Cloud computing isn’t emerging, futuristic, or innovative. It’s just a building block in the CIO’s infrastructure arsenal. One piece of evidence: it’s missing from Gartner’s latest Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies. That doesn’t mean that all cloud technologies are commoditized, well-understood, or fully mature – or that cloud migration doesn’t have major pitfalls. As we move into 2017, how do you continue to get an innovative edge as an early adopter? How do you avoid being a laggard now that the hype is over? How do you make the right decisions given suppliers are phasing out, coming in, bringing new and recycled options?
The Emerging Edge: Extending Cloud to Network Edge
Cloud innovation continues apace, with new ways arising for both cost-and performance conscious enterprises. Digital infrastructure is seeing a blurring of what is a core data center and what is network edge – balancing the tradeoffs between bandwidth requirements and cloud workload demand requirements. This creates new options that fit your competing priorities such as security, pricing, performance, and flexibility – and may also just add unneeded complexity. How will your digital enterprise understand and articulate your requirements, options, and the data you need to drive cloud and compute sourcing decisions?
With the recent evolution to fog computing and cloudlets, scattered micro data centers are now becoming en vogue, and in some cases, are seamlessly tied to direct-connect capacity from the giants of the world like AWS and Azure. This brings yet another set of compelling options to the table, and has spinoff impact ranging from performance to more on-premise or close-premise managed services.. Suppliers are offering to build more flexibility across the board – from location to processing power to network freedom and overall configuration. It’s will result in longer-term demand trends, such as increasing the need for cross connects as well as cloud management platforms that provide convergence between physical, virtual and software suppliers.
All the Buzzword Boxes Checked? Cloud-Washing
Adding more confusion to the mix, these same suppliers, from AWS to smaller players, now offer bolt-on managed services as well. Slapping a “cloud” label on traditional managed services has been a tried and true way of pretending to innovate while not delivering the just-in-time capacity that brings cloud most of its value. Many of these environments turn the ethos of cloud – just in time, agile, scalable – on its head by locking you into their environments, whether contractually or technically, and make the migration costs high enough that inertia sets in. Even buying from top cloud providers isn’t always what it seems – not if you’re locked into certain technology, integrations and with multi-year commitments!
Getting Oriented Now in a Mature Market – Are we There?
Despite this complexity in our work with Fortune 500 and IT-intensive buyers of IT infrastructure, client after client has moved cloud from “on the roadmap” to “carrying significant workloads.” By 2019, IDC is predicting that cloud infrastructure spending will be 46% of total enterprise IT infrastructure costs. Wait until then and you’ll be left behind. So where does that leave your far-flung digital enterprise firm?
Data-driven leadership from corporate IT and finance is essential. IT and data are the lifeblood of digital enterprises; and management of the supporting infrastructure needs to addressed dispassionately as a critical set of business services
Know who you are today. It will be highly important to use software and data tools to objectively analyze current state capacity and utilization of compute, memory, storage and network resources – and use that to project future state
Know your vertical. Suppliers will continue to build additional solutions specific to your industry and its needed risk, compliance and regulatory constraints.
Know your suppliers and their data. Access to data on continuous and comprehensive profiles of suppliers, large and small, will allow for more efficient decision making, taking into account the multiple scenarios and criteria weights that matter to your business.
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