Simplification is the goal that companies want from their cloud strategy — but this is not always that easy to achieve.
This means they really shouldn’t be setting out to drive a single cloud strategy, says Marcus Mudd, SAP solution architect at Fujitsu.
There are a couple of myths around cloud, he says. These include a belief that cloud is always about the money; that companies must have cloud; that simply saying there is a cloud strategy makes it true; that cloud has to be used for everything; that one strategy is needed; that it is less secure; and that it is not to be considered for mission-critical applications.
“So why do we want to move to cloud?” asks Mudd. “It’s because digital transformation is happening and we want to use our human brains for things that matter, rather than with repetitive tasks.”
In the traditional engineering design process, the steps move from ask to imagine, plan, create and improve — and this process is the one that should be used on cloud design.
Mudd points out that enterprise trends in 2017 include a move to third-party platforms, commoditised infrastructure, flash storage and a strong move to cloud platforms.
“Digital transformation is the big thing and everyone is being pushed to do it.”
Digital transformation will allow IT to focus on customer experience, service-oriented architecture, automated resource provisioning, shared processes, automated service management, transparent financial analysis and centralised management systems.
“Innovation is about taking all the tools, putting them together and coming up with something that lets you work in new way,” he says. “And that makes you more efficient.”
Among the challenges facing IT is the question of using private or public data centres. “But neither are perfect, and workloads are all different,” Mudd says.
From SAP’s perspective, its cloud solutions are aimed at the large enterprise with mission-critical applications using plenty of RAM in both physical and virtual environments.
Some of the top reasons to move to cloud include flexibility and agility; total cost of ownership; scalability and time to value; and security.
Mudd points out that flexibility and agility are completely aligned to cloud. But companies need to look for the solutions that work for their specific environments.
In terms of cost reductions relating to TCO and operational costs, the cloud might not offer this although it is possible, he points out.
Mudd explains that this will depend on the size of the organisation and the extent of business standardisation. Cloud skills are also required for cloud implementations.
Scalability talks to cloud, but Mudd cautions a cloud environment will only be as scalable as the supplier. He says organisations should identify how much scalability they really need, and check if the supplier can scale both up and down.
Speed is relevant in the software as a service environment, but not necessarily vital in an infrastructure as a service implementation. Again, this is based on standardisation and time to value can be achieved in a DevOps space.
Security always comes up in cloud conversations, Mudd points out, and companies need to examine the liability limitation and who takes the rap for a breach.
It is important to understand exactly what the cloud provider offers in the security space. The cloud environment might offer better security, but the cloud provider is also an enticing hacking target with its shared data and personal information.
“Who is ultimately responsible for your cloud security?” Mudd asks. Organisations need to establish this before they make a move.
There are many areas where organisations have to start changing their thinking around cloud, he adds.
Investment is one: although cloud is well positioned when it comes to investment, this is particularly true for large systems but not necessarily for integration. The investment case here would depend on what systems are involved.
Cloud computing offers easier patching and upgrades, but this might not always be applicable.
The bottom line, Mudd points out, is that a full data centre environment is still needed to run the cloud; it is just not all on the customer’s premises.
In addition, what organisations think they want is not always what they need and a final implementation will usually end up with some parts of the environment in the cloud and part of it in-house.
Fujitsu comes to the party by helping customers move to a SAP hybrid cloud, taking into account all the issues and challenges they will encounter.