The Stack Archive Article

Clouding freely, task by task

Mon 11 Apr 2016

One thing we’ve thought a lot about at Dell is how to make the entire cloud landscape easier to grasp for our customers, so we can ensure our efforts are focused as directly as possible on the most immediate opportunities to transform how IT works. Cloud applies pretty much to everyone in technology. So if we can achieve this focus, then our customers should also be able to get better results from cloud adoption.

A first stage of that thinking several years ago was to ask: What exactly are we doing when we’re getting our arms around this so-hard-to-define movement that is cloud? For many years, many of our customers were just setting cloud aside as marketing hype on top of the “real” technology of virtualization. This was a natural enough reaction. Until we were able to precisely define cloud — given all the stories and claims for cloud running around the industry — we couldn’t credibly say that it was, itself, “real.”

We think this gives us the focus our customers need. The list of Cloud Tasks answers the question, What exactly does your organization need to do to fully adopt cloud, everywhere (whatever the time frame)?

The organization has two primary tasks that make all cloud strategies easier:

  1. Secure the cloud environment (or bring cloud platforms into the security scheme).
  2. Assess and plan cloud readiness and adoption.

And then the organization has four distinct deployment tasks:

  1. Deliver cloud, which nearly every organization today is doing with public cloud services, though, it applies equally to ensuring that private cloud services reach users.
  2. Build cloud platforms to make the organization’s own high-performance infrastructure more responsive and user-oriented.
  3. Integrate cloud services, internally and externally hosted, with existing non-cloud resources and with each other.
  4. Govern the (entire) cloud environment (or bring cloud platforms completely into the governance scheme).

They don’t all need to be done at once, of course. But being aware of all of them brings results faster, makes each deployment more effective, and enables compound effectiveness. When you enable or drive Delivery of a public cloud service, for example, you’re not going to want to Govern it in isolation for long — this is what cloud brokerage is really all about. And it’s become very clear in 2015 that no one with any IT maturity, and the high-performance workload needs that come with it, can avoid needing to Buildout cloud environments to gain cloud benefits from workloads with even modest performance requirements.

And I think it’s good to see that this is neither a really long list of tasks, nor a specific journey anyone must follow in sequence. You maintain freedom of movement, and don’t have to conform your strategy to anyone’s particular model but your own — pursuing cloud adoption on your own terms.

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