oracle OpenWorld (an ironic name if I ever heard one) that he saw nothing wrong with companies using just Oracle solutions across the entire enterprise. Of course, he would think that given that he runs Oracle. But these days, more often than not, you are going to find multiple solutions from a variety of vendors, and you need a cloud solution that is going to support them all.

Once upon a time, a company was an IBM shop with IBM mainframes, software and support services. On one level, CIOs might have found this single vendor view attractive because they no longer had to deal with so many different software and hardware combinations, but, in reality, vendor lock-in proved to be a nightmare.

It's not realistic today to expect a single-stack view, no matter what Ellison might wish. When you're building a data center for a private cloud, you have to find a software solution that supports multiple software and hardware configurations.

In any given large organization you are likely to find content management systems, CRM tools, databases and ERP packages from a variety of vendors. Some departments might farm out their email to Google while others are on Exchange Servers, and each time you have a merger or acquisition, you add new tools to the pile. The dizzying variety of hardware and software that is supported across the typical organization is enough to make the most seasoned IT pro's head spin.

That's why you have to make sure your cloud management solution is flexible enough to handle a heterogeneous environment. You need something that has multiple hooks for multiple vendors. You need tools that can handle whatever you throw at it. And when you buy that new company with a completely different set of tools, you need to be able incorporate them all into your cloud.

Yes, it's great to think that you can flip a switch and integrate all of these disparate stacks into a single common platform, but all too often we waste too much time and too much money trying to make that so. Often the result is a half-executed project that leaves the infrastructure even more confusing than when it started. My suggestion? Embrace diversity.

When you start to plan your cloud environment and you send out RFPs to various vendors, make sure you ask the right questions. A big one has to be what tools, technologies and vendors does your cloud management tool support, and how flexible is it in terms of supporting a changing and developing environment?

If you aren't satisfied with the answers you get, you need to keep looking because your tools have to be able to support multiple scenarios - the ones you have now and the ones you might have in the future.

More Stories By Benjamin Grubin

Benjamin Grubin is a 15-year veteran of the technology industry with experience in security, software engineering, marketing, consulting and management. He is the Director of Product Management & Marketing for Cloud Technology Partners, overseeing products that accelerate cloud development and migration. Mr. Grubin has worked with Fortune 100 companies to modernize their infrastructure and support next-generation management and security technologies. He is also a frequent presenter at conferences, seminars and panels on topics including cloud computing, IT service management, virtualization, and IT security.

Mr. Grubin holds an MBA from Harvard Business School as well as both a Master of Science in Computer Science and Bachelor of Science in Economics and Computer Science from Tufts University. Follow Ben on Twitter at @bgrubin.

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