CW500: Andy Beale, technology director, Guardian News & Media

As cloud computing become an unavoidable topic in any discussion related to IT strategy, learning from those early adopters who have first-hand experience of moving to cloud-based IT environments becomes essential. We have all heard the theories about what the cloud promises, but moving from theory into practice is where things get complicated, and this is where hearing from IT leaders with real-world experience comes in.

In this CW500 Club video, Andy Beale talks to Computer Weekly editor in chief Bryan Glick to share his practical advice on how to move to the cloud.



Read the full transcript from this video below:

CW500: Andy Beale, technology director, Guardian News & Media

Bryan Glick: Hello. Welcome to this Computer Weekly
500 Club video. We are back at our monthly meeting
of our IT Leaders Networking Group. This month,
we are talking about the Cloud, in particular, we are
looking at some real life, practical experiences of what
people are actually doing with the Cloud now, rather
than talking about it as a rather esoteric concept.
We have got some great IT leaders with us today,
talking about their personal experiences.
Joining me now is Andy Beale, who is the Technology
Director of Guardian News and Media, an organization
that has been very much at the forefront of what the
Cloud can do. Andy, thank you very much for coming
along to CW 500 tonight, very much appreciated.

Andy Beale: Pleasure.

Bryan Glick: Tell me, what does the Cloud mean to you,
in practical terms? What experience have you had
with using the cloud?

Andy Beale: I think it means a couple things to us.
It means applications, things like Google Apps,, and things that put off people
that associate with the Cloud, in terms of
software-as-a-service. More so now, it also
means platforms and infrastructure within
cloud, as well; Amazon, Amazon Web Services,
Google's App Engine, and things like this. Now even
live business applications, so our advertising system now,
the two main parts are fully cloud-based.

Bryan Glick: We have heard for a long time now a lot
hype of what the Cloud can do. You clearly have
some personal experience of it. What, for you and
for the Guardian, have been the real benefits you
have gotten out of it?

Andy Beale: Some of the things that it promises,
scalability and flexibility, are definitely there.
In the case of Amazon Web Services, we have
definitely been able to get the flexibility, the very quick
deployment that no platforms offer. Some of the other
things are lower cost, we found actually is less true,
plus some things we are actually paying more for, but
because of the flexibility point and overall in terms of,  
I feel that we get better value from the cloud,
so that is true, as well.

In terms of applications it is often not really a cloud decision.
SalesForce, you have got a great example there,
which is that it is the market-leading application,
the business would not market any apps to support their
revenue-parts of the business and it is in the cloud,
we will have to work around that. I think there are
different use cases and it is important to know which
bits of the cloud you are talking about.

Bryan Glick: How did you find the process of moving to
the cloud from what I guess was a predominantly
in-house environment before that?

Andy Beale: I think that using something Google was
a good early case. It is a very safe product to use,
and I actually find out exactly a bit more about
what challenges are going to come up. I think
it is very different from companies using
something like Amazon. I think what we have
tried to do is educated ourselves and educate
the teams, make sure that have got on the
competes that are actually about technical
implementation, rather than just the thought
each other stuff, so actually getting some real
firsthand knowledge.

Bryan Glick: For one of the many IT leaders who perhaps
are not as far down the road as you, who is considering
how best to take that step into the cloud, what
would be the biggest piece of advice you would
give to somebody about what they should be doing?

Andy Beale: I think it is just that 'Do something.'
Make it small, make it safe, and make it all of the same,
but do something. Start in increments, the process of learning.
There is no doubt this is a truly disruptive trend, some of
the hype is certainly justified; not all of it, but some of it.
I think my biggest bit of advice would be get your teams,
do some experiments, get some stuff working,
and then experiment and then learn from there.

Bryan Glick: That is great advice, and great to be
coming from somebody who has got the practical
experience, like you do. Good luck with your future
initiatives, as well, Andy. Thank you very much for
coming along to CW 500 tonight.
Andy Beale: No problem. My pleasure.

Bryan Glick: You have heard from Andy Beale,
Technology Director of Guardian News and
Media, talking about his experiences of using the Cloud.
Hope you found that useful. I hope to see you in
another CW 500 video sometime soon. Bye.

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