Enterprise cloud and the business-aligned paradigm shift

Even though I’ve been working in the tech industry for many years, I’m still blown away by the pace at which the industry moves. It’s often fascinating to look back at past predictions and theories to see just how far we have come in a relatively short space of time.

During one such nostalgic moment, I thought back to a paper I wrote in 2013 introducing the concept of enterprise cloud computing and the challenges it could solve for data centers seeking agility, limitless scalability and reduced costs.

In fact, the paper was the catalyst to big developments that would offer increased flexibility, scalability and security for organizations looking to solve the rapid growth and high demand conundrum. More on that later. First, let’s take a quick step back in time.

Virtualizing the data center

By 2013 we witnessed rapid and widespread adoption of Software-Defined Data Centers (SDDC), where the entire data center infrastructure is virtualized and delivered as a service. This paradigm shift completely transformed the data center landscape, freeing organizations from using purpose-built big block systems only capable of supporting a limited set of workloads.

In 2013, I wrote: “Virtualization has long been used to better utilize computing resources and grid computing is a good example of early attempts to provide a flexible and scalable architecture. The latest development in this area is the introduction of the Software-Defined Data Center, which is attempting to define the complete automation of the delivery of services to the business.”

While SDDC was hot on automation and self-service, it really wasn’t capable of aligning the capabilities of the data center with the growing and evolving needs of the business.

This got me exploring a new way to deliver enterprise cloud to large organizations.

Cloud conundrum

Again, I wrote: “Most businesses do not generally differentiate between the commodity cloud and the enterprise cloud, instead focusing on the business initiatives of reducing costs, improving service levels and obtaining faster results, be that improved time to market for new initiatives or facilitating real time decision making, for example.” (Fortunately, mainstream thinking — and the technology to support it — has caught up to this in today’s enterprise.)

Most businesses do not generally differentiate between the commodity cloud and the enterprise cloud, instead focusing on the business initiatives of reducing costs, improving service levels and obtaining faster results.

As data centers continued to grapple with rapid growth and high demand, they focused more on reduced costs and fast results than solutions offering scalability and agility. This led many to consolidate their enterprise estate to the commodity cloud. This approach may have solved some of the problems, but also led many organizations into a veritable lion’s den of solutions not fit for purpose, time-consuming migrations and unforeseen costs.

As a result, I see many enterprises today that have only managed to deliver partially on virtualization. They have physical assets in silos that are slowing progress, and depend on hardware that offers no scope for horizontal scalability. While these organizations may have achieved some degree of transformation, it was not as good as it could have been.

Again, in 2013: “The solution for the enterprise cloud is not dissimilar to the solution that most companies have deployed for the commodity cloud, the essential difference being that it is tailored towards the needs of large scale, mission critical systems.”

Business-centric infrastructure

In the data centers of today, where changes in corporate strategies need to translate into IT decisions and priorities in real time, there needs to be a shift to a more business-centric infrastructure. Enterprise cloud provides the flexibility data centers need to adjust capacity and meet demand quickly, without risk and without fail.

In the data centers of today, where changes in corporate strategies need to translate into IT decisions and priorities in real time, there needs to be a shift to a more business-centric infrastructure.

The cloud of today offers an unlimited pool of resources driven by thousands of processing threads, terabytes of memory and 100s or 1000s of processing cores. What’s more, there are hybrid cloud solutions that offer identical technology stacks in both private and public clouds, automatically shifting workloads seamlessly and transparently to the most appropriate place.

Moving to a consumption-based enterprise cloud solution creates a Business-Defined Data Center that is able to scale instantly to cope with demand and experience the benefits of true business agility, all while reducing IT costs.


Mike Revitt was the global head of Managed Platform as a Service at DXC Technology, with an emphasis on our Oracle partnership.

 

RELATED LINKS

Change management: The single biggest killer of business transformation

How does a business benefit from hybrid cloud?

Reducing your risk in the cloud

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