Its cloud theory was put to the test right off the bat, Dunlap says.
"We had the immediate need to test the process of giving SunGard our specs and systems to clone, and telling them that they'd need to turn up 25 to 50 new environments in the course of a week. And that we'd want to use that cloud computing facility for six to nine months, then we'd be done and they'd need to turn the facilities down and we'd stop paying for that infrastructure," Dunlap says.
It worked - so much so that Cycle30 now handles all such projects via SunGard's managed cloud service, he adds.
The third option for managed IaaS, Staten says, is pure-play cloud managers - companies such as Cloudscaling. "What you're buying here is 100% pure expertise in the cloud. They know how to best take advantage of the cloud and what's unique to cloud environments," he says.
The difference between a Capgemini and a Cloudscaling, for example, is that the former approaches the cloud from an enterprise perspective, so manages the cloud from an operational point of view, while the latter thinks cloud first and so has an application design viewpoint.
"As a result, a pure-play cloud provider can put things in the cloud and can do things programmatically that can help you reduce your cloud bill, improve the availability of your application and recommend changes in your application design to get better cloud economics," Staten explains.
With such a provider, for example, you could drop an application onto Amazon EC2 or other cloud and then have its consultants manage it for you. It's not a bad way to go, he adds. "They can tweak your application and its deployment, push it across multiple geographies and do a whole bunch of other things that you don't have a clue how to do and probably don't even know that you could do such things in the cloud."
Cloud IaaS services, managed or not, are becoming viable options for enterprise deployments of all sorts. They offer a nice foundational starting point in some cases, quick on and off in others and business-enabling infrastructure in others. There are caveats, of course, with the one painful lesson learned of late with the Amazon EC2 outage - have high availability and disaster recovery plans in place with your provider of choice.
Read more about cloud computing in Network World's Cloud Computing section.