Jim Ganthier is Vice President and General Manager for Dell Engineered Solutions and Cloud.
Cloud computing has become a significant topic of conversation in the technology industry and is being seen as a key delivery mechanism for enabling IT services. Today’s reality is that most organizations already are using some form of cloud because it opens up new opportunities and has become engrained in the fabric of how things are done and how business outcomes are achieved.
Cloud offers a host of service and deployment models: both on- and off-premises, across public, private, and managed clouds. We see some organizations starting with public cloud because of the perceived ease of entry and lower costs. Some organizations, such as test and development groups, use public clouds because they need to quickly stand-up infrastructure, test and run their application and take it down, and this can’t be supported by their existing IT team. Other companies, such as startups, use public clouds because they simply don’t have the resources to build, own and manage a private cloud infrastructure today. We’re also seeing a rather significant shift back towards private clouds, which are becoming much easier and quicker to deploy and still come with IT control and piece-of-mind security benefits.
That said, every organization’s cloud is a unique reflection of its business strategies, priorities and needs; and this is why there is a great variation in how companies go about implementing their own specific clouds.
The Cloud Journey
No matter where the journey begins, one of the first realizations is that there is no one particular solution or one particular answer in how to best utilize cloud solutions. The journey typically evolves over time and requires multiple clouds with a combination of both public, private and possibly managed clouds- resulting in a hybrid cloud end state.
Before deciding on a cloud approach, it is important to understand all of the possibilities that cloud technologies provide, and agree on business initiatives, priorities, and desired results required to support your business needs and intended outcomes. The decision should not focus entirely on which type of cloud to deploy – private, public, managed or hybrid – but rather focus on delivering the right cloud or clouds, at the right cost, with the right characteristics (i.e. agility, costs, compliance, security) to achieve your business objectives.
When evaluating cloud options, look for solutions that enable the following business benefits:
- Faster Innovation: Does this cloud provide new ways to deliver faster value to customers in current and new markets?
- More Agility: Does this approach provide a more flexible, modular way to meet ever-changing customer needs and scale up or down as needed, quickly and efficiently?
- Increased Return on Investment (ROI): How will this cloud generate increased value to end customers? How will it help optimize existing technologies and lower long-term total cost of ownership (TCO)?
- Range of Choice: Does this cloud enable customized workloads? How does it address compliance and security concerns?
- More Simplicity: Will this cloud simplify or complicate IT environments? How will it be managed?
Chances are that using more than one type of cloud will best enable delivery of these benefits.
Additionally, consider which platform will provide the optimal business results for a given workload. With hybrid cloud, multiple workloads could run across multiple cloud platforms. As demands on workloads ebb and flow (i.e. a major event or opportunity that causes a usage spike in your web or IT requirements), those workloads can take advantage of more than one cloud platform with options typically chosen based on the most cost effective and reliable options at any given time. Evidence of this can be seen as some workloads originally hosted in a public cloud environment are now moving back into the fold of internally-managed IT – a trend recognized as cloud repatriation.
Repatriation represents a real and outstanding value proposition in terms of efficiency, value, and how to successfully manage a cloud journey while still gaining quick results and doing what is best for the overall organization. More importantly, it points the way to where cloud, or all of IT, is going. It has shifted the debate from “public OR private cloud” to, “when and how fast” a company will reach a hybrid cloud end-state that truly reflects its needs and the best of the service and support it is employing.
Taking the discussion one step further, beyond repatriation and hybrid cloud, organizations will start looking not only at a hybrid cloud end-state, but a multi-cloud strategy. Businesses will have the ability for on-premise support and use of a public cloud provider, and they also will be able to choose to have multiple public cloud providers – the Amazons, the Azures, the Googles of the world – to help achieve their desired business outcomes.
Ultimately, there are multiple factors that go into deciding which cloud solutions or platforms will enable the best business results from a given workload. One choice does not fit all. A hybrid cloud strategy represents being able to extract the benefits from multiple cloud platforms and “rightsizing” the workloads for your organization. At the end of the day, that is what is going to impact how your infrastructure helps achieve business outcomes.
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