Prepping for HCTS – Q&A with Research Vice President Melanie Posey

Continuing with our “Prepping for HCTS – Q&A” series, I took a minute to catch up with Research Vice President Melanie Posey. Melanie has spoken at HCTS a number of times and we look forward to her taking the stage once again.

Q: What did you discuss last year?

A: Last year I talked about how important it is for service providers to “partner for success” in the digital era.

Q: What was your biggest take away from last year’s HCTS?

A: My biggest takeaway from HCTS last year was that cloud is now mainstream IT – it’s time for service providers to start thinking about how they work with the hyperscale providers going forward and the types of 1+1=3 value propositions will be most compelling to customers.

Q: What will you be discussing in this session?

A: We’ll be discussing the ways in which the dynamics of enterprise IT will evolve in an era where public clouds are the increasingly dominant IT platform. This session will also look at the changes in buying behavior, skills requirements, and IT organizational structure being brought about by the imperatives of digital transformation.

Q: Why should HCTS attendees find this session valuable/what can they hope to gain? Figure 1
A: According to VoTE survey respondents, 86% of organizations agree that digital technology has a significant or moderate impact on their industries, but only 39% have formal strategies in place to mitigate the impact of it (Figure 1). In this session, attendees will get a glimpse of what lies ahead in the “post-cloud” digital transformation-focused future: where partnering is a requirement (and not an option) and where IT vendors’ success depends largely on their ability to help customers navigate the design, implementation, and operations management challenges in the journey toward business-centric IT modernization.

Q: Why are you excited to attend this year’s HCTS? 

A: I’m excited about HCTS this year because we’re at a turning point in the IT industry. As business and IT become ever more aligned, we’re seeing a democratization of IT within organizations. We have our ideas on how this is changing things in the IT space – we’re interested in hearing about attendees’ experiences, too!

Join Melanie at HCTS 2018 to hear her discuss the future of enterprise IT in a public cloud dominate world. HCTS will be held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, September 24-26. Keep an eye out for the other posts in our ongoing series, including the previous Q&A with Matt Aslett.  

Figure 1 is from Voice of the Enterprise (VoTE) – Digital Pulse: Budgets & Outlook 2017

 

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The Trouble with Cloud “Repatriation”

Key analysts: Liam Eagle - Research Manager, Voice of the Enterprise: Cloud, Hosting & Managed Services, and Melanie Posey - Research Vice President and General Manager, Voice of the Enterprise

We have all known someone who regretted getting a tattoo. A seemingly permanent choice they loved ten years ago, is now covered up or removed. But who knows where they will be in another 10 years. In a nutshell, this analogy describes the phenomenon many IT analysts called “cloud repatriation” – the shift of workloads from public cloud to local infrastructure environments.

We have also called this phenomenon “cloud repatriation,” though not without some internal healthy debates about the validity of the phrase (yes – it rivaled the infamous “what color is the dress” debate for us). The debate focused on the word “repatriation” and how it suggests a transition to a permanent state of being. That doesn’t accurately describe an enterprise’s relationship with IT infrastructure. Much like our acquaintance full of tattoo regret, the priorities, needs and sometimes the entire business model of an enterprise changes and makes that new infrastructure less effective or appropriate than it was first deployed.
The Trouble with Cloud Repatriation fig 1The term “repatriation” takes a lot for granted. It assumes a permanent outcome or “permanent residency,” if you will. It assumes an improvement of some kind. And it assumes some failure to deliver on the part of public cloud. But what about the rolling back, for instance, of a failed cloud migration project? Is that repatriation? What if they try again in a few months?

In our Voice of the Enterprise (VoTE) Cloud Transformation, Organizational Dynamics 2017 survey, 34% of respondents said they had moved their workloads from a public cloud to a private environment (cloud or otherwise). Notably, when we asked them to cite their reasons for the move, many of those matched the reasons we know businesses ultimately decide to shift to the public cloud in the first place: performance/availability issues, high cost, latency issues, security and more.
The Trouble with Cloud Repatriation fig 2
These reasons appeared in our survey again when we asked respondents about their reasons for using multiple infrastructure environments to operate individual workloads. Forty-seven (47%) percent of them said improving performance/availability was one of the main reasons for leveraging multiple infrastructure environments.

What does this mean? For us at 451 Research, we believe this phenomenon we are all hinting at isn’t a repatriation or a reverse migration, but a cloud evolution. Our data shows more businesses see the value of a hybrid IT strategy. In fact, 58% of VotE survey respondents said that they are “moving toward a hybrid IT environment that leverages both on-premises systems and off-premises cloud/hosted resources in an integrated fashion.” Hybrid IT does offer the opportunity to build a framework for workload portability and mobility to match the ever-changing needs (or tastes, looking back at the tattoo analogy) of an organization. While this strategy isn’t the solution for all IT organizations, it is true that VMs are rarely stagnant because the best execution venue (our term for “home”) changes based on the available resources and shifting requirements around issues like performance, security and availability.

