Category Archives: hybrid cloud

Harnessing Lightning: The Power of DevOps + ITOM

Did you miss our recent webinar, “Harnessing Lightning: DevOps + ITOM for Secure & Compliant Hybrid Cloud Ops?” Simon Johnson, Senior VP of Client Services and Jay Keating, Senior VP of Cloud and Managed Services explain how to embrace, not resist, DevOps, the pivotal role of IT as the control plane for workload distribution, how to transform your IT with a next-gen IT Operations Transformation Framework, and much more. 

We’re at a time that IT has become a business and the value that IT can give to the business exceeds what it’s ever been able to do before. The ability to gain a competitive advantage to technological innovation is really driving the business to demand a lot more from IT. With this, we are seeing the expansion of new approaches to delivering IT services. We are seeing hybrid clouds as a strategy around agility and time-to-market and we are seeing DevOps as another key area, bringing two traditionally disparate organizations together.

This helps to accelerate the application delivery cycle to take advantage of transition points in the market. At that time, that’s driving operational complexity into IT organizations. It teaches you how to work with agile delivery techniques, how to report in a timely manner and be the thought leader and key decision maker to enable and drive business value through IT innovation.

To download the webinar, please click here!

By Jake Cryan, Digital Marketing Specialist

Key Announcements from VMworld with Chris Ward

GreenPages’ CTO, Chris Ward, recently held a webinar detailing all of the key U.S. and European announcements made at VMworld 2016. In case you missed it, watch Chris’s short webinar recap below highlighting all the news, including VMware Cloud Foundation, Cross-Cloud Services, vSphere 6.5, and vSan 6.5. If you are interested in hearing Chris dive deeper into these key announcements, download the entire webinar here.

Or watch the video on our YouTube page.

By Chris Ward, CTO, GreenPages Technology Solutions

How Digital Transformation Is Driving the Way We Consume Applications

Right now, we’re in a stage in the IT evolution where we are seeing tectonic shifts throughout the industry as they relate to digital transformation. In this video, Simon Johnson, VP of Client Services at GreenPages, discusses how digital transformation is driving the way we consume and provision services and applications and changing the way IT provides the base infrastructure for these services. From the way we consume applications through smartphones, laptops, and tablets, to the platforms they’re built on, the digital transformation has enormous ramifications from an operational, design, and go-to market perspective.

 

Or watch the video on our YouTube page

To learn more about implementing hybrid cloud solutions, email socialmedia@greenpages.com 

By Simon Johnson, VP of Client Services, GreenPages Technology Solutions

 

NTT makes play for IaaS

NTT CommunicationsNTT Communications has announced the deployment of managed private cloud solutions to HPE and NTT customers in the US in a play for the IaaS market.

Although not hitting the headlines as regularly as competitors such as AWS, Google and Microsoft, NTT has been recognized in the IaaS market by Gartner, and does already have a strong presence in the US market. Although noted as a niche player the IaaS segment, NTT does offer two platforms to global customers; NTT Enterprise Cloud and Cloudn. Gartner has noted the NTT does little to differentiate itself from the rest of the market, though it does have a healthy ecosystem of partners to compensate.

The new proposition will enable joint customers of HPE and NTT to purchase the company’s IaaS portfolio solutions, including cloud migration services, data centre consolidation, managed infrastructure services, and disaster recovery-as-a-service. The NTT team claim it is one of HPE’s first service provider partners capable of providing managed private cloud environments using the new HPE Helion CloudSystem.

“NTT America, the U.S. subsidiary of NTT Com, provides flexible, agile and cost-effective private hybrid cloud solutions to the NTT Com and HPE customer base,” said Indranil Sengupta, Regional Vice President of Product Management at NTT America. “These solutions can be delivered at NTT Com data centres, customer premises or at third party data centres.

“The solution architecture allows customers to leverage their current investments and augment with additional services that they need to run their business efficiently. All of NTT Com’s cloud solutions focus on the five key considerations of security, compliance, migration, legacy integration and change management.”

While a niche player in the market, the move could represent a strategic win for the NTT team, who already has a healthy reputation in North America, and a growing customer base. It would also be considered a timely move as trends in the industry are leaning more towards multi-cloud propositions, where decision makers are more open to working with different cloud providers for different workloads and data sets.

Oracle and BT team up to conquer the cloud

Oracle planeOracle has announced a new partnership with BT as the company continues its efforts to redefine its offering and penetrate the cloud computing market segment, reports Telecoms.com.

Through the new partnership customers will be able to use several features of BT Cloud Connect environment to gain direct connectivity to the Oracle Cloud. The offering will provide options for connectivity from hybrid enterprise data centres to the Oracle Cloud, of which there are currently 19 spread around the world.

