As an entrepreneur, I don’t get much time to reflect. ThinkOn recently celebrated its 5th year of successful operations and I took a few moments to look back at everything that has happened over that period of time. It never ceases to amaze me how much hype technology vendors generate. It seems to me that at times this hype creates a frenzy that blinds people to the realities of running a business efficiently. At times it gets so bad that new concepts barely have time to take hold before the next marketing push starts directing people in yet another direction.
Over the past 2 years, the hyper-cloud providers (we know who they are) have made a push after push to convince people that all their technology investments were part of an outdated business model that only the cloud could solve. In essence, they are suggesting you discard enterprise-grade infrastructure and the comfort of having direct control over how an application performs. Even VMware themselves appeared to waiver at times despite a market share in excess of 90%.
Hype aside, enterprises have made progress in being agile and responsive and we are now seeing a number of organizations come to the conclusion that hyper-clouds are a part of the solution, but certainly not the best or even first avenue to pursue while trying to achieve cloud-like economics.
Over the past 5 years, we’ve identified seven common themes that occur over and over again within the markets we serve spanning commercial, enterprise and public-sector customers.
Hybrid Infrastructure will dominate for the foreseeable future
Every vendor continues to promote the idea of a single source solution but the reality is that people don’t want to throw out what they have just because of the hype. Yes, there will be a number of unique, new opportunities but an organization should start from its current position and leverage what they already own before rushing off to consume something they don’t need.
Being Guided is More important than Ever
I’ve sat through a number of well-meaning seminars that spend an inordinate amount of time telling the audience everything the sponsoring organization’s technology can do. It seems to be that hyper-clouds are only weeks away from being able to empty the dishwasher. The real issue isn’t what could be done, it is what needs to get done – an outcome. Now, more than ever during this incredibly disruptive stage in IT history, technology professionals and business leaders need to be guided, not sold to.
Mobility Must be a Two-Way Conversation
If you are considering the relocation of or the construction of net-new workload outside of your existing production environments take the time to determine your escape route. What are the costs, technical limits and operational challenges that may lurk out there and only show themselves when you need to take a new direction? In my experience, one hour of analysis here could save you a month of frustration later.
Hidden / Unpredictable Charges create Friction
If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it 1,000 times – why do the hyper-clouds look so cheap compared to my internal costs. The reality distortion is in full effect as becomes clearer there is a major gap between what you have been sold vs. what your application really requires. Unfortunately, many people are too embarrassed to admit their mistakes and over time, they become beholden to their cloud vendor. Know what your costs are really going to be and if you can’t understand what you are being sold – don’t buy it.
Governance is Becoming more important Than Convenience
Why is it that an operations technician that could not purchase an LTO data cartridge can now commit their employer to thousands of dollars in monthly costs with little to no procurement oversite? Before the advent of the cloud, the constraint imposed by the information technology department may have felt stifling to some but it served as the perfect governor on spending in that only projects with impact got the funding. Take back control and don’t let vendors push their own agendas with you.
Outcomes are What Matters, “Cloud” fascinates
I would have thought that by now everyone either would be sick of the word “cloud” or could honestly say they knew everything they needed to know. Yet, I still find vendors offering “cloud” briefings like there is a miracle cure for all that ails the audience. I stopped doing any form of a general topic session over 3 years ago and now its all about the outcome. Looking for DRaaS, no problem; want to talk VDI as a service, great but focus on getting the information you need to help make a business decision get focused.
At ThinkOn we’ve helped hundreds of companies realize the significant cost advantages of hybrid cloud implementations. Leveraging their VMware investments organizations can now integrate on-premise, edge cloud resources, regional cloud infrastructure, and geographically remote infrastructure to achieve the promise of truly on-demand without retooling their operation or retraining staff.
While many organizations were pre-occupied evaluating their public cloud options, VMware was continuing to expand their product capabilities either through acquisition or innovation. Today’s VMware portfolio makes it easy to optimize your application and data infrastructure without any major migration or technology turn-over and as a service provider, I think it is important to maintain your emphasis on the applications your stakeholders and clients need to do their jobs as efficiently as possible.