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Big companies often get a bad rap for being too slow to adopt emerging technologies, but electronics retailer Best Buy, which employees more than 6,000 employees in technology positions, has managed to avoid this corporate pitfall and build an enterprise infrastructure in the cloud.

Thomas Kelly, enterprise architect for cloud services at Best Buy, described how the company adopted the cloud in a session moderated by Dan Scholnick, general partner at Trinity Ventures, at the CloudBeat conference in Redwood Shores, Calif. (You can watch the livestream here.)

Today, Best Buy runs a hybrid cloud with best-of-breed applications and IT governance in place. It also leverages the entire suite of Amazon data products, and even encourages programmers to experiment with new technologies.


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“We are very strong proponents of the cloud and have had great success with it,” Kelly said.

But this wasn’t always the case. “We went to the cloud in small isolated packets for two to two-and-a-half years,” Kelly said, “We had 50 applications running on the cloud with no governance … this is where I came in.”

Kelly said that instead of being afraid of these unsanctioned applications running in the cloud, Best Buy looked at them as a new opportunity. It started to view the cloud as a utopian frontier where it could build the scalable data center of its dreams, and do so in a strategic fashion.

“Anything without governance becomes a failure potential,” Kelly said. Best Buy manages enormous amounts of data, undertakes hundreds of new IT projects each year and is responsible for continuous lifecycle management, which makes governance a must, he said.

Rogue applications were brought inside the cloud infrastructure, appropriate policies were put in place and now, Kelly said, Best Buy is able to more successfully and quickly scale up to manage the avalanche of activity it gets on days like Cyber Monday.

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