Category Archives: hybrid cloud

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.

How SMEs are benefitting from hybrid cloud architecture in the best of both worlds

Firm handshakeHybrid cloud architecture has been a while maturing, but now offers businesses unparalleled flexibility, ROI and scalability. The smaller the business, the more vital these traits are, making hybrid cloud the number one choice for SMEs in 2016.

It’s been more than two years since Gartner predicted that, by 2017, 50 per cent of enterprises would be using a hybrid of public and private cloud operations. This prediction was based on growing private cloud deployment coupled with interest in hybrid cloud, but a lack of actual uptake – back then in 2013. “Actual deployments [of hybrid cloud] are low, but aspirations are high”, said Gartner at the time.

It’s fair to say that Gartner’s prediction has been borne out, with hybrid cloud services rapidly becoming a given for a whole range of businesses, but perhaps less predictably the value of hybrid is being most felt in the SME sector, where speed, ROI and overall flexibility are most intensely valued. As enterprise data requirements continue to rocket – indeed overall business data volume is growing at a rate of more than 60 per cent annually – it’s not hard to see why this sector is burgeoning.

Data protection is no longer an option

Across the board, from major corporations through to SMEs in particular, there’s now clear recognition that data protection is no longer merely a “nice-to-have”, it’s a basic requirement for doing business. Not being able to access customer, operational or supply-chain data for even short periods can be disastrous, and every minute of downtime impacts on ROI. Critically, losing data permanently threatens to damage operational function, as well as business perception. The latter point is particularly important in terms of business relationships with suppliers and customers that may have taken years to develop, but can be undone in the course of a few hours of unexplained downtime. It’s never been easier to take business elsewhere, so the ability to keep up and running irrespective of hardware failure or an extreme weather event is essential.

Speed and cost benefits combined

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of hybrid cloud technology (a combination of on-premises and off-premises deployment models) is that SMEs are presented with enterprise class IT capabilities at a much lower cost. SMEs that outsource the management of IT services through Managed Service Providers (MSP), pay per seat, for immediate scalability, and what’s more avoid the complexity of managing the same systems in-house. This model also avoids the requirement for capital investment, allowing SMEs to avoid large upfront costs, but still enjoy the benefits – such as data protection in the example of hybrid cloud data backup.

One UK business that saved around £200,000 in lost revenue due to these benefits is Mandarin Stone, a natural stone and tile retailer. Having implemented a hybrid cloud disaster recovery system from Datto the company experienced an overheated main server just months later, but were able to switch operations to a virtualised cloud server in just hours while replacement hardware was setup, in contrast to a previous outage that took days to resolve. “Datto was invaluable,” said Alana Preece, Mandarin Stone’s Financial Director, “and the device paid for itself in that one incident. The investment [in a hybrid cloud solution] was worth it.”

The considerable upside of the hybrid model is that where immediate access to data or services is required, local storage devices can make this possible without any of the delay associated with hauling large datasets down from the cloud. SMEs in particular are affected by bandwidth concerns as well as costs. In the event of a localised hardware failure or loss of a business mobile device, for example, data can be locally restored in just seconds.

Unburden the network for better business

Many hybrid models use network downtime to backup local files to the cloud, lowering the impact on bandwidth during working hours, but also ensuring that there is an off-premises backup in place in the event of a more serious incident such as extreme weather, for example. Of course, this network management isn’t a new idea, but with a hybrid cloud setup it’s much more efficient – for example, in a cloud-only implementation the SMEs server will have an agent or multiple agents running to dedupe, compress and encrypt each backup, using the server’s resources. A local device taking on this workload leaves the main server to deal with the day-to-day business unhindered, and means that backups can be made efficiently as they’re required, then uploaded to the cloud when bandwidth is less in demand.

Of course, since Gartner’s original prediction there’s been considerable consumer uptake of cloud-based backups such as Apple’s iCloud and Google’s Drive, which has de-stigmatised the cloud and driven acceptance and expectations. SME’s have been at the forefront of this revolution, making cloud technology far more widely accepted as being reliable, cost-effective, low-hassle and scalable. The fact that Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365 are both largely cloud-based show just how the adoption barriers have fallen since 2013, which makes reassuring SME decision-makers considerably easier for MSPs.