So, here is our problem: how will we rename cloud repatriation? We have played with many ideas like workload (re)balancing and liquid workloads (no, we are not suggesting you water your workload like a plant – water and electronics still do not mix), but those don’t sit well with us either. Tweet us your ideas for a new term, one that fits the "fluid" nature of the best execution venue for workloads and hybrid IT. 

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Prepping for HCTS – Q&A with Research Vice President Matt Aslett

Next up in our “Prepping for HCTS – Q&A” series, I spoke with Research Vice President Matt Aslett. Matt has overall responsibility for the data platforms and analytics coverage and he last presented at HCTS in 2013.

Q: What will you be discussing in this session?

A: Our research shows that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are among the highest priorities for enterprises and service providers as they seek to deliver data-driven efficiencies and competitive advantage – 29% of survey respondents ranked ML/AI as a priority for 2018 and 12% of respondents currently use these technologies (See Figure 1).Vote digital pulse 2017 Matt QA
AI and ML fundamentally change the relationship between humans and computers, because tasks thought previously beyond computers – and thus solely the preserve of humans – are rapidly becoming possible using software. In fact, 47% of survey respondents say they plan to use AI and machine learning within the next two years. I’ll be talking about 451’s perspective on AI and ML, the potential they have to drive significant long-term change, as well as the likely immediate impact on infrastructure and service provision in particular.

Q: Why should HCTS attendees find this session valuable/what can they hope to gain?

A: 451 Research believes that artificial intelligence is set to revolutionize not only the software industry, but also the way we live, work, learn and play. And yet, while the long-term implications of AI are truly revolutionary, the initial improvements are likely to appear relatively routine and narrow. This dichotomy has the potential to create disillusionment but is par for the course in terms of the history of technological revolution.

Humanity’s ability to perceive the future is often limited by our current reality and a tendency to simultaneously over-estimate short-term gains while underestimating long-term implications. Within this context, we’ll discuss some of the anticipated benefits of AI and machine learning for infrastructure and service provision in particular: from automating IT service desks to ensuring data centers are run as efficiently as possible to capacity forecasting. The potential to apply these technologies is so vast that the challenge can be knowing where to deploy resources first. As such, we’ll also provide a practical guide to early AI use-cases and examples, 451 Research’s five-step process for success with machine learning and cover key questions such as:
  • Why now for AI and machine learning and how to get started?
  • How and AI and ML help me run my data centers more efficiently?
  • How can elements of IT service provision be automated using AI and ML?

Q: Why are you excited to attend this year’s HCTS?

A: HCTS is always a great event with a mixture of interesting and educational content as well as the ability to socialize with like-minded decision-makers and thought-leaders. As usual, there’s a great agenda with interesting presentations and discussions involving both 451 Research analysts and industry luminaries. This year’s event promises to be particularly interesting given the emergence of the age on consumption, as well as the confluence of multiple industry trends, including cloud, the Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence.

To hear Matt discuss applications for AI within the enterprise, register for HCTS 2018 which will be held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, September 24-26. Keep an eye out for the other posts in our ongoing series, including our Q&A with William Fellows.

Figure 1 from Voice of the Enterprise (VoTE) – Digital Pulse: Budgets and Outlooks 2017
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Creating Value with an Enterprise Data Bazaar

Lead researcher: Katy Ring, Research Director – IT Services

At 451 Research, we believe ‘the enterprise data bazaar’ can help organizations that aim to become more agile by using data to inform the direction and development of their businesses. The phrase ‘enterprise data bazaar’ is a term used to define an environment where many people can access and leverage that information to build data-driven products.

To achieve this, businesses need unified data management layers, so that data scientists and subject matter experts can decide how to deal with the stored data. These layers enable the use of datasets – or a data lake – to provide value without siloing information within the organization. However, many organizations have ended up with what could be described as a ‘data swamp’ – a single environment housing large volumes of raw data that cannot be easily accessed for any purpose, let alone multiple uses. Creating a data bazaar with these management layers would break apart the swamp by putting security at the foundation of this approach by building out the data governance and self-service data preparation functionalities.

When speaking to our clients that have data lakes, many are struck with the realization that they did not fully comprehend the risks associated with what they have built. Companies struggle to audit their lakes as part of compliance measures since each source system has difference governance and security policies. This struggle is caused by the self-service nature of a data lake, where data can be access for nearly any purpose, making it unclear is a company has protected PII data as part of regulations like GDPR.  

