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Cloud is a tool, not a destination

By Contributor
Mon 4 Jul 2022

Article by Nutanix Australia and New Zealand managing director Jim Steed.

Gartner predicts the global spend on cloud services – IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, and anything else as a service you can think of – will hit almost half a trillion dollars this year!

For many years, “cloud” has been thought of as merely a destination. Somewhere an organisation ‘goes’ and, by doing so, magically transforms its business once it’s arrived.

This “destination” mentality has led to a misguided strategy that sees an enterprise trying to shift all its applications to a single cloud provider – regardless of the specific needs and nuances of each individual workload.

But just as every business is uniquely structured, with its own unique objectives, the same is true of every application, every workload, and every dataset within each business.

Rapid pace of change

The events of the past two years have accelerated this understanding and led to a more mature approach to cloud.

In 2019, who would’ve thought the world would grind to a halt as governments and businesses did their best to manage the spread of COVID-19? Who would’ve thought we’d see a cost-of-living crisis or power prices soaring?

Having successfully navigated the disruptions of the recent past, organisations have learned firsthand that the only constant is change and that change arrives faster than anyone could anticipate.

As a result, business resilience, operational agility, and digital by default have become top priorities for organisations across the economic spectrum – from miners to manufacturers to grocery store chains and government departments.

With the experience of the past two years front of mind, cloud is being viewed in a different light. No longer is it just a destination, but rather a tool.

Making clouds invisible

When cloud is seen as an operating model – something to be used rather than somewhere to go – it becomes clear that there is no ‘one size fits all’.

Each application has its own needs; some might be suited to one public cloud provider, some to a different public cloud, while others might need the control and security of private cloud.

This realisation means that enterprises today are not just weighing up between public cloud vs. private cloud vs. on-premises. Instead, they’re looking at how to best use each for the specific needs of each individual application, workload, and dataset. The result is an emerging movement toward a hybrid multicloud model.

At Nutanix, we started with a mission to make managing IT infrastructure so simple it becomes invisible. Over the past decade, we’ve delivered on that vision by collapsing the silos between compute, storage, and networking, modernising the data centre.

Now, we’ve extended our vision to breaking down the silos between clouds, helping organisations navigate cloud complexity.

Our recent Enterprise Cloud Index report found that 92% of Australian enterprises saw hybrid multicloud as their chosen future state, reinforcing our view that deploying and managing workloads across a variety of on-premise and public cloud environments is core to the future of IT.

Enterprises today are deploying a diverse mix of modern workloads across a diverse mix of infrastructures. Doubling down on our vision, we’ve recently announced a strategic partnership with Red Hat that makes it easier for customers to build, manage, and scale containerised and virtualised cloud-native applications.

While hybrid multi cloud is the desired future state, the Enterprise Cloud Index also found that more than a quarter (27%) of Australian businesses remained wedded to a “cloud first” strategy built around a single public cloud, regardless of the needs of each workload and without a clear definition of what cloud-first means.

Such reliance on a single cloud provider presents an operational risk to the business should that cloud provider experience an outage or cyber-attack.

Further, going ‘all in’ with a single cloud provider raises the risk of business disruption down the line with what has become known as “cloud lock-in”. This occurs because major public cloud providers make it very easy to move apps and data into their environments but incredibly difficult to move these anywhere else once the migration has been completed.

This completely undermines the core goals of cloud adoption, resilience and agility. It also puts the customers in a difficult position when cloud was promised to be cost-effective.

However, the recent emergence of hybrid multicloud management platforms gives enterprises the freedom and flexibility to shift their apps and data back and forth between multiple cloud providers as required, at the same pace that their business needs change.

As we’ve seen since 2019, the pace of change is faster than it’s ever been.

So, with so many paths to choose from when pursuing a hybrid multicloud strategy, where do enterprises start?

The first step should be performing an internal audit of the needs of each application to understand the infrastructure best suited to its individual performance, security, and scalability requirements.

Instead of asking, “how do I get to the cloud?” organisations need to ask, “how do I best use cloud for my business?”

With a hybrid multicloud model that gives you flexibility and freedom of choice to use the infrastructure that best fits each application, your business can respond rapidly to anything the world throws at it. 

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