IT is under pressure to move out of the company data centre and into the cloud. The business sees it as the answer to many of today’s challenges and it often forms the platform on which Digital Transformation is built. The goal for the business is to become faster, more agile and innovative in order to fend of disruptors powered by the democratisation if IT through cloud.
If only Blockbuster had moved to the cloud, then they would have survived Netflix.
This is putting the argument very simply but often organisations can take a simplistic view. IT on the other hand has a better understanding of the challenges of moving to cloud that include technology, architecture, skills and culture. They can often be slow to change. However, for most, the adoption of cloud is inevitable. The question for IT will be what to do about the current infrastructure – both hardware and skills?
There will be those that continue to argue for business as usual. There are simply too many legacy systems that cannot be moved to cloud and so the current infrastructure must remain in place. This argument is as simplistic as the one that says lift and shift everything to public cloud. The sensible reality lies in the middle but it does require change on the part of IT and specifically operations.
We have seen with the adoption of Agile how operations can be curmudgeonly when it comes to changing processes, skills and physical environments. There are organisations where development can turn out new code every few weeks but it can only be deployed every few months because of reluctance within operations to adopt similarly new processes (such as automation) and technology. This reluctance is leading some in IT development to look to cloud as the way of removing operations.
Within this conflict of concerns is the reality that operations does not need to die but does need to change. Rather than trying to block change and risk being circumvented and eventually usurped by cloud they should be asking what a modern, progressive infrastructure looks like.
HPE believes that it has the answer with its Data Centre in a box. With products such as Synergy an organisation can configure compute, storage and networking resources according to their own requirements. Within this environment they can run traditional software and new cloud-native solutions. They can place the old world and the new DevOps world side by side.
The result is an infrastructure that bridges both arguments – stay where we are or move to the cloud. Of course, operations will still need to change and some roles may be trimmed due to automation in this new world. But surely remaining relevant in the modern enterprise in a way that delivers value is better than being consigned to company history.
At this time HPE is playing both sides of the fence – as a vendor to IT and an advisor to the business. Therefore, some in IT may not entirely see the company as being on their side. But, in a couple of months HPE Enterprise Services (HPE’s consulting function) will “spin merge” with CSC. This will leave HPE as a pure play infrastructure vendor. As such it can focus on its relationships within IT and help them to both change and act as a strong advocate for internal infrastructure in an argument increasingly dominated by a seemingly binary choice (on-premise vs public cloud).
HPE’s experience from working with its own consulting capability means that it understands what’s driving the business but its independence as a vendor means its interest can align with IT’s interest (commercial interest aside). In today’s world, enterprise IT and specifically operations are more in need of a strong advocate than ever: Not to defend the status quo but to promote a new blend of old and new that will deliver more value for the business than either of the binary choices.