Cloud Adoption: Strategy vs. Reality

Vladimir Mandic

Chief Technology Officer & Distinguished Engineer Data Protection Cloud, Core Technologies Division, Dell EMC
Vladimir has been driving technical innovation and change within EMC for the past 10 years, first in the area of data protection software and, currently, in cloud technologies. Prior to that, he’s had rich industry experience as a solution integrator and in the service provider space. When not working on technology innovation, he may be difficult to locate due to his passion for world travel.

Latest posts by Vladimir Mandic (see all)

Myths About Migrating to the Cloud

Myth 1: Cloud Bursting
One of the original highly publicized use-cases for public cloud was bursting. The story made sense: as your demand for computecloud adoption-vlad increased, you would use the public cloud to increase the capacity of your private infrastructure. Like so many good stories, bursting didn’t really happen. In fact, bursting is one of the least common public cloud use cases.
Why did bursting not become more widespread? Enterprises are either keeping applications on-premises in newly designed IaaS private clouds or they are moving them to the public cloud. It’s an OR function, not an AND one. Furthermore, it almost always happens per-application. You evaluate your future application needs and decide where it makes more sense to run the application for those needs. Bursting across environments is just too complex.

Myth 2: Multi-Cloud
Most enterprises have neither a comprehensive hybrid cloud nor an end-to-end multi-cloud strategy that covers entire IT cloud comic-vladenvironments. Frequently there is a general desire for multi-cloud strategy to minimize the dependency on a single cloud provider. But that strategy turns out again to be a per-application choice rather than a centralized plan.
Organizations choose to run some applications in the private cloud and some in different public clouds. Every cloud has very different functionality, interfaces, and cost optimizations. And each time an application developer chooses an environment, it’s because that cloud was the optimal choice for that application. As a result, application mobility becomes a myth; it’s something desired, but very few are willing to settle for the smallest common denominator between different choices just to enable application mobility.
Even if customers wanted to and could move the application, it’s unlikely to happen. Moving large amounts of data between environments is challenging, inefficient, and costly. So, once the choice of a cloud provider is made, the application stays where it is, at least until the next tech refresh cycle when per-application considerations can be re-evaluated.

Cloud Adoption for Legacy Applications
While so much of the focus has been on creating new applications, enterprises are also migrating traditional workloads. So what are the stages of cloud adoption?

  • Step 1: Infrastructure as a Service. Treat the cloud like a typical infrastructure; in other words, think of servers and storage as you currently think of them. Applications are installed on top of the infrastructure. Because everything is relatively generic, the choice of a cloud provider is not too critical.
    But as applications start to move, a new way of thinking evolves; you start looking at the infrastructure as services instead of servers.
  • Step 2: Software as a Service. Some legacy applications are swapped for new ones that run as a service. In this case, you don’t care where your SaaS service runs as long as it’s reliable. The choice of a cloud provider is even less relevant; it’s about choice of the SaaS solution itself.
  • Step 3: Rewrite the Application. Some applications are redesigned to be cloud-native. In some cases, the cloud is an excuse to rewrite decades of old COBOL code that nobody understands. In other cases, features of the cloud enable an application to scale more, run faster, and deliver better services. Not all applications should be rewritten.

The Core Issue: Data. When thinking about moving the applications, what’s left is the actual data, and that is where company value truly resides. Some data moves with applications where it resides, but not all data is application structured. And that is the last challenge of cloud adoption—looking how data services can enable global, timely, and secure access to all data, whether it resides inside an application or outside of it.

The Role of IT
Just what is the role of the central IT organization, and is there a single strategy for IT? Not really.
The word “strategy” comes not from having a single plan that covers all applications, but from a comprehensive evaluation that should be done before choices are made and from having a unified set of services that ensure security, availability, and reliability of all those different environments.

Consider how IT organizations are evolving to become service brokers. For example, sometimes:

  • It makes sense to build a private cloud based on new converged (or hyper-converged) infrastructure.
  • It may go with the software-defined data center (SDDC), but that is more the case of when they have to deal with unknown external consumers instead of explicit requirements
  • IT organizations will broker services from public cloud providers such as AWS, Azure, GCE, or VirtuStreamThe alternative is so-called “shadow IT” where each application team attempts to manage their own applications without understanding the global impacts of their choices. In such scenarios, security is typically first to go and data protection follows closely.