Compliance resolved

Compliance can be particularly onerous for SMEs, especially where customer data is concerned. For example, the global demands of a standard like PCI DSS, or HIPAA (for those with North American operations) demand specific standards of care in terms of data storage, retention and recovery. Hybrid solutions can help smooth this path by providing compliant backup storage off-premises for retention, protect data from corruption and provide a ‘paper trail’ of documentation that establishes a solid data recovery process.

Good news for MSPs

Finally, hybrid cloud offers many benefits for the MSP side of the coin, delivering sustainable recurring revenues, not only via the core backup services themselves, which will tend to grow over time as data volumes increase, but also via additional services. New value-add services might include monitoring the SME’s environment for new backup needs, or periodic business continuity drills, for example, to improve the MSPs customer retention and help their business grow.

Written by Andrew Stuart, Managing Director, EMEA, Datto


About Datto

Datto is an innovative provider of comprehensive backup, recovery and business continuity solutions used by thousands of managed service providers worldwide. Datto’s 140+ PB private cloud and family of software and hardware devices provide Total Data Protection everywhere business data lives. Whether your data is on-prem in a physical or virtual server, or in the cloud via SaaS applications, only Datto offers end-to-end recoverability and single-vendor accountability. Founded in 2007 by Austin McChord, Datto is privately held and profitable, with venture backing by General Catalyst Partners. In 2015 McChord was named to the Forbes “30 under 30” ranking of top young entrepreneurs.

Virtustream enters European cloud market place

competitive swimmingWhen looking at the European cloud market ecosystem, most people would be forgiven for not looking much past the three largest holders of market share; AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google. But there are alternatives, despite them being less well known. This is the challenge facing Virtustream MD Simon Walsh.

Although as a company Virtustream has been in operation since 2009, the team consider themselves in start-up mode, taking position to pounce on the European market over the company months. The company was acquired by EMC last year, and formed the tech giant’s managed cloud services business, a position which could be seen as enviable by other cloud companies aiming to topple the top three’s firm grasp on the cloud market.

“EMC is the largest storage company in the world,” said Walsh. “And we’re aiming to leverage that position. We’re taking a rifle shot approach to building business in the European markets, but in parallel we’ve partnered with EMC because they own us, and we’ve partnered with Dell because they own EMC. With these relationships, we have access to multiple routes to market, and we plan on leveraging the recognition of companies like EMC and Dell to scale Virtustream rapidly.”

Virtustream is currently one of six EMC Federation companies (EMC2, Pivotal, RSA, VCE, VMWare and Virtustream), and will continue to be an independent brand following the introduction of Dell Technologies, and the subsequent sub-brands, in the coming months. While the brand is relatively unknown in the EMEA and APJ markets, this is not the case in North America where it has a number of certifications for federal government contracts and a number of enterprise customers.

Growth in the European market will firstly utilize the certifications Virtustream has in the US market to provide credibility for public sector organizations in Europe, and secondly, leverage customers who are already bought into the EMC and Dell portfolios.

The new EMC/Dell execs are seemingly learning lessons from Microsoft’s rise to the top of the market segment, as opposed to AWS’, becoming an end-to-end enterprise IT vendor (similar to Microsoft) as opposed to a specialist public cloud company (AWS). While AWS is widely recognised as the cloud leader worldwide, a recent study from JP Morgan will give the new EMC/Dell execs confidence.

The research highlighted 46.9% of the CIOs surveyed highlighted Microsoft as the most critical and indispensable to the future of their IT environment, whereas AWS only accounted for 13%. The all-encompassing portfolio offered by Microsoft (cloud, desktop, server and database etc.) was more appealing than AWS’ offering.

Simon Walsh

Virtustream Managing Director Simon Walsh

Virtustream can offer cloud capabilities across the board, from cloud native to traditional systems of record, and now the team have connected the cloud storage options directly to three EMC platforms in the software. The team are leaning on the idea of trust in the EMC brand, straightforwardness of upgrade and the simple integration between the offerings of all federation businesses, will offer customers a portfolio which can’t be matched in the industry.

“EMC is globally 30% of the storage market, if we go to the installed base and connect these customers to our storage cloud we should be able to scale pretty quickly (on growth of the Virtustream business),” said Walsh. “We may not be number one in the cloud storage market, but I can see us being in the top three for market share within the near future.”

One area the team are targeting in particular is the core business applications. Most enterprise organizations cloud be perceived to have a reluctance and a paranoia to run core business applications in the cloud, though Virtustream believes it has an offering which can counter this trend.

