Welcome to part 5 in this series on multi-cloud use maturity. A comprehensive eBook that includes the entire multi-cloud use maturity framework can be found here. Today I want to focus on an area (data center modernization) that may be a bit counter intuitive given that this is a discussion centered on multi-cloud use. Hopefully, by the end of this blog you’ll see why data center modernization should be a critical part of most organization’s efforts to mature their multi-cloud IT practices.
Yesterday and Today
While AWS was officially launched in 2006 it was not until the next decade that senior executives in many organizations began to think seriously about the public cloud as an alternative to an on-premises data center. AWS was experiencing explosive growth and both Microsoft and Google had thrown their hats into the public cloud provider ring. During the period between 2010 and 2015 it became common to predict the death of the data center.
Today, most analysts now predict that the data center will continue on for many years into the future. Dozens of surveys of IT and App Dev professionals indicate the same. While workloads in the public cloud continue to grow at double digit rates, workloads in the data center are also growing, though at a slower pace.
Too much risk to move some apps
Data centers are home to many mission critical applications that for many reasons are not great candidates for moving to the cloud. Concerns over data security, protection of intellectual property and an ever-growing number of data sovereignty and industry compliance regulations are big reasons why organizations choose to keep existing mission critical apps on-premises.
Also, if you aren’t planning to add new functionality to these apps, the resources needed to get that app to simply run on the cloud often can’t be justified by any ROI analysis. These are among the many reasons why data centers do not seem to be destined for the dust bin of history.
But that doesn’t mean that most organizations are satisfied with the state of their data centers. As organizations have come to terms with the idea that their data centers are here to stay, they have turned their attention towards strategies designed to dramatically increase their functionality.
As a result, organizations are making significant investments in their data centers to make them more cloud-like. To accomplish this organizations are investing heavily in automating the delivery of IT services. The foundation for automating the data center starts with having a modern, fully virtualized cloud stack that includes compute, storage and networking.
Once the above foundation is in place, organizations can further advance their automation agenda by having a cloud management layer that lets them build a modern IT operation. One that fully supports and integrates with their Agile and DevOps initiatives.
Turning Your Data Center into a Cloud
The list below represents a set of practices that organizations focused on increasing multi-cloud use maturity should be assessing as it relates to data center modernization.
- Automating service delivery processes to dramatically improve efficiency and responsiveness to user requests.
- Upgrading tools and practices in place that allow us to rapidly resolve any issues that could potentially impact service availability.
- Virtualizing all layers of our infrastructure stack (compute, storage, network) to support increased automation
- Providing self-service, on-demand access to data center resources
- Adopting the use of on-premises, managed service offerings (such as VMware Cloud on Dell EMC or AWS Outpost) to simplify cloud operations
If you are a Cloud First or Cloud Only type of organization, then data center modernization may not be a critical strategy for you. However, if you are like many, maybe most organizations, your data center remains a critical component in your multi-cloud strategy. For most organizations, that means it must by necessity remain a focus of investment. You will be hard pressed to a have great modernized multi-cloud operation if you have a data center that is grounded in a prior, pre-cloud age.
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