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5 Steps Every CIO Should be Taking Toward the Cloud

By Lee Congdon, CIO, Red Hat

Lee Congdon, CIO, Red Hat

Whether or not it’s sanctioned by your IT practice, someone, somewhere in your organization is using the cloud right now. It could be Dropbox, Amazon Web Services, Salesforce.com, or any of the hundreds of other readily available cloud services. Whatever the case, they’re being used, probably heavily and regularly.

Don’t consider this an affront. Instead, view it as an opportunity to take the lead on your company’s cloud initiatives– and reap the benefits.

Clouds can help organizations achieve a number of important goals. They can help businesses become more agile and deliver applications at faster speeds. They also allow for better integration of applications and ensure that data is being reused properly. They can aid sustainability efforts by promoting greater efficiency and the use of fewer compute resources. And yes, they are able to do all of this while being highly secure.

Still, there’s a large number of organizations that continue to sit on the cloud sidelines. I’m reminded of ten years ago, when open source was still relatively misunderstood or unheard of by the masses. Back then, there was some buzz around software like Linux, but those who were talking about it were mainly doing just that–talking.

Fast forward to 2015. Open source has gone mainstream and is now seen as a standard technology in many businesses

That’s the trajectory the cloud has already begun to take, and it’s moving so fast we’re already seeing the birth of “hybrid clouds.” These solutions allow organizations to easily leverage the advantages of public and private clouds, on-premise and virtual deployments, and existing resources and capacity. If built on an open source foundation, they can flexibly link storage and network components, physical and virtual servers, and, ultimately, allow IT organizations to create and manage heterogeneous environments that are extremely adaptable.

As a CIO, it’s time for you to take the lead on preparing your organization move toward the cloud and, specifically, hybrid clouds. Here are five steps to help you get moving in the right direction:

1) Retire "technology debt"

Over the years, it’s likely that your organization has acquired what I like to refer to as “technology debt”–a collection of legacy systems, aging technologies, and multiple solutions that end up being redundant as they work to solve the same problems. Get rid of all of that. Rewrite applications, wrap them in a service-oriented architecture, or outsource them as necessary. Start fresh.