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8 Tips to Future-Proof Your Cloud Computing Deployment

Posted December 13, 2017 By  Cynthia Harvey
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    8 Tips to Future-Proof Your Cloud Computing Deployment
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    8 Tips to Future-Proof Your Cloud Computing Deployment

    Here is some advice on how to prepare for the future of cloud, with an eye toward multi-cloud and next gen tools.
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    Prove the Value of Cloud with Small Successes.
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    Prove the Value of Cloud with Small Successes.

    Many enterprises want to view their cloud migration and enablement as one huge mega project. This approach isn’t the most effective.

    When it comes to cloud computing, it’s much better to win small battles. Small wins provide proof points for the stakeholder that cloud provides critical ROI. They generate strategic and tactical value and thus should receive more investment. We’re talking about 4-20 systems migrated, or two or three net-new cloud computing applications built.

    The truth of the matter is that cloud computing is highly politicized within enterprises. The transition to the cloud can be a bit scary for those who have survived by keeping their head down and out of the political firing zone.

    However, there are people in IT who are truly dedicated to delivering value to the business, and they need to focus on the ability to adjust IT at the “speed of need.” And they have a new and highly effective tool: Cloud computing.

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    Remind the Stakeholders that Agility is the Ultimate Value.
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    Remind the Stakeholders that Agility is the Ultimate Value.

    Remember when it took months to get hardware and software provisioned? If that time was last week, you have an agility and time-to-market problem.

    While cloud computing won’t solve all agility issues, its core benefit is the ability to get resources, such as compute and storage systems, provisioned rapidly as needed. This on-demand access to the instant configuration of resources is really more of a selling point than pay-per-use.

    In fact, leveraging a public cloud may be more expensive, in some instances, than leveraging traditional hardware and software. But it’s still of greater value when you consider the agility and time-to-market benefits.

    This means that cloud computing is generally strategic, and not just tactical technology. It needs to be understood in this light, and this value defined for stakeholders to justify funding.

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    Watch Out for Vendor Lock In
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    Watch Out for Vendor Lock In

    In the public cloud space, a few leading vendors dominate the landscape. For enterprises, the relatively small number of potential vendors raises the specter of lock-in. Forrester analyst Dave Bartoletti advised: "Cloud is consolidating, so start planning now to mitigate lock-in risk."

    Planning might mean using multiple cloud vendors and/or investigating technologies that enable greater cloud portability. However, some experts believe that the vendors themselves may help solve this problem for enterprises.

    Dimitri Stiliadis, CEO of Aporeto, told eWeek that in the coming year, "To differentiate themselves against AWS and attract more business, both Azure and GCP will make efforts to create workload portability. For self-serving reasons, these players will offer products and services that will make it easier to port workloads onto and off of their cloud services."

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    Deploy Kubernetes for Container Orchestration
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    Deploy Kubernetes for Container Orchestration

    As enterprises have embraced DevOps approaches as a way to speed development and improve agility, many have begun deploying containers. "The rapid adoption of container technology in the PaaS segment has given developers additional tools to accelerate application development and deployment that is important in the enterprise digital transformation journey," stated Larry Carvalho, research manager for PaaS at IDC.

    For most organizations, deploying containers means using Docker and, increasingly, Kubernetes. The leading public cloud vendors now all offer Kubernetes-based services, and this cloud orchestration solution is quickly becoming the norm.

    Given that reality, Forrester’s Bartoletti advised, "Kubernetes has won the war for container orchestration dominance and should be at the heart of your microservices plans."

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    Work Towards a True Hybrid (Multi) Cloud
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    Work Towards a True Hybrid (Multi) Cloud

    To some extent, nearly every large enterprise has a hybrid cloud, because most have both public and private cloud deployments. Yet true interoperability between those cloud environments has been sometimes been more theoretical than real.

    But that could change this year as vendors introduce more products and services aimed at enabling true hybrid, or “multi” clouds. The point is for business to position themselves to assemble the best cloud platform from many sources.

