We have seen a rapid acceleration of digital transformation over the last 12 months, and the pandemic has acted as a catalyst to accelerate many transformation projects. The most common one was the rapid shift to support a remote or hybrid workforce to deliver services long-term.
We have also seen organisations thrive as they adapted their business model to enable them to operate and meet their customer needs throughout the various stages of restrictions.
In the early stages of these transformations, immediate decisions had to be made and services quickly provided so the organisation could operate, however these decisions need to be evaluated again as the economic environment changes.
How do we do it?
Cloud has been many organisations’ default position for a few years now, and while it’s definitely part of that digital transformation journey, organisations need to understand their true requirements or it can lead to inefficiencies, unnecessary expense and can also degrade user experiences. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, and it can be difficult to know where to start.
Before we go much further, it’s helpful to create a common baseline for context. We may all be familiar with the term cloud, but what do we actually mean when we refer to it? If we look at the different types of cloud and what they entail, it helps gain a better understanding of what might suit each organisation’s needs:
- Public cloud
Computing services offered by a third party by which scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities are delivered as-a-service using internet technologies. Use cases include off-site data storage, online office applications and software development.
- Private cloud
Infrastructure, software, and services combined to deliver the cloud experience within a private network. In this scenario, the organisation has more control over it and increased security. Located in a data centre operated by, or on the behalf of, your organisation.
- Hybrid cloud
Combines private cloud with one or more public cloud services to work together. Offers agility and flexibility, supporting a remote workforce.
- Multi cloud
Uses multiple cloud services from different providers to ensure the best service for each workload. Can be cost effective, easily scalable, and agile.
We must also consider the fact that all of these options reside within a data centre, local or remote, yet in the majority of cases, we interact with our customers, employees or citizens out in the community. That is why today organisations need to consider the end point as part of the overall mix of service delivery.
The Edge: what is it?
As the expectations and requirements of customers evolve, we need to be able to facilitate fast decision-making, so we can exceed these expectations. Recent improvements in connectivity outside the data centre now mean that we can distribute compute and data to deliver more effective outcomes.
Instead of operating from large, centralised data centres, Edge computing operates from a more distributed model, with small centres of data springing up closer to the end user to support immediate low latency insights and decision-making, therefore enhancing the customer experience. Edge will definitely play a role in many organisations’ services mix. The question for every organisation will be how and where?
It is for these reasons that our view of hybrid cloud needs to adapt to factor in the importance of the Edge requirement. At HPE we believe that hybrid cloud is a way to architect and operate IT that takes advantage of cloud capabilities, cost, performance and agility available on-premises, on public and private cloud, and at edge locations. Hybrid cloud is not simply using public cloud and private cloud for your workloads. It is cloud everywhere.
With this expanded thinking and keeping in mind that 70 per cent of workloads are currently not suitable for public cloud, it is crucial to understand your organisation’s requirements before taking your next step. Areas to consider include:
- Who are your customers? (Customers, citizens, workforce.)
- Where are your users? Your organisation doesn’t stop at your cloud edge, how do you interact with them?
- What are the workloads and applications used? It’s important that they sit where they are best placed. For example, does the workload require fast scalability for peaks in demand, something the public cloud providers excel in, whereas if you have services or workloads that need to be closer to the user or the process, then private cloud will deliver the low latency from your private data centre.
- What skills do you have today, and what skills will you need in the future?
- What organisational or cultural changes will this transformation require, to be successful?
Getting the right mix to support your organisation will ensure you have created the best foundation that will enable an agile and scalable environment that is cost effective, efficient and secure, offering a breadth of services to support the skills of your staff and deliver the requirements of your customers.
We have seen organisations jump to cloud without proper consideration and understanding of their requirement and the upstream and downstream impacts of these changes on the organisation and their customers. It is therefore very important to involve a partner who can help you understand what the correct mix looks like for your circumstances and can help drive a successful cloud strategy by providing the insights needed to achieve the most efficient, cost-effective, and beneficial cloud environment, specific to your requirements. HPE has a vast breadth of knowledge and experience in advising organisations on creating the right mix of cloud, appropriate for their business objectives.
We understand that cloud is a continuous journey, rather than a destination. Contact Davin Cody for more information, or if you’re interested in getting assistance with your cloud journey.
Chief Technology Officer