Written by Peter Near, National Senior Director of Solution Engineering at VMware Canada
Enterprise IT has seen significant changes in the last decade as organizations have shifted towards digitally-driven business models. The new reality is defined by a mix of private on‐premises clouds, hosted private clouds and public cloud services. With so many clouds to consider, this Cloud Trends Weather Report examines what good looks like – and helps you identify when a storm is on the horizon.
Weather experts note that when forecasters see clouds that are moving both away from them and towards them at the same time, a tornado may be forming. This early warning sign of things potentially spiraling out of control also applies to cloud strategy in Canadian IT as well. When an organization is using multiple cloud services, risk increases when environments are completely independent, and risk rises to a warning level when cloud teams or environments begin working in opposition to each other.
Where multiple similar clouds are in competition, your people are required to learn the unique aspects of each individual environment – creating silos within your organization. Building such specialty skillsets is a big investment and can very quickly spiral out of control from a cost perspective.
It’s common in this situation for different teams to implement unique policies and toolsets as they use different technologies. As your organization’s Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) will tell you, such complexity can quickly give rise to security concerns.
Is there ever a case where it’s worth it for the business to introduce another cloud to the mix? Absolutely. In fact, this is increasingly common in Canadian IT. The key to success in a multi-cloud environment is ensuring full visibility of the trade-offs involved. For example, it may be worthwhile to build a strategy that balances the risk of introducing a new platform against the unique value that the cloud in question can offer to the business.
This trade-off of risk vs. value is at the heart of the challenge many organizations face: ensuring that the IT strategy the company adopts is fit-for-purpose when it comes to supporting business goals. Agility is an important part of this discussion. A company may decide to bring a new business offering to market or make an acquisition tomorrow, and the IT department needs to be empowered by a cloud strategy to facilitate the technical capabilities these changes require in real-time.
The sign that a business has adopted the right balance in their cloud strategy is when it becomes commonplace for IT to very quickly say ‘yes’ with confidence. The confidence comes from knowing that it’s not only possible to say ‘yes’ to the service or solution but to do so with the reliability and security that customers and business partners expect.
So, which Canadian organizations are the ones who are forecasting great weather ahead? It’s the organizations who have embraced the cloud as part of the future and are building a digital foundation that will take them into tomorrow with minimal turbulence. A solid digital foundation allows IT to support evolving business needs without hesitation.
That foundation includes the hiring and continual development of your people so that they have the skills to deliver across clouds. It includes identifying a primary cloud provider that your people can leverage for most of your cloud needs. This will also give your IT department the ability to bring on a secondary or tertiary cloud to meet some of those unique business needs. Finally, your digital foundation should support both the ongoing needs of your existing applications, as well as the future needs of modern applications that will drive the business forward.
The ultimate fair-weather scenario is one where multiple clouds are not in competition, but rather support a single joined-up strategy that makes the best use of resources and delivers the maximum benefit for the business.