    Deepak Mohan, research director for IaaS at IDC, has stated, "Recent introductions into the market, like Azure Stack and VMware Cloud on AWS, enable easier hybrid IT models and reduce the barrier to cloud adoption for enterprises. Cumulatively, these are paving the way for the next wave of enterprise application deployments on public cloud IaaS."

    And Stiliadis told eWeek, "Although hybrid clouds have been talked about for a very long time, they will become a 'thing' in 2018. As consolidations and partnerships accelerate, and as workload portability becomes an imperative for Azure and GCP, we will witness many new services where customers will run their own private clouds and seamlessly connect with Azure or GCP for additional capacity on demand."

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    Investigate Cloud Security Services
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    Investigate Cloud Security Services

    Those hybrid cloud environments also bring some significant challenges — security is one of the biggest. And with so many high-profile companies experiencing large-scale data breaches, enterprises are more concerned than ever about protecting sensitive data.

    As a result, Forrester predicts the transition to hybrid environments will drive spending on cloud security solutions up from $1.5 billion in 2017 to $3.5 billion in 2021. Much of that spending will likely go to software as a service (SaaS) security solutions. IDC forecasts that "by 2020, more than 25% of enterprises will secure their IT architectures through cloud, hosted, or SaaS security services."

    Organizations that want to say ahead of the competition — and the hackers — should begin looking at these cloud security services now.

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    Experiment with Cloud AI Services
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    Experiment with Cloud AI Services

    Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are quickly becoming must-have technology for large enterprises. IDC notes, "By 2019, 40 percent of digital transformation initiatives will use AI services; by 2021, 75 percent of commercial enterprise apps will use AI, over 90 percent of consumers will interact with customer support bots, and over 50 percent of new industrial robots will leverage AI."

    Many of the AI services that enterprises will be using will be based in the public cloud. Amazon, Microsoft, IBM and Google have already begun rolling out AI and machine learning services, and adoption trends are likely to accelerate.

    "Intelligent applications based on cognitive computing, artificial intelligence, and deep learning are the next wave of technology transforming how consumers and enterprises work, learn, and play," stated David Schubmehl, an IDC research director. He added, "Cognitive/AI systems are quickly becoming a key part of IT infrastructure and all enterprises need to understand and plan for the adoption and use of these technologies in their organizations."

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    Create a Digital Transformation Strategy (If You Haven't Already)
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    Create a Digital Transformation Strategy (If You Haven't Already)

    For enterprises in nearly every industry, "digital transformation" has become a watchword. According to IDC, "By 2020, 60 percent of all enterprises will have fully articulated an organization-wide digital transformation strategy, and will be in the process of implementing that strategy as the new IT core for competing in the digital economy."

    The firm added, "By 2021, at least 50 percent of global GDP will be digitized, with growth driven by digitally-enhanced offerings, operations and relationships." But getting to this new, digitally transformed future isn't easy. It requires thoughtful strategy and planning. Yet Forrester has warned that "20 percent of CEOs will fail to act on digital transformation and put their firms at risk."

    Clearly, cloud computing must be core to this digital transformation strategy. "Cloud is no longer about cheap servers or storage — it’s now the best way to turn great ideas into amazing software, faster," Forrester’s Bartoletti explained in his blog post. "In 2018, cloud computing will accelerate enterprise transformation everywhere as it becomes a must-have business technology."

For the majority of enterprises, cloud computing will play a central role in business plans for 2018 and beyond. According to Forrester, 2018 will be the year when we will pass through the "magic threshold" where more than 50 percent of global enterprises will use at least one public cloud service.

Frank Gens, senior vice president and chief analyst at IDC, sums it up: "Public cloud adoption is accelerating in large part as enterprises recognize that the cloud has become the launchpad for virtually every new IT innovation in the last 24 months – including AI, blockchain, quantum computing and more. Organizations not on the public cloud will be increasingly isolated from the world of tech innovation." So what should organizations be doing if they want to grow and leverage their cloud deployment – to best prepare for a future where the cloud will be ubiquitous?



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