I’ve written before how with move to public cloud, the responsibility of infrastructure availability shifts to the cloud provider. But that does not negate the need for a comprehensive data protection strategy.

You still need to protect your data on-premises or in the cloud from external threats such as ransomware or internally caused data corruption events (as the application is frequently the cause of corruption, not just infrastructure failures), or from the common (and sometimes embarrassing) “threat” of “I deleted the wrong data and I need it back.”

Companies weigh the costs and benefits of any investment. There are places where different types of infrastructure deliver the right answer. For IT to remain relevant, it needs to support different types of environments. IT’s future is in delivering better on-premises services, becoming a service broker, and ensuring that data is securely stored and protected.

Conclusion
The cloud is real and it is part of every IT team’s life. IT can be instrumental in the successful adoption of the cloud, as long as they approach it with calmness and reason—and an open mind. The goal isn’t to design the world’s greatest hybrid cloud architecture. It’s about choice and designing for application services instead of looking at servers and storage separately from the applications. There will be well-designed private clouds and public clouds that are better fits for specific applications. But the applications will dictate what works best for them; they will not accept a least-common denominator hybrid cloud.
In the end, hybrid cloud is not a goal in itself; it is a result of a well-executed strategy for applications and data.

Data Sovereignty in the Cloud

Mat Hamlin

Director of Products for Spanning by Dell EMC
Mat is the Director of Products for Spanning by Dell EMC. He is responsible for the overall direction and strategy for Spanning's suite of SaaS backup and recovery solutions. His career in technology spans five startups and two large organizations, all in Austin, TX. Mat started out in product support and training, then engineering leadership and for the past nine years has been focused on product management and product marketing. Prior to joining Spanning, Mat served as Sr. Product Manager for SailPoint Technologies and Sun Microsystems, contributing to their market-leading enterprise identity management solutions.

The requirement to comply with data protection and privacy laws, like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDRP) and Australia’s privacy laws, drive the need to evaluate where enterprise organizations are storing their data in cloud data centers. If your organization hosts your own data centers, this can be challenging if you are multinational, but it can be just as difficult when you rely on SaaS providers to manage your data since the control of your data destination is a bit out of your hands.

dp-compliance

If you’re using a SaaS application, such as Office 365 or Salesforce, and are backing up your data with a third-party backup provider, there are many factors to consider as you evaluate your data protection strategy. Understanding the regulations and requirements first and then considering how the providers handle your data are both important.

What privacy laws apply to my organization?
As you build a cloud and data protection strategy, start by evaluating the privacy laws that apply to your data and corporate policies, and compare that against your SaaS provider’s offering, including the primary data storage location and their replication strategy.

My strong suggestion is that you work directly with your audit, compliance and legal teams to ensure you fully understand the regulations that could be applied to you directly or indirectly through business relationships with organizations in other regions.

Generally, global privacy and data protection laws provide strong frameworks and mechanisms to transfer personal data to other countries and economic regions if required, but the regulations are typically strict and the penalties can be costly. As a result, many organizations decide to enforce data governance policies that ensure data remains within defined boundaries. (more…)

Let the Transformation Begin

Jamie Doherty

Social Media Engagement Manager, Dell EMC
Jamie brings over 20 years of experience in both traditional and digital marketing and has worked for companies like Direct to Retail Advertising, The Robb Report Magazine and Monster.com. She joined EMC over three years ago to manage the Advanced Software Division’s social media strategy, and since then has taken on the challenge of managing the social media strategy for Dell EMC's Core Technologies Division. Jamie is also a Beachbody Coach helping to inspire others to live a healthier and more active lifestyle. When she is not Tweeting on behalf of EMC or working out to Beachbody, you can find her at a live music venue watching her favorite artist or planning her next theme party.

You may have heard in the news that a little merger happened  a few weeks ago between Dell and EMC.  Of course I say that kiddingly.  This was the biggest merge to take place in technological history.  A major transformation has been taking place to bring these two technology power houses together as the newly formed Dell EMC.  I, for one, could not be more excited to be a part of making history as an employee of this amazing new company.

oow-small-invite

So why am I telling you all this? I want to invite you to also be a part of history in the making by getting a first-hand -view of the transformation.  How you ask? Join us for an exclusive Dell EMC event this week in San Francisco.  A three day event starting today is being hosted at 839 Howard Street right across from Moscone Center West.  My suspicion is many of you reading this are at Oracle Open World…so why not stop by?  Here are a few reasons why you should:

  • You’ve heard a lot about Dell EMC – Find out directly from the experts what that means to you
  • Dell EMC Oracle Solutions experts will be onsite conducting 1×1 demos and answering all of your questions
  • Technical experts will be running engaging sessions that will showcase Dell EMC solutions for Oracle Applications
  • Breakfast and lunch will be served AND it will be amazing! If you joined us last year you know this is no average conference food
  • Dell EMC knows how to throw a party! This Tuesday night will be one you won’t want to miss

(more…)

Harnessing Simplicity in Midrange Storage Ain’t Easy

lightswitchChewing gum is simple. So is turning on a light. And it’s simple enough to forget where you parked. OK, maybe so, but when it comes to the sphere of technology “simple” and “simple to use” are frequently advertised terms but rarely live up to the claims. Trying to represent simplicity in technology is actually complex. There are no shortcuts to producing simplicity – especially when it comes to product design as it’s a difficult principle to do well. Edward Tuft said, “Clutter and confusion are failures of design, not attributes of information.” Many products probably start out with simplicity as a real objective but not everyone succeeds. Why? Because simplifying complexity is a commitment to avoid gimmicks, work-arounds, and confusion in the design. It’s about being able to build and express simplicity with substance. Simply put, simple is very hard to do.

There’s nothing easy about what midrange storage arrays do for small-to-medium enterprises and their applications.  There is, however, a solution with Dell EMC Unity Storage. The difference with Unity is that it seamlessly translates the complexities of storage setup, management, and support into an integrated, powerful, and balanced unified platform with superior simplicity and ease of use. Unity has introduced a new level of simplicity and affordability into a family of all-flash arrays targeted to the fastest growing segment of the storage market – small and mid-sized organizations. It was Leonardo da Vinci who said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” The sophistication of Unity’s simplicity takes away obstacles long confronted by IT generalists shortening their path to improving processes and practices, delivering IT service management, and pursuing innovation. The design principle of “Keep it Simple Stupid” (KISS) is harder to accomplish than it sounds. Well maybe for others anyway.

You can learn all about the simplicity of Unity in the full blog here.

What an Ancient City can Teach Us About Cybercrime

Jay Livens

Director, Product Marketing
My passion is technology and I think it started when I was a child and used to take apart flashlights and not remember how to put them back together. You can imagine how that turned out especially when power outages occurred. However, I persisted and charted a course through life that included stops in financial services, sales and event promotion. After receiving an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management, my path turned towards to storage and I had stints with a storage reseller, a storage startup and a couple of big storage companies. After serving in multiple roles, I settled on marketing as my future career-path; however, I am not your typical marketer. All things technology intrigue me and I like to know how things work, not just the marketing stuff, but how it really works. At Dell EMC, I run marketing for the Data Protection and Availability group in the Americas and look forward to sharing my perspectives on my division, my products and life in general.

I was fortunate to spend some time traveling in Europe this summer, and one of my favorite destinations was Rothenbur ob der Tauber (Rothenburg) which is a well preserved German walled city that dates back to 920.  It was amazing to wander the narrow passages and protective walls and imagine what life was like about 1100 years ago.  Yet as I pondered the pristine surroundings, I realized that IT still faces many of the same challenges as our ancestors.

Ancient City 1Rothenburg’s protective walls, moats and secure gates were considered state of the art or even cutting edge 1,000 years ago, and thanks to these protective measures, the city survived largely unscathed for over 700 years. It was finally captured in 1631 by Johann Tserclaes in a short lived battle with the biggest change being the inclusion of gunpowder.  Suddenly, the walls that seemed so sturdy were outdated.

In IT, we face a challenge of cybercrime.  Historically, we have relied on defensive measures such as virus scanning and intrusion detection to protect us.  However, just like the advent gunpowder eroded Rothenburg’s defenses, advanced threats have emerged that are not effectively addressed with traditional security measures.  New attack vectors like ransomware are forcing us to rethink how we store and protect information.

We can turn to the news to see some examples of these new challenges in action.  For example, according to Fortune Magazine, Sony Pictures faced a malware attack that “… erased everything stored on 3,262 of the company’s 6,797 personal computers and 837 of its 1,555 servers.”  More recently, a racing team was infected with Ransomware and their critical racing files worth millions of dollars were suddenly inaccessible.  They were fortunate to regain access once they paid the ransom.  The common thread is that new protection measures are required to combat these nefarious activities. (more…)

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