CIO Priority 6:

Move to Infrastructure as a Service

One of my proudest moments as a technology leader was when, about 8 years ago, I closed down one of the server rooms at my organisation. We had shifted out from machines being tended in our London offices, to services delivered from The Cloud. That that server room was then converted into a filing space for all of the company’s lawyer’s paper was an ironic twist that I’ll do my best to gloss over.

Moving to The Cloud back then was still seen as quite a radical step. Today moving from dedicated physical data centres either on the site of an organisation, or leased from a data centre provider, into massively scaled “as a Service” Internet services is much more of an accepted wisdom.

Some of that migration happens through the shift to Software as a Service, small parts through shifts to Platforms, and the rest by moving into Infrastructure as a Service – in essence virtual versions of the servers and disk arrays that existed in the physical world.

IaaS is a stepping stone to more modern computing. It apes the environments of old, and as a result comes with many of their limitations. You have to still think in terms of servers and disks and quotas and bandwidth to a great extent. But it is the quickest route for an organisation to drop a responsibility for managing low level infrastructure in house that adds very little value to a business.

To my mind one of the key questions that should be asked of a move to IaaS is “is there a better way?”. Would the effort of moving an ERP system or CRM system to be hosted on Amazon Web Services be better used shifting to Software as a Service equivalents, for example?


I’ve recently launched Stamp London’s first physical product – a set of playing cards called CIO Priorities. You can find out more about them here, and order a set for yourself here (or simply download the PDF and print them out).


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