Beware: Clouds could be the new silos

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Shams Hasan, Dell EMC, Middle East, Turkey & Africa.
Shams Hasan, Dell EMC, Middle East, Turkey & Africa.

IT as a service has the potential to save companies between 18% and 26% of their IT budgets.

So says Shams Hasan, infrastructure manager, Middle East, Turkey & Africa, Dell EMC, who was speaking at the Dell EMC Africa Partner Summit 2018 in Cape Town yesterday.

"Cloud is essential to IT as a Service. It's not new, but it's surprising how rapidly the thinking around cloud itself changes," he said. "I recently revisited a client after three years, and found they've made a u-turn. Previously, they were gung-ho about getting into cloud. But, [what they didn't consider] is that cloud is not a destination, it's a business model. A lot of customers think that by 'getting' to cloud that everything will be fine and dandy."

He says this isn't an isolated incident, research shows that numerous companies are making u-turns on cloud citing that it's too difficult or expensive. "The biggest mistake they make is to focus on the destination as one aspect."

The realisation is that true cloud is actually multi-cloud and having a strategy that reflect that is key. Hasan says customers are starting to spread their workloads more widely. "Multi-cloud is fast becoming a reality."

The right workload needs the right cloud.

Shams Hasan, Dell EMC, Middle East, Turkey & Africa

Some companies are choosing to take services only from a single hyperscale provider, such as AWS, Microsoft or Google, and getting themselves locked in.

He cautions: "Clouds are the new silos."

By using application profiling, companies can determine what their requirements are for specific workloads, and match those to the appropriate cloud. They will have a number of decision-points, whether it's running workloads in their own datacentre or extending from their private cloud to the public cloud, vice versa, or building applications quickly that can scale.

No two clouds are the same

"Not every cloud offering is the same, and it's not as easy as selecting one solution. Companies need to understand the differences of their workloads and their requirements," he said.

"The right workload needs the right cloud. Whatever the requirement, the reseller partner needs to understand what the value the customer is seeking. The customer needs to determine what they're trying to solve and where they should go when faced with the multitude of offerings."

In addition to these challenges, companies are also trying to make a pivotal shift through IT transformation to build IT as a Service. Hasan advises three steps to help solve these challenges.

Shams Hasan, Dell EMC, Middle East, Turkey & Africa.
Shams Hasan, Dell EMC, Middle East, Turkey & Africa.

"The first step is to embrace a cloud-first operating model, it will mean a quicker time to revenue for new ideas, lower complexity and less risk.

"The second step is to control your destiny; don't get locked in and keep your options open, because in the future you don't know which workloads will be best suited for which cloud - and that's where application profiling is vital," he says.

The final step, Hasan concludes, is to develop and adopt an actionable strategy, which includes a multi-cloud infrastructure, application modernisation, and operational alignment with the business.

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