When companies are in this scenario, vendors and service providers are opening an internal role for a chief data officer (CDO) that can help get the business back on track. Together, this group can work out a remedy for the situation. One solution is to build a “sandbox” environment that includes company-wide policy, controls and metadata management with a ‘citizen’ data integrator tool which allows the user to give back or develop analytics on how they are using the data. With this type of tool, users can still access data in a self-service way and allow that access to be overseen by the IT group or CDO before it moves to production as a data product.

In addition to this self-service ‘sandbox’ data preparation layer, IT service providers can help companies with data governance and the data supply chain. Such providers assist in sourcing, managing and enriching the data, and sell managed services for policing data consumption. For example, in an audit, organizations need to know the data they hold, who uses it and what for. This regulation provides a strong opportunity for developing the enterprise data bazaar.

Furthermore, the self-service analytics and governance layers need to be architected the right way to enable a range of use cases over time, and this is often not what results from the development of a single-use-case project. Therefore a CDO role is so very important: this individual is the internal champion with authority to get agreement on a company-wide strategy for the capture, management and sharing of data.

Katy Ring, research director of IT services at 451 Research, examines the benefits of enterprise data bazaar, the technologies, service providers and strategies used to enable them in her Technology and Business Impact report on the Enterprise Data Bazaar. Learn more about this report.
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Prepping for HCTS – Q&A with Research Vice President William Fellows

All around the world, we are certainly enjoying the hot July weather. Before we know it, however, September and the first hints of fall will be here. September also means the 451 Research team will be off to Las Vegas for our 14th annual Hosting & Cloud Transformation Summit (HCTS). The analysts are eager to discuss the hosting, cloud, datacenter and managed services sectors with our attendees and other experts, including Research Vice President William “Wif” Fellows.

Last year, he discussed the future of cloud infrastructure and the impact of containers, microservices, converged infrastructure, orchestration and more on a panel. In this Q&A, Wif reflects on HCTS 2017 and discusses his upcoming session in September.

Q: What did you discuss last year?

A: At HCTS 2017, our panel concluded that because of innovations like containers, microservices, converged infrastructure and orchestration, infrastructure is becoming increasingly software-defined, composable and converged. This trend benefits technology consumers that expect to access, assemble and pay for digital services in a simple, seamless and automated manner without requiring any specific knowledge of the underlying physical infrastructure. ‘Invisible Infrastructure,’ as it has been termed, must be instantly available, operate and scale regardless of specific requirements, and be billed and metered in a manner the customer prescribes. It just works. 

Q: What was your biggest take away from last year’s HCTS?

A: The importance and practicality of Invisible Infrastructure. While it works, it does not mean physical infrastructure is any less important. In fact, the paradox is that the more important the role infrastructure plays in our lives, the more important it becomes to shield users from having to directly interact with, or even consider, it.

It is important to remember that amid all the disruption, there lies great opportunity for service providers which can raise their software IQs and add value beyond the infrastructure as a result. Though, removing complexity and risk is an ongoing challenge.

Q: What will you be discussing in this session?

A: My session discusses how we will live in a multi-cloud, hybrid architecture world. As with any other best-of-breed approaches, managing and orchestrating across these platforms can become a nightmare for both enterprises and service providers. In the session, I will specifically discuss:
·         Approaches to creating a unified orchestration layer
·         Practicalities of effective cost management given the complexity of cloud pricing
·         Opportunities for providing simple, yet robust visibility for end users and enterprises      

Q: Why should HCTS attendees find this session valuable/what can they hope to gain?

A: Going forward there will be less building and more buying of cloud services. Cloud consumption overtakes cloud building as the primary driver of IT spending. We call it the Era of Consumption. There is a massive land grab underway as industries convert to cloud. The more effective a supplier is in supporting the transformation journey the more right it will have to play in the ongoing management and optimization which is where the majority of the opportunity is going forward. Attendees will gain an understanding of what they need to do to earn this right.

Q: Why are you excited to attend this year’s HCTS?

A: Today, 60% of enterprises surveyed for 451 Research’s Digital Pulse say the majority of IT resides on-premise. In two years the balance swings dramatically to off-premises. Moreover, cloud services will dominate the market. It’s a time of great disruption and opportunity for service providers and it will be great to see these conversations play out.

HCTS 2018 will be held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, September 24-26. We will be sharing Q&As with our analysts presenting at HCTS between now and September. Don’t miss your chance to join the discussion by registering today for HCTS.
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