… let me add … for “traditional IT”. And before you stop reading as you expect another dogmatic downpour of “the public cloud is unequivocally great” – my background is actually “traditional IT” (having architected “Enterprise” virtualization since early 2002).
The success of Enterprise virtualization empowered IT departments – many have carved out infrastructure-services based revenue streams totally unrelated to the company’s core business
When I started to pitch public and hybrid cloud aspects, the reaction of my “audience” changed – while e.g. every new vSphere feature had been accompanied by gasps of excitement, public cloud enhancements were dismissed as marketing hype, and objections on “security” and “compliance” thrown back at me instantly.
Let me be clear, these objections are legitimate concerns. The cloud does not negate the requirement for us to act as architects, determine functional and operational requirements for our services to ultimately determine suitability of the platform (and that now includes private vs public / hybrid cloud).
What I am however increasingly worried about is the number of (larger) IT departments that see strategic “rescue from the public cloud” in creating their own “public” IaaS offerings. They not only aim to provide infrastructure internally but also to “their clients”.
I’m not just talking about the usual (legitimate) suspects, Service Providers, Integrators and Telcos – but financial institutes, rental companies, … hell, even an airline – where the IT departments had carved out infrastructure-services based revenue streams that were totally unrelated to the company’s core business.
So now IT departments (and I really don’t care how large they are) are trying to protect this revenue stream and compete against the largest public IaaS providers – with ‘economies of scale’ they are unlikely to ever reach … offering infrastructure (not even SaaS or higher value layers) … diluting focus on the core business of the organization …? Does that really make sense?
It is (more than ever) the responsibility of the core business line to validate internal IT strategy – consider a public offering to provide the commoditizing IaaS layer and focus on differentiating layers instead
We shouldn’t be surprised though, the success of virtualization I “Enterprise IT” literally empowered our IT departments over the last years … cost savings and automation often brought them to the top of the business agenda – public cloud however is (rightly or wrongly) associated with a loss of control, relevance and ultimately power, often resulting in upfront rejection of public cloud and the natural urge to provide it “yourself”.
So do we really expect the horse to tell us that the car has been invented …?
Therefore it is (more than ever) the responsibility of the core business line to validate internal IT strategies and evaluate alternatives, again, “public cloud” is not always the right answer but most organizations will (and should aim to) benefit from it.
Also (you probably already picked up on that), I am NOT referring to service providers that provide differentiating value on top of the infrastructure layer through e.g. SaaS or managed service offerings.
It is however key for these providers to stay one step ahead of the ever commoditizing IT landscape and constantly innovate to keep an (uncommoditized) “niche” at the core of their offering.
So consider this seriously … what is a better way to remain price-competitive, flexible and agile, than using a public IaaS offering to provide this commoditized layer and focus on the differentiating layer instead …?
And the very same applies to our “traditional IT” departments. Take advantage of the public cloud, embrace it as enabler (yes, where appropriate), reality is that people have and will work around you if you don’t – the stealth use of public cloud is a reality and I genuinely believe IT is fighting a losing battle if they choose to ignore it (e.g. a recent study shows that 80% of us admit to using non-approved SaaS software!).
So yes, the public can be a scary world! But ignore it at your own peril …!
And let me be clear – I am not using terms like “flexible” and “agile” as marketing buzzwords – the simplicity and speed of deployment in the public cloud can really be stunning.
When I got first access to a SoftLayer account – yes, shameless plug here ;) - I deployed a physical host pre-configured with ESX hypervisor, alongside a virtual compute instance, fully pre-configured with OS and vCenter and then decided to securely connect it instead via (provided) VPN to my existing (on-prem) vCenter environment for a test run (see pic above) … all in the space of 3 hours – no kidding!
Yes, lots of time left to focus on the important stuff … ;)
PS If you want more (technical) information on how to configure VMware in a SoftLayer environment, see the following link: Deploy VMware @ SoftLayerTweet