Everyone wants to go to the cloud, but what is driving that desire? Innovation, yes, but before that it’s business needs or benefits that drive technology decisions (or at least they should). I don’t know of any business that isn’t always looking to improve the bottom line, maximise profit, and grow revenue streams. So is cloud the answer to all of our business technology challenges?
Technology is constantly striving to improve speed and quality while driving down costs for business, and it’s getting better at it. Outside of technology, it’s up to us, the people who make strategic decisions to leverage certain technologies to make the best or most effective use of them.
What I have just done is effectively explained the core definitions of efficiency and optimization — two key factors that help businesses recover costs, gain competitive edge, and improve the customer’s experience. One main challenge is that efficiency is very often confused with effectiveness.
This is almost always the situation with the adoption of new technologies, and cloud is certainly no exception. In fact, the number one reason for application “repatriation” (pulling out of the cloud) is unexpected costs. But wasn’t public cloud supposed to be the answer to these problems? Ultimately, any technology that is used for its intended purpose and applied appropriately with best practices should deliver the expected results.
The technology isn’t the problem, we are. Our application infrastructures have become so massively complex and distributed that organisations can no longer properly control the management and costs of these environments. So what is the solution? More technology, of course. We now have the technology to manage the other technology and the sheer volume of data that we humans will never be able to grasp. This technology, of course, is artificial intelligence. AI has made its way into the operational world of IT in the form of AIOps and FinOps. But even AI beings require data – tonnes of it. In fact, the more data you feed them, the better the outcomes in terms of identifying ways to gain efficiencies and leverage them to deliver the optimisations.
How can we achieve all the benefits of adopting technologies and infrastructures such as the cloud? Or know when not to adopt cloud, but use a service provider, or maintain your own data centre environment? How can we truly make the best or most effective use of any technology?
If we adopt these environments, who takes the responsibility if things go wrong, or costs spiral out of control? There are numerous factors to consider when adopting cloud or engaging in any IT transformation or migration activities. And there are so many people and teams involved, across multiple technology areas and deployments, it’s very hard to isolate and pinpoint the cause or multiple causes of issues.
There are three sides to every story — what you believe happened, what they believe happened, and what actually happened. Also known as “your version, their version, and the truth.”
If we humans are automatically excluded from reliable sources of truth, then where does truth come from? Evidence. These days, evidence mostly comes in the form of data, and that data is typically collected by machines, which by design cannot lie. (For more information on this, check out my blog on the zero-trust model, “The last real threat to data.”)
NetApp has been focusing on exactly these issues, not just finding ways to drive down costs while improving speed and quality, but to ensure appropriate use of application infrastructure. Instead of pulling out of the cloud because the bill was higher than the TCO of hosting in the data centre, let the AIOps find where there is waste in your cloud. Discover where a workload has not been correctly sized for a cloud, and where that workload could potentially leverage other features for continuous optimisation moving forward.
We also use this same technology to identify, isolate, and help troubleshoot issues much faster, providing a very short mean time to resolution, but also a much faster mean time to innocence.
This technology I speak of is NetApp® Cloud Insights, a powerful SaaS-based AI and machine learning solution entirely hosted and managed by NetApp. Cloud Insights provides monitoring, optimisation, troubleshooting, and security across an increasingly complex distributed hybrid multicloud landscape on an ongoing, continuous basis.
With Cloud Insights, you can assess an entire hybrid multicloud distributed applications environment and infrastructures to constantly monitor and improve throughout its dynamic lifecycle, regardless of what may change in these environments. I’m only scratching the surface of Cloud Insights capability here. This is not a NetApp only solution, but it provides insights into thousands of different infrastructure and application components on premises in various data centre technologies to all the major hyperscalers and everything in between.
Cost optimisation and infrastructure right sizing are direct outcomes from our AIOps technology, but there are also intangible cost benefits that are not always directly observed in a lower consumption bill. Although this is the first sign of success, we leverage these technologies to help your business navigate the ever-dynamic hybrid multicloud and provide continuous optimisation in both the technology and business process worlds. These technologies drive not just the efficiency and optimisation outcomes, but their true effectiveness as well.
Insight is the capacity to gain an accurate and deep understanding of someone or something. The knowledge you gain through Cloud Insights gives you the power to confidently operate in any environment you choose and to maximise the benefits available to you.
Don’t just take it from me, though. I recently spoke to one of our local channel partners who has successfully sped up the sales process and identified issues faster. They have created deeper relationships with their customers and created a whole new managed service, which typically takes around 15 minutes per customer to get started.
Check out my newsworthy minute.
Data Driven Technology Evangelist, NetApp ANZ
Techie with Table Manners
My mission is to enable data champions everywhere. I have always been very passionate about technology with a career spanning over two decades, specializing in Data and Information Management, Storage, High Availability and Disaster Recovery Solutions including Virtualization and Cloud Computing.
I have a long history with Data solutions, having gained global experience in the United Kingdom and Australia where I was involved in creating Technology and Business solutions for some of Europe and APAC’s largest and most complex IT environments.
An industry thought leader and passionate technology evangelist, frequently blogging all things Data and active in the technology community speaking at high profile events such as Gartner Symposium, IDC events, AWS summits and Microsoft Ignite to name a few. Translating business value from technology and demystifying complex concepts into easy to consume and procure solutions. A proven, highly skilled and internationally experienced sales engineer and enterprise architect having worked for leading technology vendors, I have collected experiences and developed skills over almost all Enterprise platforms, operating systems, databases and applications.