Cloud: From adoption to transformation
Mon 14 Mar 2016
As cloud pervades and objectives shift towards digital transformation, new challenges emerge, says Ryan Eames, chief architect at Verizon Enterprise Solutions, Asia-Pacific…
The main challenge for businesses now is how best to manage and orchestrate multiple clouds from multiple vendors. Three-quarters of IT decision makers are planning multi-cloud architectures, with 53% already using 2 to 4 cloud providers. This will grow to 6 to 10 in the coming year.
As more and more users and devices connect to the network, challenges compound, such as leveraging multiple clouds to serve the different needs of different workloads, and orchestrating across multiple different cloud providers’ consoles, APIs and security profiles.
Unified application, middleware and infrastructure automation and orchestration solutions are critical to supporting rapid, cost-effective workload provisioning, migration, patching and life-cycle support. More than 60% of enterprise IT organizations will need to purchase new or updated automation and orchestration software and services to enable their plans by the end of 2017.
As IT departments attempt to manage all of this, issues with governance, security and skills gaps increasingly come to the fore. This can hold back transformation efforts, such as improving the customer experience, at a time when businesses need to adapt and respond faster than ever.
Emerging cloud strategies
While wholesale adoption continues at a rapid pace, we are now seeing two distinct mindsets emerge: those who have fully embraced a multi-cloud strategy including auto-scaling and cross workload automation, and those earlier in the adoption cycle who are looking at multiple cloud providers to suit the needs of individual workloads. Cloud is bringing real value to both groups.
The way new technology is adopted is also changing. Previously a new technology tended to be introduced in the U.S., then in Europe, then adopted in APAC. With cloud, geographic boundaries no longer exist as features are rolled out globally. Instead, the drivers of adoption are now people, corporate culture and appetite for risk, rather than physical location.
Business are also introducing new spending controls because, rather than the fixed annual hardware budgets they are used to, cloud is a virtually unlimited resource necessitating new consumption models.
Adapting to the pace of change
Cloud is moving so quickly that the pace of change can be difficult to keep up with. Several cloud providers have already fallen by the wayside. Providers need to stay focused on the services and features that customers value, and also accept that they will likely want to leverage multiple cloud providers. It’s also important to reduce complexity for the customer. Secure cloud interconnections can provide a way to enable customers to leverage many providers in a single, high performance and secure environment.
Managing multi-cloud architectures
To remain competitive, businesses need to be able to leverage the best services from a combination of cloud providers without compromising on security, control or risk of significantly increasing complexity. In today’s cloud market, companies are finding that for the majority of cloud providers, the integration of private connections to their existing networks have lengthy and costly processes. Secure cloud interconnections are also essential to enable control of your cloud ecosystem and public cloud services in a reliable, private, secure environment.
Addressing the skills gap
Cloud changes the skills that an organization needs. It reduces requirements in certain areas, such as infrastructure and building and maintaining servers, but conversely, increases needs in other areas. Increasingly, IT departments are moving away from providing services themselves to managing service providers. This catalyzes the need for more strategic thinking and diverts the focus from day-to-day operations to enabling innovation that grows the business.
To get the best out of cloud, customers should remain agnostic and avoid tailoring their applications and skills to a single vendor or deployment venue. Partnering with a provider or providers where you can leverage their consulting, management expertise and cloud knowledge will help significantly and also alleviate the pressure. Delivering applications has always been complex. Leveraging providers who understand the logical, security and networking elements together is essential. Having a long-term view on leapfrogging your legacy applications straight into SaaS can also cut out any infrastructure-related skills required.