“Direct and reliable access to data and applications hosted in cloud environments has become critical to organisations as they embark on their digital transformation journeys,” Luis Alvarez, CEO of Global Services at BT. “We are accelerating our drive to be the world’s leading cloud services integrator and I am proud that BT is becoming the first global network services provider to offer direct access to the Oracle Cloud.”

Both companies have launched new initiatives to capitalize on the burgeoning cloud computing industry. BT’s Cloud of Clouds offering was launched last year in April as part of the company’s new technology roadmap to move customers onto a cloud platform. The Cloud of Clouds offering allows customers to integrate BT’s private, public and hybrid cloud services, as well as services from partners including AWS, Microsoft Azure, Salesforce and Cisco.

Oracle’s journey to the cloud has been a more varied experience, though the team would appear to be prioritizing the market segment for future growth. The tech giant was seemingly very sceptical over the implementation of cloud initially, as Oracle Executive Chairman Larry Ellison said in an analyst briefing in 2008, “The computer industry is the only industry which is more fashion driven than women’s fashion. I was reading W and it said that orange is the new pink. Cloud is the new SaaS.”

Since this comment the company has changed its direction, acquiring several cloud vendors to boost its position in the market. Oracle has however taken a slightly different approach from others in the industry, targeting organizations which have a vertical specific cloud offering. Opower, a company which provides customer engagement and energy efficiency cloud services to the utilities industry, was acquired for $532 million in May, and Textura, a provider of construction contracts and payment management cloud services, was bought for $663 million in April.

Although Oracle has been late to the party, the company has committed heavily to the new market. During the quarterly call earlier this month Ellison claimed Oracle is in a strong position to grow in the IaaS, having invested heavily second generation data centres. Telecoms.com readers would appear to agree with Ellison’s confidence as we asked in a flash poll whether the company could break AWS, Microsoft and Google’s dominance in the IaaS market; 64% agreed it could in time.

Oracle has committed heavily to the cloud computing market in recent years after an initial period of denial, which could be linked back to the company’s reliance on revenue driven from non-cloud products. The partnership would appear to be a move to justify the company’s position in the cloud market as Oracle lean on BT’s credibility to push its cloud offering to BT customers.

Microsoft, HPE and Cisco take top-spot for infrastructure vendors

male and female during the run of the marathon raceMicrosoft, HPE and Cisco have been named as three of the leading names in the cloud industry by Synergy Research as the firm wraps up the winners and losers for the first quarter.

While the cloud infrastructure market has been growing consistently at an average rate of 20% year-on-year, 2016 Q1 was estimated at 13%, though this was to be expected following peak sales during the latter stages of 2015. Microsoft led the way for cloud infrastructure software, whereas HPE led the private cloud hardware market segment, and Cisco led the public cloud hardware segment.

“With spend on cloud services growing by over 50% per year and spend on SaaS growing by over 30%, there is little surprise that cloud operator capex continues to drive strong growth in public cloud infrastructure,” said Jeremy Duke, Synergy Research Group’s Chief Analyst. “But on the enterprise data centre side too we continue to see a big swing towards spend on private cloud infrastructure as companies seek to benefit from more flexible and agile IT technology. The transition to cloud still has a long way to go.”

For the last eight quarters total spend on data centre infrastructure has been running at an average of $29 billion, with HPE controlling the largest share of cloud infrastructure hardware and software over the course of 2015. Cloud deployments or shipments of systems that are cloud enabled now account for well over half of the total data centre infrastructure market.

cloud leaders

Bridging the Gap: Hybrid Cloud – blurring the lines between public and private cloud capabilities

Hybrid CloudThe public cloud is often seen as something that sits outside the enterprise. But its capabilities can be brought in-house.

The benefits of cloud are now widely known; a faster time to market, streamlined processes and flexible infrastructure costs. The public cloud model also provides rapid access to business applications or shared physical infrastructure owned and operated by a third party. It is quick to provision, and the utility billing model employed in a public cloud means companies only pay for the services they use. And, with costs spread across a number of users, costs are kept under control.

This works especially well for certain business applications that support HR, Sales, Marketing and Support.  It is also ideal for training, development and testing – where there are sporadic bursts of activity.

Private cloud, on the other hand, offers a bespoke infrastructure dedicated to an individual business, either run on-premises or hosted within a data center run by the cloud provider. This provides most of the benefits of the cloud – an agile, scalable and efficient cloud infrastructure – but with greater levels of control and security for the business than is offered by the public cloud, and as a result, often has a slightly higher level of cost.

A private cloud is often perceived to offer the best option for mission critical applications, or those that demand a higher level of customisation – something that can be more difficult to achieve in a public cloud environment. It can also reduce latency issues, as services are accessed over internal networks rather than the internet.

