Transformation amidst transition to the cloud era

Transformation amidst transition to the cloud era

VMworld highlights the challenges and opportunities for CIOs in the new environment

“All of us are facing transition from physical to virtual world,” says VMware CEO Paul Maritz. “The whole industry has come to grips to the fact that we are going into more virtualised, cloud-based world.” Maritz points out more than 50 percent of total workloads are now virtualised and this has implications for the industry. There are now more than 20 million virtual machines ticking away around the globe, a new VM is born every six seconds, he says. The cloud era represents major interaction between consumerisation of IT on one hand and traditional enterprise IT on the other, working with each other for a new synthesis that will redefine IT over the coming decade, says Maritz. “The question is how to collectively transition between these two areas in a smart orderly way.” “We need to make things brain dead simple... you have to turn it on and that is it,” says Maritz at the annual VMworld conference being held this week in Las Vegas. Maritz says the mainframe era was about automated bookkeeping. The client server era on the other hand, saw hundreds of millions of new users through PCs and from this came a new set of technologies. In the cloud era, millions of new users and devices are coming into play. Just three years ago, he says, over 95 percent of devices connected to the internet were PCs. Three years from now, that number will be less than 20 percent – more than 80 percent of devices connected to the internet will not be Windows-based PCs. “What you do on your new devices is not the same as your old PC,” he says. “We have to think about the next generation of developers and canonical apps.” Managing services, not servers The transition to the post-PC world is about using all the devices and not just desktop, having universal access to apps and data wherever we may be. “It is not just about machines but tools to succeed collaborate in real time in a connected enterprise,” says Steve Herrod, VMware CTO. We are in one of the biggest transitions of technology – from a focus on individual servers and desktops, to services and people, he says. “We want to manage services, not servers.” Herrod says the transition to a post PC world is about using all devices and not just the desktop, and universal access to apps and data wherever the user may be. The goal is to succeed and collaborate in real time in a connected enterprise. Herrod points out the steps that can be taken to simplify management of IT in this type of environment. This involves putting a policy in place that is assigned to a user, not to a device. “It should just work and it should work well,” says Herrod. The key is to automate. “A truly intelligent infrastructure should automatically respond,” says Herrod.

Dramatic shift David P Hunter, chief technology officer, platform security at the VMware Office of the CTO, says there is great opportunity but also challenge in complexity in the new environment. “How do you consume all these new computer resources, how do you make effective use of it?” He calls the internet the fourth transport mode following air, land and sea transport. The new transport is network transport, “moving massive amounts of information, money and data around the world in a very easy, simple and fast manner.” Lots of entities are joining the network and they all want to move things around, says Hunter. “How do you integrate all these to keep up? How do we make sure everything is patched? We have diverse set of apps, everybody wants to connect to the fourth mode.” Device is no longer a major player, he says. Users want access to all information, but “I want it where I want it, how I want it and I want to consume it on devices I have,” says Hunter. He calls this the “anytime, anywhere trend”. Journey to the cloud – pointers for success presented at VMworld:

  • You can not ignore the cloud, but not everything should be in the cloud either.
  • Implement a plan with flexibility. This is your cloud, own it, but don’t be afraid to reach out for guidance.
  • People and processes are 80 percent of the journey, technology is 20 percent.
  • Don’t try to boil the ocean and do it all at once you have to break this down into phases.
  • Don’t forget the training or the knowledge transfer plans.
  • Define your mission statement.
  • Understand and define an achievable scope in ‘your cloud’ – choose your business case appropriately.
  • Identify the key stakeholders like finance and HR. Have a conversation with your CFO or IT finance person.
  • Build a roadmap and identify gaps – produce a gap analysis. The biggest gap is around people and process.
  • Security and compliance can be your best friend when it comes to controlling rogue IT.

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