Cloud computing may no longer be new but as is often the case with technology advances, enabling infrastructure hasn’t caught up with concept. So that aspect of virtualisation either is, or is is still moving towards, becoming something different. It’s usually the latter-enablement struggling to keep up with present reality and not being “there” yet. Because there is an urgency about transitioning to the Cloud, this “moving towards” needs to happen quickly. Complicating things here is that Cloud computing affects virtually all aspects of IT. Most consider it to be central to future success — digital business, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), algorithmic business and bimodal IT are all Cloud-dependent. But the “how to” question still, for most, remains.
Why? Though early implementations have been successful, enabling infrastructure has remained immature. Partly, the old issues of cost and security remain. There’s also what leading analyst firm Gartner refers to as “the confusion caused by "cloudwashing" (using the term "cloud" to obfuscate and make unsubstantiated claims about cloud) — sometimes to counteract the enthusiasm and excitement.” Whatever the reason an infrastructure compromised Cloud can’t continue.
If you’re reading this, my guess is that deciding and implementing your cloud strategy is likely to be a key focus in 2018. Your aim will be to create a pathway for migrating to cloud services. If this is the case, don’t assume your traditional blueprint for evolving infrastructure is the best path to follow. Cloud is different.
While we’ll talk about Cloud migration and integration strategies in detail over a forthcoming series of blogs, here are three initial considerations when it comes to thinking about how you might exploit virtualisation:
- Your IT organization must recognise that it will have to change. In the new operational model, IT will both consume and provide services to the parent organization, in this case using cloud-enabled technology. It will be both customer and service provider. Distributed computing resources, new data models, and web-centric infrastructures mean internal and external organizations will need to imagine new ways to work and deliver new APIs for new applications.
- Bean counting isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, if it ever was so counter-intuitive as it sounds, don’t focus on the money to the exclusion of everything else. Yes, Cloud can deliver cost savings, agility, and innovation, but they are hard to quanitfy. We would suggest at least in the short term focusing on cost transparency and accountability would be a better approach while Cloud benefits become better understood.
- Cloud isn’t Data Center. That may seem obvious, but Cloud requires a different cultural mindset. It’s not just being able to implement, it’s also changing the way you think in areas like management, integration and vendor management. Legacy data center mindsets can be a barrier to progress because Cloud requirements in areas like security, risk management, governance, compliance and disaster recovery are answered in new ways.
While, in very simple terms, Cloud is here and Cloud is good (or it can be), there is still much work to be done in the area of “how”. As I noted earlier, we’ll be digging into this question in blogs we'll publish over the coming weeks.
Keith Brody is head of communications and product marketing at DigitalRoute