Today, many IT departments have implemented some form of data center virtualization using technologies and products such as covered in my current textbook “Hands-on Virtual Computing”.
My textbook ends with a chapter introducing Public Cloud Computing environments, which brings us to the point many organizations find themselves in today. Over the last few years, IT departments have been exploring how public cloud-based services can help meet Digital Business Transformation goals needed for more flexible, timely, and cost-effective services. As described in our textbook, NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) defines cloud-based services as those services which can provide on-demand self-service, broad network access, elasticity, pay for what you use, and high reliability through redundancy. In this article I want to provide a quick overview of three major cloud service trends that I feel will affect Digital Business Transformation in 2019 and have impacts on our IT training curriculum.
1. 2019 will bring an Accelerated Shift of Enterprise Applications to the Public Cloud Infrastructure
According to the 2018 RightScale State of the Cloud survey (https://assets.rightscale.com/uploads/pdfs/RightScale-2018-State-of-the-Cloud-Report.pdf) , in 2018 nearly 40% of enterprise IT decision makers identified public cloud as their top priority. Business leaders want IT services that will ensure their organizations are ahead of the digital transformation curve. As an alternative to developing these services in house, IT departments are looking for cloud platforms that can provide more cost-efficient, flexible services without sacrificing enterprise requirements for performance, reliability, security, and regulatory compliance.
In addition to the RightScale survey, in 2017 ESG (Enterprise Strategy Group) _ conducted a survey of 318 IT decision makers that included enterprise (i.e., 1,000 or more employees) organizations as well as smaller mid-sized organizations. As shown in the following figure, during the 2017-2018 time frame most organizations surveyed currently used or were planning to use public cloud services. This data fits with the expanding growth of CSPs (Cloud Service Providers) such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and IBM Cloud all of which are investing heavily in ramping up IaaS support for enterprises.
The trend toward public cloud services is further validated by the popularity of new SDDC and cloud-based industry certifications from VMware, Microsoft, and CompTIA. (For more information on the new VMware and Microsoft certifications see my previous blog article – Virtual Certification Options (Sept 15, 2018)). As more organizations reach for the cloud, it is important that IT programs provide a foundation which will allow students to successfully acquire the skills they need to meet the pre-requisites of these new certifications. Our new Hands-on Virtual Computing book and MindTap products help provide the background students need to study for these certifications.
2. Multi-cloud Strategies will be on the Rise in 2019
While the large Cloud Service Providers are competing for domination in the enterprise cloud service market, a recent ESG survey shows that instead of adapting a single CSP, many organizations are moving to a multi-cloud infrastructure, taking advantage of unique CSP capabilities while preventing being locked into a specific CSP environment. As you can see in the following figure, over 50% of companies surveyed are using more than one CSP and 15% are using 4 or more CSPs.
One of the challenges organizations face with a multi-cloud environment is managing multi environments without creating internal “silos” of support. VMware has recognized the need to manage multi-cloud environments and is capitalizing on this multi-cloud trend with their new VMware Cross Cloud Architecture technology. Cross Cloud Architecture services provide a common administrative console that can be used to manage resources, applications, and operations across different CSPs. It is important to emphasis that in order to understand and work with services such as Cross-Cloud Architecture it is important that students have a firm foundation in virtualization concepts and products as presented in our Hands-on Virtual Computing text.
3. 2019 will bring a growth of “Infrastructure Up” Strategy for Public Cloud Services
There are two general strategies used by organizations when integrating public cloud services into existing data centers. One strategy is to replace on-premise data centers with a CSP solution. The strategy of replacing on-premise data center with public cloud services is referred to as a “cloud-down” strategy. Smaller data centers which have not currently implemented an on-premise SDDC will benefit the most from this “cloud-down” strategy. However, recent improvements made by CSPs cause some IT professionals to believe that “cloud-down” strategies may replace many larger on-premise SDDCs currently based on VMware’s vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V.
The second public cloud services implementation option is to use complementary cloud technologies from on-premise vendors such as VMware and Microsoft within existing SDDC environments. This is called an “Infrastructure Up” strategy.
So, which strategy will win out?
Coming into 2019, the market seems to be split between these two strategies as shown by the ESG survey in the following graph.
Many existing SDDCs have a large investment in on-premise systems, so I believe most larger organizations will want to continue using their on-premise infrastructures for some time. On-premise SDDCs also provide more local control, and that is important for many larger organizations. So, while most organizations, both large and small, will be implementing enterprise CSP services, which strategy wins out will largely depend on the investment the organization has in on-premise systems as well how on-premise software providers such as Microsoft and VMware can work with CSPs.
To help ensure organizations use an “Infrastructure up” strategy with their existing vSphere based SDDCs, VMware has recently released a new service called VMware Foundations. VMware Foundations allows an organization to migrate parts or all their on-premise SDDC to the public cloud while still taking advantage of the control and familiarity offered by VMware’s vSphere environment. In a future article I will describe and demonstrate how VMware Foundations can be used to migrate parts or all an SDDC to either AWS or IBM public cloud.
As the public cloud services mature, students will benefit from having a strong background in virtual computing concepts and products as provided by our Hands-on Virtual Computing text and MindTap products. In future articles I will continue to build on our textbook concepts by providing information on new trends, services, and products.
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