Bringing a DevOps approach to Public Cloud Migration

November 2, 2016
Bringing a DevOps approach to Public Cloud Migration

Guest post: Jonathan Alexander, Senior Manager and EMEA Cloud Management GTM Leader, VMware 

I recently met with a couple of senior IT Directors: two customers; two different industries. One was a large telecoms firm; the other a world-leading global enterprise. Both of them are innovating their industries by taking a cloud-first approach; with both of them moving everything to public cloud – one of them notably going 50-50 with Azure and Amazon.

Both of them highlighted the fact that it’s no longer economic for them to run the majority of their systems on-premise anymore, except for the minority of things like billing systems that have very predictable loads. (That’s the Uber argument: hire versus buy.) In fact, it’s now possible to host formerly traditional ERP in the cloud, with the ERP vendors providing a reference architecture for that.

It illustrates a larger trend: hyper-scale public cloud migration is going to happen, and is already underway. Naturally, on or off-premise private cloud still has its place, however, the reasons for keeping workloads there are lessening over time, with the arguments for moving becoming more compelling.

For example, public cloud can help IT teams to get products to market faster, by delivering scalability on demand. By tapping into a service provider’s public infrastructure, enterprises can also save time on creating and building their own IT environments. It means they can roll out new applications and services rapidly.

Ultimately, it comes down to speed, says my colleague Matthew Steiner, EMEA Cloud Strategist at VMWare.  He argues that the whole point these days is to speed up – and cloud drastically reduces the time it takes companies to deploy their apps, allowing them to integrate them and update very quickly.

He points out that, with a traditional app, you spend years to plan and build it, and you may never upgrade it. In comparison, the Facebooks of this world are updating their web application multiple times a minute – and fast refreshes keep you competitive.

The other thing is that economic or market shocks – fluctuating currency, oil prices, revenues – can destroy your two-year infrastructure build programme. Instead, you need to move fast while you have the money to do the project, and to do this, your IT operations need to be agile.

For companies moving to public cloud, the one big problem is that 90 percent of apps are not written for native cloud, with its requirements for agility, portability, constant release cycles and so on.

This led me to thinking about IT infrastructure and ops departments, and how a devOps approach can help with the migration to public cloud. In the end, it’s about providing services in an agile way, as well as protecting key data assets from hackers, competitors and terrorists, while serving the needs of the customers of the business.

The way you build and organise your IT department will determine how well you do this, and an agile, disciplined devOps approach could help you transition more efficiently to public cloud in a managed way, rather than a haphazard one.

Rest assured though – we’ve got it covered. VMware can help you on the ops management side; watch this space.

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