Technology

Democratizing the Cloud

Written by Special Contributor Jeff Davey, Software Defined Data Center Specialist at VMware Canada

 

In 2019, let’s democratize the cloud. What exactly do I mean by this? And why does it matter?

Let’s start with a look at the current state of cloud in Canada.  In my role with VMware, I speak with customers and partners everyday about their datacenter and cloud strategy.  Anecdotally, I’ve found that the average organization already uses between 3 – 6 different public cloud environments, in addition to an on-premise environment – and many industry reports support this.  This hybrid, multi–cloud approach is becoming the norm industry wide thanks to regulatory requirements, diverse use case needs and availability.  However, without a focus on consistency, it can get out of control as applications become siloed among different cloud environments – or worse, stuck.

Democratization is about taking a trusted, secure, stable on-premise model and stretching that to the cloud – any cloud.  When management starts on-premise and keeps the same principles across multiple cloud environments, it becomes easier to shift the workload or data connectivity between environments based on business priorities and outcomes. This drives agility, scale and management efficiencies. Ultimately, it’s about treating cloud as an operating model, not as a destination.

With more cloud options expected to be available in Canada in 2019, now is the time to assess your approach to optimize the benefit from these new capabilities.  Take the time to build a hybrid strategy that includes multiple clouds (including on-premise) – but isn’t driven by cloud alone.  Practice shows that just because an application can go to the public cloud doesn’t mean that it should. More often than not, the cloud will cost you more over time, but it can be more efficient, agile or uniquely qualified which opens up opportunity for innovation that can drive business results in other ways.

Are you ready to democratize your approach to cloud? Here are a few tips to get started:

  • Look at your applications first. Determine – based on business requirements and desired outcomes – what belongs in the cloud.
  • Create a standard management approach. Start on-premise and select cloud environments that allow you to stretch that same management approach to the cloud. For example, VMware Cloud on AWS creates a seamless hybrid cloud experience by extending the on-premise vSphere to the AWS cloud. Data and applications can more readily move back and forth because you’ve replicated a system that’s already working on-premise, and management is easier because policies applied on-premise are more easily rolled out to the cloud – without re-engineering.
  • Select the right cloud for the right application. And don’t be afraid to use multiple clouds. If you have a good management infrastructure in place, it doesn’t matter what cloud you’re using as it is your approach to management that will drive efficiencies.  Take our Virtual Cloud Network for example: you can drive security, analysis and insights from On Premise to AWS and Azure native workloads.
  • Start small. Move a few applications first, assessing progress and integration with other IT environments as you go.
  • Watch for ‘shadow IT’. Make sure your team understands the implications of moving data into the cloud – and don’t take matters into their own hands. While it’s easy to set up applications on the cloud, it’s not as easy to move them back.

Comments

2 comments have been added so far

  1. Great article Jeff. Of the tips you’ve outlined in the article, which do you find is the most common pitfall companies are encountering – do they rush apps to the cloud enamored with the inherit benefits without thinking “should this be there?” or do they not spend enough time in advance establishing their management protocols for their cloud environments? Also, are you finding that more mission critical applications are being driven through the cloud or are organizations (generally) still operating those on-prem?

  2. Great questions Sean. The pitfalls are mixed depending on the customer, industry or experience. For many, it’s a lack of information about applications and possible cloud models for those applications that can cause an issue – this is where application rationalization and cloud assessments come into play. When it comes to mission critical applications in the cloud, it still very much depends on an organization’s objectives. We’ll have more on how to assess this in an upcoming post – stay tuned! Always happy to discuss so please let me know if you’d like to connect to talk further.

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