Listen to the business before heeding the call to the cloud
The advice given to every youngster by their parents when confronted with peer pressure goes something along the lines of: “If <insert name here> told you to jump off a cliff, would you do that too?”
That’s the lesson that we as adults like to think we’ve learned, but in technology circles, it’s not one that’s always heeded. A prime case in point was the clarion call a few years ago to move every IT department’s tech stack into the cloud. There was an implication that if your organisation wasn’t on board with the cloud, the results would be disastrous for the business.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the reality turned out to be different from the predictions. Instead of a wholesale shift into the cloud, many companies essentially (and sensibly) have adopted a pick-and-choose approach to the cloud, deploying some services in the XaaS model, but keeping some services and facilities in-house. In the vernacular, that’s a hybrid topology, of course.
As it turned out, not every aspect of the IT stack suited shifting off-premises, but in many more instances of technology had quite different reasons for taking their own course. IT departments are bound by contracts: of support terms, of supplier choices, of hardware choices, of software licenses. Rarely do these strictures’ rhythms (the “refresh cycle”) coincide with when business decisions are taken, and the results are often not optimum for the business, or its IT departments.
In short, some technology decisions are made, or must be made, irrespective of transformative cloud policies. The organisation may well have undertaken a significant digital transformation journey, but many of the waypoints are preset.
Why the cloud?
In specific instances, the benefits of cloud deployment outweigh the negatives. And as prices for even complex technologies that require significant resources (like hyperconvergence, for example) fall, thanks to increased competition among vendors and falling hardware costs, there are increasing numbers of positive reasons for change.
But each move of a service typically takes 12 to 18 months, or often longer — according to some surveys. That sort of timescale is pretty much essential in many cases, especially when mission-critical services or apps are involved. Sandboxing, testing, QA exercises, and integration trials all take time, and in sadly few instances, the cloud providers’ advertising hype proves 100 percent reliable.
Sometimes when the enterprise decides to upgrade or move services, it’s the detail that trips up progress: Is the current PAM system capable of running well enough in a hybrid environment? Does the security team have WAF experience? Can Active Directory be made to talk to a remote LDAP service?
It’s the business, stupid
It’s essential that companies make their IT decisions according to business imperatives, as far as is humanly (and technologically) possible. To achieve this, it pays to have an overarching, holistic approach to the technology stack. And from the inside of a busy IT department, it’s usually difficult to take the necessary step backwards and make sure every nuance, every circumstance and every consequence of a decision is properly considered.
There are many technical pitfalls to a cloud migration but seeing those in the light of larger business strategy is often best overseen by an outside body. That’s not a job for a broad-platform management consultancy. Here at Tech Wire Asia, we’d encourage you to consider one of the following three specialist companies. Each of them is, naturally enough, a technology company with extensive experience in just the sort of obstacles faced by organisations that are in, or have been in, the same position as you.
To return momentarily to the question posed at the beginning of this article, peer pressure from the wrong sources may indeed encourage the jumping off a cliff, but sage advice from wise heads should always be listened to. Each of the following has advice and experience in good supply.
Serving Australia for over 30 years, Interactive has been “at the coal face” with its many different clients and it knows well the myriad of problems many face, from driving operational efficiency, digitisation and protecting the business with cutting-edge cyber security.
What differentiates Interactive is that its solutions are not platform- or vendor-specific. That means the advice given and the paths laid out for its clients are entirely focused on business and strategic outcomes, rather than hitting sales targets with storage supplier A, or networking contractor B.
Another crucial differentiation is that Interactive has a true multi-cloud capability, so cloud migrations of any scale or scope the company’s other offerings like maintenance, security, disaster recovery and its own data centres, Interactive creates a broader holistic platform on which businesses can take significant steps forward.
Aware of issues like “stranded costs” from different contract terms, the company has the range of offerings that will keep any transformative program on track, and not bogged down in unforeseen details.
The reality of your organisation’s current topology is always Interactive’s starting point, and the direction comes from your overall aims and objectives. While its competitors have an idea of a technological “utopia”, Interactive is all about getting the most for your company as it changes — the technology’s not an afterthought, but the bigger picture is always firmly in view.
To read more about Interactive here on Tech Wire Asia, click here.
The Californian Cisco Systems needs no introduction. Proud of its heritage (and rightly) of the company that built the internet’s infrastructure, it is transitioning from a gold-standard hardware provider to a more business-focused technology company that supplies a broad range of services, both in terms of tech services (cloud-provision on an as-a-service basis), but also as a technology partner with advice, consultation and encouragement to enterprises.
Like the Hyperflex hyperconvergence technology that the company promotes, its cloud management solutions are multi-dimensional, covering analytics, networking, security, and management, from centralised hubs of monitoring and control.
Many companies end up using these services from Cisco — or a subset of them — via the company’s network of resellers. This type of setup suits many, but thanks to Cisco’s overall course change to one of service provider, it is now possible to go to the “horse’s mouth”.
Additionally, although usually associated with very large enterprises, the Cisco cloud service menu is available (and often optimised) for smaller concerns, right down to startups with just a few members of staff. You can read more about Cisco’s offerings on our sister site, TechHQ, here and here.
As software abstraction continues to run many of the online services businesses and individuals rely on every day, VMware is uniquely positioned to advise its customers on overall strategy: after all, the company’s technology underpins much of the cloud’s infrastructure.
Based on the vSphere and vRealize Suite, the VMware vCloud Suite means companies can more simply transition to the cloud, seamlessly using software-defined networking, compute, and storage. That’s crucial for providing the sort of infrastructure that can react and scale at speed, whether that’s for peak burst management, or simply to help sketch out a road map as the enterprise grows in size and scope.
There are cloud orchestration tools for software development teams, right up to large DevOps scale, and a host of monitoring metering to ensure that the right resources are allocated to where they’re needed. Like all good infrastructure tools based on abstraction layers, this type of allocation facility is either rules-based (and therefore automatable), or, new facilities and services can be spun up manually.
*Some of the companies featured are commercial partners of Tech Wire Asia