The use of the cloud is not governed by technology so much as it is governed by cost: the cost of on-premises management, support, expertise, and environment vs. the cost of cloud services and outsourced expertise, management, etc. The cost differential must be high enough in the short term to allow it to become valid in the long term. There are lots of cloud calculators out there. Since Apple, Dropbox, and others have changed clouds or moved to their own data centers, what does this tell us about the future of cloud?
Oracle has entered into an agreement to purchase Ravello Systems, which will be part of Oracle Cloud’s IaaS mission. This is an interesting purchase in many ways, one that boosts Oracle’s IaaS environment. However, Ravello Systems offers a bridge between multiple clouds, and that does not jive with Oracle’s historical approach to business. This opens up many questions, and really makes the purchase look like Oracle has bought a hybrid cloud. But is that all it bought?
After months of feedback and just in time for RSA 2016, I have finally finished the second version of my Secure Hybrid Cloud Reference Architecture. There are some differences between the previous version and V2, but nothing major, as we are talking mostly about semantic changes. However, we did expand storage, add in SaaS-based clouds, and rework all of the diagrams to account for distributed firewalls. Yet, the semantic changes are pretty robust, as they reflect the modern mindset with respect to the secure hybrid cloud. Those changes alone are worth considering.
Running a secure hybrid cloud with an on-premises 100% virtualized environment does not make one ready for web scale. Nor does using a hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). Even if the hybrid cloud is IaaS, we are still talking about something that needs to scale to billions of transactions per day. Web scale, to me, is billions of queries and transactions. That scale is not seen by many applications. Nearly every cloud service is web scale, as cloud services do hit those numbers; however, individual tenants may not be.
I recently read Steve Beaver’s thoughts on 2016 here on TVP. Naturally, Steve had plenty of great things to say, but it was what he had to say about the end of managed services that got me thinking. Does the rise of cloud services really mean that managed service providers (MSPs) are the new walking dead of IT? (My words, not Steve’s.) Personally, I don’t see that. I still think that many customers will need help to make cloud services work for their business. I suspect that there is a corollary to the Jevons paradox: as (cloud) services get easier to consume, customers will require more help to consume more of them.
There are many reasons to use cloud resources, and there are many reasons to enter the cloud, of which we have spoken about fairly regularly as part of our IT Transformation series. The real question is: “When should you use cloud services?” Or, more to the point, “When should you use new cloud services in control of IT and not the business?” That is really the crux of the discussion; business users use cloud resources all the time. The choice to use them is based on getting your job done and not IT’s decisions. We often call this “shadow IT,” but is it? Let us look at a few examples and decide—is it shadow IT (as in, should be in IT’s hands to control?), or is it part of doing business and therefore a business decision? Does the definition change as we grow a business or change the scale of the business? Continue reading IT Transformation: SME