For a decade now, cloud computing has become a dominant factor, playing a crucial role in modernization of legacy IT structures and as a catalyst for digital transformation large organizations are undergoing. cloud migration has become top priority to any organization seeking scalability, reliability and increased flexibility.
A recent IDC report reveals that almost half of IT spending will be cloud-based in 2018 itself, demonstrating how accessible cloud computing has become over the past 10 years. The cloud's increasing business agility and the ongoing battle of IT executives to reduce costs and increase efficiency render growing adoption rates of the cloud, in its various forms.
We had the delight and pleasure to catch Ben Silverman, a very busy cloud migration advocate, and Chief Cloud Officer @OnX, for a quick conversation about his thoughts on cloud migration trends in 2019, forecasts on enterprise cloud adoption and a bonus- Ben's tips on how enterprises should prepare for cloud migration.
Q: 2018 forecasts, amongst others, predicted that there would be a 21% increase in enterprise cloud spending. Looking back at these cloud migration forecasts for 2018, do you think that there was indeed such a surge this year?
A: In 2018 the majority of enterprise market seemed to not only start taking more notice of cloud technologies, but actually started to take action. Like in most trends, the larger enterprises have moved first, especially in those sectors where big private datacenters were an integral part of delivering a product but the company’s core competency may have not been technology.
Many times, in the beginning of 2018, we heard executives say they were moving to the cloud because they didn’t want to be in the data center business anymore. Furthermore, specific sectors like telecom, service provider, and financial services continued to build private clouds and dabble in moving some of their appropriate workloads to public clouds.
Q: Do you think 2019 will finally be "The year of the cloud"?
Surprisingly, at the beginning of 2018, those organizations that we’re moving to cloud claimed they had developed a sort of “cloud first” posture. From what I’d observed, this simply meant a forced migration of all workloads to a single cloud provider while employing a lift and shift methodology. Now, in late 2018 we are seeing that most of those organizations are realizing that this forced march to public cloud isn’t that simple, and that there are workloads that are simply not worth migrating to public clouds. As CIOs and CTOs are now getting some of the bad news of their “cloud first posture” projects, I am beginning to see the once overly ambitious migrations start to become descoped. Executives are now becoming a little more educated about the capabilities of cloud infrastructure and starting to direct teams to only migrate the workloads that are good fits for public cloud. The remaining workloads are being tagged for private clouds that will run on platforms like OpenStack or simply remain on virtualization platforms like VMware.
Q: What can you already tell us about a few of the upcoming trends we should expect to see in 2019?
There are quite a few technologies poised become the next big thing in cloud computing for 2019. To name one, adding to the great hybrid cloud equation are next generation containers and container management platforms. Another huge movement is that we are starting to see is a further abstraction of workloads from infrastructure. For example, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s container management platform, Kubernetes, and what seems like the ubiquitous pairing of it with Docker containers in almost all Platform-as-a-Service. In 2018 there was a lot of talk about containerizing applications, refactoring, replatforming, recoding and using container management platforms to manage workloads. While it sounded great, vendors were still struggling to virtualize their applications into virtual appliances. Telling most vendors to containerize their applications is like speaking Martian to a dolphin. I’m hoping 2019 will be the year that software vendors actually make the investment to moving into cloud native software architecture.
Next year I expect to see an overall increase in cloud adoption with an uptick in the return of a workloads back to private cloud. Cloud adoption is an enormously complex journey that takes careful navigation to get right the first time. Trying to adopt legacy applications into containers while you’re migrating to the cloud is like sitting on the front of the Titanic, trying to break up icebergs with an ice pick while simultaneously trying to steer the ship around the icebergs you can see. I’m hoping 2019 will be the year that organizations start to realize that public cloud infrastructure is an excellent option, but not a mandate.
I predict that hybrid cloud will continue to be integrated into cloud adoption and private cloud adoption will grow as companies consider the public cloud impacts of data security, GDPR, high availability of COTS applications and disaster recovery. As applications continue to run in public clouds with mixed results, a soft-landing zone will need to be prepared for them to repatriate applications that fail to perform well in public clouds. With better cloud management tools improving, it has become a lot easier to deploy workloads efficiently and uniformly across public, private and multi-cloud environments. While multi-cloud was predicted as a big trend for 2018, I think we were a little early on that prediction. Hybrid cloud really has yet to be achieved and I think it will drive cloud adoption through 2019.
Q: What would be your word of advice to CIOs and IT executives who finally are ready to make this step and are just about to embark on the cloud migration journey?
I’ve always recommended to executives that they should expect a significant amount of time and budget to categorizing workloads into cloud candidate groups, then further categorizing them into groups that need refactoring, re-tooling, re-coding, re-platforming or simply need to remain.
In 2019 we will see further education of leadership as the start to reap the benefits of public cloud and executives will also have a more data on the actual costs of metered infrastructure-as-a-service and associated products. Therefore, I will be advising CTOs and CIOs to pay attention to the bottom line when it comes to cloud adoption. If it doesn’t make sense financially, then there’s something seriously wrong, cloud adoption isn’t all about agility, it’s about efficiency too.
Furthermore, as their business units move closer to adopting cloud native applications and placing them in containers, they not only abstract the architecture more, but they abstract IT operations and engineering. I advise leadership that before there is mass adoption of containers in enterprise architecture, there needs to be a way to provide monitoring, alerting, logging and governance for this new paradigm. Budget needs to be allocated for operations tooling and resources for an architecture that can span thousands of VMs, bare metal hosts or cloud offerings. Executives must ensure that their enterprises have a firm grasp on a constantly morphing and scaling ontology. Otherwise their operations teams will find it increasingly challenging when container environments scale across clouds. Additionally, Day-2 concepts, like providing governance, compliance, and security should be something that is planned, not developed as an afterthought.
Special Thanks to Ben Silverman for this interview!
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