“Yes, I see paranoia, however it is geographically different,” said Walsh. “Europe is behind. Europe is still clinging onto building it themselves or outsourcing. There’s nothing wrong with outsourcing, but in the America’s they are much bolder at adopting cloud.

“Most people have used cloud to date for dev and test or they’ve used it for web front end or scale out systems of engagement, hardly anybody actually has an application which they run their business on in the cloud. It’s either in their own data centre which they run themselves or they’ve outsourced, and they have someone doing application management services. We have a hybrid solution which can change all this.”

The team have combined public cloud attributes of agility and tiered payment, and the outsourcing attributes of a core app, with an SLA and a performance guarantee, to create a hybrid proposition which they claim is unique for the industry. Walsh and his team now face the task of convincing European decision makers there is a feasible option to run core business applications in the cloud.

“The entire world has not shifted to cloud native,” said Walsh. “There is still a substantial amount of money spent by corporations around the world on running core business applications. We have a proposition which can run cloud native but can also run core business applications in the cloud, on demand and on consumption. No-one else in the industry does that. We can run all the systems on the same billing engine, the same cloud management tools and the same application management tools, which gives us a differentiator in the market.”

Rackspace prioritises AWS and Azure partnerships for future growth

Taylor Rhodes

Taylor Rhodes, President and CEO at Rackspace

Rackspace has reported healthy growth for Q1 2016, as the team continues its transition to become managed services provider, leveraging partnerships with AWS and Microsoft Azure.

Revenues for the first quarter were reported at $518 million, a year-on-year growth of 9.9%, while profits grew 77.5%. Although the growth of the business over the last 12 months has been viewed as generally positive, industry commentators highlighted the $24 million gain from the divestiture of Jungle Disk, and what could be perceived as a lacklustre outlook for the rest of 2016 has dampened the news. The exec team expects revenues of between $519 million and $524 million for the second quarter.

“First, we saw a strong demand for our expertise and support on the AWS and Microsoft Clouds and for our OpenStack private cloud offer. Collectively, we now serve more than 400 customers on these platforms and our demand is scaling rapidly,” Taylor Rhodes, President and CEO at Rackspace. “From the October launch of our AWS service through the end of April, we’ve been actively marketing with AWS and have signed 187 customers across every firm size, geography, and vertical.”

The transition to a managed cloud services company began a number of years ago with the launch of Rackspace’s Fanatical Support services, though seemingly began making real traction within the industry last year, as the team announced expanded partnerships with Microsoft in July, when Azure public and private cloud infrastructure was incorporated into the offering, and AWS in August. The team also recently announced a new partnership with Cloud Technology Partners, which it believes will increase cloud adoption rates.

The partnerships are also enabling the company to diversify its geographical focus as over 40% of the AWS customers are coming from non-U.S. regions. Rhodes also believes the new capital-light business models employed enables the company to roll-out new offerings worldwide. Previously, new products were rolled out first in the USA, due to capital intensity, and then phased out over time into other regions worldwide, however the new model is claimed to offer Rackspace increased flexibility and agility in bringing new offerings to the market.

The shift in strategic direction is supported by a renewed effort in the marketing department, as Rhodes highlighted campaigns will now be directed towards driving brand awareness and demand generation for the managed cloud services business, specifically the Fanatical Support services offered to AWS and Microsoft Azure customers.

“Our new head of Global Sales and Marketing, Alex Pinchev, started work at the beginning of Q1,” said Rhodes. “He and his team are moving aggressively to shift resources toward our new fast-growing offers while sustaining our core business. They are training more of our sales teams to sell our new offers and are hiring additional specialists in areas of high demand. We advised you last quarter that these sales and marketing efforts will take time to gain full traction, that transition contributed to our slow start to the year”

Efforts for Rackspace on the OpenStack front would also appear to be bearing fruit, with the launch of OpenStack Everywhere, Next Generation Bare Metal Servers and the Private Cloud Powered by Red Hat offering. All three offerings would seemingly demonstrate the company’s drive towards the OpenStack private and hybrid cloud market segments. The team are confident in the growth potential of the OpenStack private cloud market, and highlighted a number of major customers wins were through this aspect of the business.

“Our role as the co-founder of OpenStack has given us unique capabilities in software development, DevOps, continuous integration and deployment, and other key disciplines,” said Rhodes. “Those capabilities provide a major differentiation for us versus other managed services providers as we expand to provide managed cloud services on AWS and the Microsoft Cloud.

