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The evolved cloud polyglot

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Chris Gondek
Chris “Gonzo” Gondek

If this is the first time that you’re grappling with the term polyglot, then I highly recommend that you start with my original cloud polyglot blog post. That post then evolved into the hybrid multicloud polyglot blog post a year later.

You might be thinking, “What is evolved cloud? And why is this guy talking about an evolved cloud polyglot?” I will explain the second part in this post. And for a great explanation of evolved cloud versus multicloud versus hybrid cloud versus mega cloud versus hyper cloud, check out the NetApp webpage What is evolved cloud?

Evolution in technology helps users evolve too

Now that we have those things out of the way, I can get into it. It’s 2023, and I have finished my third year at NetApp while NetApp turned 30! I’ve said it before: You don’t get to be around in this industry for that long without continual innovation. But constant invention is difficult when you have literally created a market from your already innovative technology. So your only choice then is to continually improve, or evolve.

Technology has had some major evolutions and revolutions over the years (and, yes, it’s me, Gonzo, writing this right now and not ChatGPT or Bard). And they’re bringing more and more capabilities to our fingertips faster, but our human brains aren’t evolving as fast. Which means that if we want to try to grasp this broader set of offerings, we need to either focus and specialize or find tools to help us manage broader, and even multiple, ecosystems. Achieving the latter isn’t easy because of the simple fact that we as humans always choose simplicity over complexity.

So, the better the tool (or technology) is at doing more things, more easily, the broader our capabilities get, which also allows us to evolve.

Think about what smartphones do now—all the capabilities that have replaced up to 30 different individual devices from just 15 to 30 years ago. More of us are trying new things and achieving more in less time than our predecessors could ever have dreamed of.

Generalists can still be experts

I know this because I have always considered myself an IT generalist, covering all the “domains” of IT and their subcategories and associated practices (such as compute, networking, security, storage, applications, and databases).

I used to hear the term jack-of-all-trades, master of none. I hated that term for so many years. I would instead try to describe myself more as a “jack-of-all-trades, master of some.” I wanted to indicate that I had at least invested more time in one or two of those categories as a specialist but could also connect them to the broader IT ecosystem. I think a lot of folks in IT think of themselves that way.

Broader responsibility and choice require more coverage

Because I still had to learn multiple disciplines and multiple different commands and UIs to do all of it, it was largely unsustainable. As infrastructure evolved to become virtualized, more technology professionals became responsible for broader ecosystems. For example, a cloud architect now covers many of the disciplines that were typically distributed among more individual specialists in the past.

I discovered that what I really had was more of a deep understanding of the elements between humans and technology. And most humans don’t directly correlate an outcome to a technology, so that’s what the technology professionals typically help with. However, I always wanted a way to deliver for the business while reducing costs and risk, which meant that I required an increasingly powerful and yet simple user experience that delivered on business outcomes. No matter where my team wanted or needed to run our workloads, we had to have freedom of choice. And choice needs coverage, both from a functionality perspective and, most important, from a user experience perspective.

Evolving the user experience for the evolved cloud

That brings me back to the evolved cloud polyglot. As you saw in my previous cloud and hybrid multicloud polyglot blog posts, I spoke mostly about the day-to-day management of multiple cloud infrastructures—and how you need a GUI with an intuitive user experience. And that user experience becomes increasingly important the more environments (and the more services within those environments) you adopt.

It was necessary for us (NetApp) to evolve the user experience to align to the evolved cloud state. As you read in What is evolved cloud? we need cloud to work for us, not the other way around. Risk, costs, and overhead plummet. Specialized skills become less necessary. And innovation and agility surge.

The evolved cloud polyglot seeks outcomes that are well above and beyond just infrastructure outcome activities and is more closely connected to the business. NetApp® Cloud Manager was the beginning of the cloud polyglot solution, and the NetApp BlueXP™ unified control plane is the next step in evolution toward my dream of a true cloud polyglot nirvana.

Introducing NetApp BlueXP, the evolved cloud polyglot user experience

Enter NetApp BlueXP, the next evolutionary phase in hybrid multicloud. BlueXP:

  • Is a unified control plane that delivers a simplified hybrid multicloud experience for storage and data services 
  • Helps you deploy, discover, manage, and optimize data and infrastructure with the simplicity of software as a service (SaaS)
  • Combines the visibility and manageability of storage instances with data services like data protection, governance and compliance, mobility, and resource monitoring and optimization
  • Enables multicloud operations through a unified control plane to eliminate fragmented and redundant toolsets, frameworks, lexicons, and competencies

What BlueXP has ultimately done is deliver more of an outcome-oriented user experience across multiple environments versus infrastructure management user experiences alone. It is the evolved user experience for the evolved cloud world that we now find ourselves in.

BlueXP has expanded the capabilities of the NetApp portfolio, increasing AI, machine learning, automation, observability, security, and governance, just to name a few. 

Just like I evolved from a cloud polyglot to a hybrid multicloud polyglot to now an evolved cloud polyglot, businesses and their technology professionals can continue to command multiple ecosystems. They can deliver more, and—an important benefit—do more with less.

The evolved cloud polyglot is a new entity, and one that we will see become increasingly important to businesses as we embrace more diverse hybrid multicloud ecosystems from more organizations within a business. And all while maintaining the expectations of what we think cloud can deliver, regardless of the cloud provider or data center that we find our workloads in. That’s right, we (NetApp) have never forgotten about the data center, in fact we keep evolving that portfolio, continuously innovating and addressing significant challenges such as sustainability.

Take the first step toward the evolved cloud polyglot

To get a taste of what BlueXP can do for you, check out my video Introducing NetApp BlueXP in 60 seconds or less. You can see for yourself what an evolved cloud polyglot user experience looks like.

Chris “Gonzo” Gondek

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.

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