Whether or not the infrastructure teams know it, almost all business development teams have investigated or are actively working with a Public Cloud provider to spin up new app / dev environments outside of IT control. This “Shadow IT” is becoming pervasive and on the surface represents a clear and present danger to the relevance of IT to the business. At a deaper level IT will always be vital to the Enterprise as the broker of IT services (whether public or private), security / risk / availability / compliance manager (governance), and as a strategic consultant to help the business map to emerging technological capabilities (consulting).
IT must Transform into managing itself as a business to become more agile to deploy service, become easier to do business with, and bring the brokerage, governance and consulting benefits. This way it will compete successfully against Shadow IT by offering the needed agility the Business requires. IT will need a new Business Model focused on
delivering the service of application hosting (not just boxes, switches, and bodies)
being market driven, first listening to their customers, then building solutions to meet their needs
focusing on Profit & Loss to measure efficiency of delivery and value of offerings
brokering service across internal services or Public external cloud services while maintaining control and knowledge of which data assets reside in each environment
The enabling technology already exists for the most part. Public Cloud is great and has its purpose to fulfill Business needs, but should be governed by IT policy, not done in the “shadows.” Other workloads are a better fit for the resiliency and security risk mitigation of Private Cloud infrastructures. Over the next few years all Enterprise it shops will be managing a Hybrid Cloud comgining the most cost effective elements of Public and Private systems to conduct their business.
This transformation is as much about People and Processes as it is about new technologies. IT will need “front office” sales and product management capabilities to sell its own services to the internal business customers. New roles to build and report on service level compliance are important to show value to the business and maintain operational control. IT also needs to maintain presence with an Office of the CTO help Business users stay on top of emerging trends and capabilities.
Iaas or Paas isn’t as relevant to Enterprise IT shops as “IT as a Service” (ITaaS). It’s much more important that IT itself can transform into a service level integrated cloud broker priced as a consumed service under GRC management rather than whether Iaas or Paas is the proper development stack for any given business unit. If IT runs itself aaS, it is capable of making the proper technology decisions for any new need that emerges.
So what does the Hybrid Cloud model look like? First and most obviously, it does include a standardized infrastructure Private Cloud combined with Public Cloud services. The integration and federation between them is best accomplished with products like VMware’s vFabric Connector that allows deployment across infrastructure providers. Leveraging virtualization the orchestration and security compliance features can be implemented.
Legacy apps are containerized and run on the virtualized hybrid infrastructure. “Next Gen” apps are SaaS purchased or developed specifically for PaaS, preferably against a common framework like Cloud Foundry which allows deployment against internal or external scale out PaaS with data and app mobility across different PaaS providers. Let’s not forget too, the presentation of all of these apps to the next generation of user access devices, mobile, tablets, and PC’s, and provide credentialed user access to the various Hybrid Cloud assets on any device from anywhere.
So where is your IT organization? Can you effectively present a web based services catalog that offers your internal business customers a competitively priced monthly consumption rate model of various services? Does that model measure itself against public providers? Do you have an internal IT sales team that promotes IT consumption to the business, or does IT hoard a scarce technology resource pool fearing the business will grow? Is your IT org an effective consultant to your business users about emerging capabilities? Let’s chat!