Bearing these factors in mind, a private cloud tends to work well for large and complex applications or organisations and those with stricter obligations around data and regulation.

Historically, customers have been faced with the dilemma of which model to use – public or private.  They’ve had to make a decision, one application at a time. This is mainly because public and private have had very different setups. There has not been an ability to seamlessly pick up workloads and move them back and forth between the private and public cloud.  Each ‘burst’ or ‘cross-over’ from on-premise to on-cloud (or vice versa) requires different provisioning code, security profiles, network configurations, testing and automation tools. It’s just too difficult!

Fortunately, when considering the move to cloud, it doesn’t have to be an either/or decision anymore: hybrid cloud enables companies to utilise a mixture of both, and is giving organizations new strategic options. It is about providing the exact same infrastructure, security policies and toolsets, and, at the very last stage, choosing a deployment option – either on-premise or on-cloud.

One of the key benefits of operating a hybrid cloud is that it enables users to move applications and workloads between environments depending on demand, business needs and other variables. This mixed approach means businesses can rapidly respond to operational developments — for example using public cloud to quickly and cost-effectively develop and test new applications, before moving them back behind the firewall as they go into production.

It also means more (if not all) of a company’s applications are now ready to take advantage of the benefits of being deployed on a cloud – even if it’s the private cloud to start with.

This is now possible thanks to an evolution in the cloud computing space — the Public Cloud Machine — which uses the same software and hardware as the public cloud to bring the capabilities on-premise, meaning businesses can exploit the power of public cloud infrastructure while having the extra control that in-house data centers provide.

Essentially, it means organizations can address specific business or regulatory requirements, as well as those around data control and data location, while being able to tap into the perceived benefits of the public cloud: agility and pay-as-you go billing.

The hybrid cloud is set to become a business-as-usual expectation from companies.  Oracle is leading with the Public Cloud Machine, getting customers ahead of the curve.

By being able to blur the lines between where one cloud begins and another ends, companies can gain the ultimate flexibility of cloud, become more agile than their competitors and be in a better position to rapidly respond to changing needs and an increasingly competitive environment.

Written by Neil Sholay, Head of Oracle Digital, EMEA at ‎Oracle

Hybrid IT skillsets – Does your IT team have what it takes?

The seamstress the neck sews clothes in the StudioIT runs the world and without it the well-behaved, functional technological ecosystem would come to a screeching halt. But the agile, dynamic nature of the tech world provides businesses with many services to consume to meet the bottom-line goals, which means that IT needs to constantly keep up with the latest trends while balancing the people, process and budget equations. Cutting costs, encouraging work flexibility or improving efficiency are the objectives of an investment in technology. It’s part of IT’s responsibility to maximize the ROI of that investment.

For many, the biggest technological transformation for businesses to date has been the cloud. It’s fair to say cloud adoption is nearly ubiquitous, with just 7% of IT pros across the UK saying their organisation have not migrated any infrastructure to the cloud. However, despite its popularity, it’s become clear cloud adoption isn’t suitable for all workloads and, even if it were, 65% of organisations state that it’s unlikely that all of their infrastructure will ever be migrated to the cloud. Thus the market has developed and created a new trend – hybrid IT.

The evolution of hybrid IT

An annual IT trends report from SolarWinds, which surveyed UK IT practitioners, managers and directors, highlighted this new trend and found the vast majority of businesses have shifted away from on-premises infrastructure to hybrid IT environments.

Hybrid IT is where businesses migrate some infrastructure services to the cloud, while continuing to maintain some critical IT services onsite. Hybrid IT is benefiting businesses by reducing the cost, while increasing the agility and scalability of infrastructure, and relieving internal IT personnel of some day-to-day responsibilities.

However, it has also put the IT pros implementing hybrid IT under a lot of pressure. Now they are faced with a dual mandate: increase efficiency through cloud services while also ensuring critical systems, databases and applications are secure, lean, and agile. This is a huge challenge and many IT pros simply don’t have the skillset to cope with such a huge task that includes a constantly moving target with continuous integration and continuous delivery. It’s therefore imperative that businesses provide sufficient resources to support the IT team, and encourage IT pros to gain the skills and tools required to properly manage hybrid IT environments.

Addressing IT pros’ concerns

Despite a vital need for new skills, tools and resources, less than half of IT pros (48%) feel they have the support needed from leadership, and the organisation as a whole, to develop or improve the skills needed to better manage hybrid IT environments. Nearly three quarters (72%) also feel further disadvantaged as they are uncertain whether their IT organisation currently has adequate resources to manage a hybrid IT environment.