“We’ve really seen a tipping point, what really looks like a significant tipping point in the market for OpenStack private clouds in the last six months to nine months. Some of our largest deals that we closed in March were OpenStack private cloud deals and some of the largest deals that we have in our pipeline today are OpenStack private cloud deal. So, really that’s the traction that we’re seeing.”

57% of organizations still don’t have multi-cloud strategy – survey

Competition. Business concept illustrationResearch from VMTurbo has highlighted 57% of organizations have no multi-cloud strategy at all, where as 35% do not have a private cloud strategy and 28% lack one for public cloud.

Although hybrid cloud is considered one of the growing trends within the industry, the research suggests the noise behind multi-cloud strategies is coming from either a small number of customers, or from vendor organizations themselves. Of those who would be considered in the ‘Functional Multi-cloud Owner’ group, which only represented 10.4% of the respondents, almost half were using a two-cloud model, and just over a quarter were using a three-cloud model. The multi-cloud strategy was favoured by larger organizations in general.

“A lack of cloud strategy doesn’t mean an organization has studied and rejected the idea of the cloud; it means it has given adoption little or no thought at all,” said Charles Crouchman, CTO of VMTurbo. “As organizations make the journey from on-premise IT, to public and private clouds, and finally to multi- and hybrid clouds, it’s essential that they address this.

“Having a cloud strategy means understanding the precise costs and challenges that the cloud will introduce, knowing how to make the cloud approach work for you, and choosing technologies that will supplement cloud adoption. For instance, by automating workload allocation so that services are always provided with the best performance for the best cost. Without a strategy, organizations will be condemning themselves to higher-than-expected costs, and a cloud that never performs to its full potential.”

The survey also demonstrated the total cost of ownership is not fully understood within the community itself, less so within smaller organizations. SME’s planning to build private cloud environments estimated their budget to be in the region of $150,000 (average of all respondents), whereas the total bill for those who have already completed such projects averaged at $898,508.

The stat backs up thoughts of a number of organizations who believe there should be more of a business case behind the transition to the cloud than simply reducing CAPEX and OPEX. Last month, BCN spoke to Gwil Davies, Director & Cloud Lead in the EMEA IT Infrastructure Centre of Excellence at Deloitte, to understand the economics behind cloud computing. Davies believes a successful journey to the cloud is not just focused on reducing CAPEX and OPEX throughout the organization, but identifies where value can be achieved through a cloud-enabled business.

“I think it’s more important for organizations get a real understanding of how to use the cloud and perhaps not automatically assume that moving all of their current IT into cloud is going to be the cheaper solution.” said Davies.

The business case for the cloud is almost entirely dependent on the long-term ambitions of the business itself, though the survey does imply there is a need to further educate some corners of the IT industry on the benefits and perceived cost of private cloud. Cloud computing as a concept could be perceived to have penetrated the mainstream market, though the benefits may be less so.

Century launches automation offering for hybrid and multi-cloud

multi cloudCenturyLink has launched Runner, it’s new configuration management and orchestration service designed for hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

The new offering is built with openness in mind, ensuring automation in any cloud or data centre, including its own cloud platform, other third-party cloud providers and on premise infrastructures and devices. Runner focuses on open source automation and orchestration engine as a service.

“Runner is a new product from CenturyLink Cloud that enables fast, easy automation and orchestration on the CenturyLink Cloud Platform, as well as third-party cloud providers and on-premises infrastructure and devices,” said Chris Kent, Runner Product Owner at Century Link. “Runner provides the ability to quickly provision and modifies resources on any environment, and gives users a true Hybrid IT solution, regardless of where their resources are.

“Runner, at its core, is an Ansible engine. On top of that engine exists several other custom services and APIs we’ve created, many of which were created in tandem with the Runner job service to enhance the job execution capabilities.”

The new offering is built on the assumption that customers do not have the time or resource to effectively manage a hybrid or multi-cloud environment, and also cases where customers need better distribution in case of failures. The team seem to be focusing on the concepts of execution speed and a reduction in human error as some of the prominent features to differentiate themselves in an already competitive market. CenturyLink has also differentiated itself by focusing the technology on managing and automating the infrastructure itself, as opposed to focusing on the connections themselves, as with other competitors.