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The Cloud debate at IP Expo by Mike Castle

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I sat with Lee Ganly, Acora CTO in some of the sessions at IP Expo and it made for an interesting day.  The main thread was the continual move to cloud and how it is disruptive to the industry due to it’s pace of continual function and service improvement as well as it’s agility in supporting business change in so many sectors.

The cloud debate was with a panel of individuals from IDC, Microsoft, Google and Nutanix and it was an interesting mix with two public cloud providers and a hyperconverged integrated systems provider with Nutanix pushing for keeping things ‘internal’ whilst Microsoft and Google played the public cloud/PaaS position with containerisation of applications and the roll out of micro services as the changes already coming in now (docker is only 2 years old!??) and those and other improvements will only accelerate more in the coming years along with many other potential services.

I have to say, Mark Russinovich from Microsoft came across very credibly and based his points on Microsoft’s own experiences – pushing development and test environments into their own public cloud to control costs with watcher processes to catch unused servers and power them down to make savings whilst enabling those developer teams to scale resources up or out as required as well as a change to the way Microsoft internally thought about and approached their own application requirements and ways to develop for that – insightful stuff.

Google didn’t make such a strong case in my opinion but still followed the thread and highlighted the 2 billion workloads running on their cloud platform on a daily basis.  Matt McNeill also covered the topic of app containerisation – so it will be interesting to see the different organisations interpretation of that as it develops into a wider subject that changes development and application access for the masses.

Howard Tang of Nutanix had an interesting perspective giving the argument of owning your IT versus renting it and how ownership brought with it certain benefits.  It’s an ‘old school’ position in my opinion and one that means they must deliver more and more innovative approaches within their platforms to stay relevant and potentially compete with public cloud providers (not in every case I recognise).   As the public cloud providers scale up PaaS and those value add services over the top of their platforms, the hyperconverged providers must show innovation, interoperability, efficiency and commercial reasoning for their technologies as well.

The real golden nugget from the day for me is what those IT leaders with decades of experience out there need to understand and understand quickly – the cloud is here and always evolving and expanding at a pace like no other technology.  It will change the way we approach IT service delivery, information management, security and all other elements of IT with new services such as machine learning and it’s benefits, more agile application development and containerisation delivering on demand scaling up or down as just one of many, many benefits.  It is here and you will consume it in some way or other in the short, medium and long term. It is inevitable.

Embrace it, build your teams for it or look to your service providers to deliver those new ways to approach technology and be more agile, more effective and still control costs to bring true business value to an organisation and through that, better experiences for the users…   or perhaps retire and leave it for the cloud generation of IT specialists to do!

Interesting times as we move ever more towards the internet of things (IoT).

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