Kong_YangHere are a few suggestions and tips IT pros should take advantage of which could help enhance their skillset for managing a hybrid IT environment:

Think about DevOps – IT pros would benefit from leveraging the principles of DevOps when managing a hybrid IT environment. This would help to achieve faster choices, greater agility and organisational efficiency. IT pros will then be able to update and make any necessary changes to infrastructure, making IT services, whether on-premises or in the cloud, more agile, lean and scalable.

Management and monitoring toolsets – Leverage a management and monitoring toolset which can quickly surface a single point of truth across all the relevant platforms is hugely beneficial when working with both on-premises and cloud resources. This will create a more efficient process to remediation, troubleshooting and optimising, thanks to the normalisation of key performance metrics, alerts and other collected data from applications and workloads, regardless of their location or service provider.

Educate yourself – As more IT services become available from vendors, IT pros must improve upon the following: being business savvy for contract negotiation, having technical expertise to understand and use the available cloud services and project management. These will all require the ability to effectively manage project budgets, workflows and deadlines; dissect terms and conditions; and understand service-level agreements.

A syllabus for IT pros – In order to be successful in the hybrid IT world, IT pros need to have a versatile portfolio of skills. Areas which need to be focused on are: service-oriented architectures, automation, vendor management, application migration, distributed architectures, API and hybrid IT monitoring and management tools and metrics.

Monitoring as a discipline is a necessity – Monitoring as a discipline needs to be viewed as a core IT function. Once established in practice, businesses will begin to reap the rewards of streamlining infrastructure and application performance, cost and security which will all feed into a successful IT management strategy.

Kong Yang, Head Geek at SolarWinds

London’s Virtus Data Centres doubles annual revenues

VirtusLondon based Virtus Data Centres has announced it has doubled its revenues over the last twelve months, though the team haven’t released any specific numbers to substantiate the claim.

The company has recorded a healthy number of new customers throughout the period, including T-Systems which runs its private and public cloud operations from the London2 location in Hayes, as part of a five year transition project to close its private data centre in Feltham. Virtus has 40MW of capacity across its three locations, having acquired the London4 site in Slough during the latter stages of 2015 from Infinity SDC.

“Our aim is to combine cutting edge design and technology with transparent and agile commercials to offer the very best tailored solutions and service for our customers,” said Neil Cresswell, CEO at Virtus Data Centres. “This unique approach to data centre service delivery is the reason we see continued growth across all business lines with the likes of T-Systems and Symantec collocating in our leading facilities. It’s been a fantastic start to the year, and one which we seek to improve upon.”

The company, which has been in operation since 2008, offers traditional retail and wholesale colocation models, through three locations in the London area (Enfield, Hays and Slough) will a fourth set to open early next year. Virtus also boasts to have the highest total colocation MW sales of any operator in the London market throughout 2015, according to findings from CBRE, and is only one of four data centre operators in London to have been awarded Tier III design certification from the Uptime Institute. Virtus has also been expanding its credentials and capabilities in recent months, achieving supplier status with the Crown Commercial Service as part of the G-Cloud 7 initiative.

Recent expansion initiatives have been driven through investment from ST Telemedia, which was announced last year in June. As part of the agreement, ST Telemedia will make what it claims is a ‘significant investment’ into Virtus committing to a 49% via a Joint Venture with Virtus’ existing owner Brockton Capital. ST Telemedia has a healthy track record when it comes to data centre companies having launched i-STT in 2000 which was later merged into Equinix (it has now divested), as well as investments in Level 3 Communications and GDS Services.

Ixia launches CloudLens to increase network visibility across cloud environments

Closeup on eyeglasses with focused and blurred landscape view.Ixia has launched its new CloudLens offering, a platform which it claims will increase network visibility across private, public, and hybrid cloud environments for service providers, cloud providers, and enterprise customers.

The new offering will enable customers to gain insight into network traffic in both physical and virtualized environments, using the company’s virtual network taps, packet and application flow filtering. The offering claims to answer the challenge of elastic demands of cloud customers in a multi-tenant self-serve model, deploying scalable traffic monitoring system in a matter of minutes, as opposed to days.

“The CloudLens platform is a true reflection of what Ixia is well recognized for in the industry, which is combining technology innovation with solutions that address real-world network challenges,” said Dennis Cox, Chief Product Officer at Ixia. “We are committed to addressing those challenges, and will continue to innovate, leveraging our years of experience, to deliver unprecedented visibility across all cloud environments.”

CloudLens will also include a number of automation features enabling the virtual taps and analysis tools to automatically change in reaction to demand or failures, without the need for an operator. The platform currently supports OpenStack KVM, VMWare ESXi, and NSX, and is expected to be extended to Microsoft Hyper-V later in the coming months.