The promise of software-defined flexibility and scale is something all IT departments want right now, whether they are using it in a dedicated cloud environment or a multi-cloud environment. While this may be the end goal for many departments, McDowell said it may not be prime time yet for a complete infrastructure migration to the cloud.
“IT wants that software-defined flexibility,” he said. “They don't want to spend money on the IT infrastructure, but the workloads and tools aren't quite there yet.”
Managing Workloads in a Multi-Cloud World
Planning for not just what type of cloud set up is needed today, but for the near and mid-term future, is of critical importance, according to McDowell. While some want to go full IaaS and ditch on-premises completely, it’s not realistic at this point, nor is it highly recommended. McDowell sees hybrid solutions as the way to evolve once business needs, budget and functionality requirements are all accommodated in a complete vision.
“The reality of enterprise IT now is that it's a multi-cloud world,” he said. “Workloads can live anywhere and often do, and they ping pong back and forth. It's all about hybrid cloud, whether its public cloud or on-premises and bridging the two,” said McDowell.
Having to deal with business, tech and requirement realties by compromising on a multi-cloud environment is not the only challenge IT departments face when moving their infrastructure into the cloud. How workloads will be managed is something to seriously think about too, said McDowell.
[Read related story: Rethinking Workloads for the Cloud Era]
“Everybody talks about workloads and means different things,” he said. “When I think about a workload, there's the compute processing piece, there's the storage piece, and there's the networking piece and delivering the right quality of service to my customer who's often the business owner. IEnterprises must balance those three things,” McDowell said.
When managing workloads, being able to balance support of three primary components is what any infrastructure needs to accommodate, according to McDowell.
“When I think about workloads, it's about how I manage those three components, networking, storage and compute holistically.”
While the cloud has given organizations the ability to get their infrastructure up quicker and for less capital investment, its tools and workloads still need maturation, according to McDowell. He said it’s best to set up a hybrid or multi-cloud solution to achieve some of the benefits while forecasting and future-proofing any plans for a full IaaS solution.
Brian Carlson is a contributing writer. He is Founder of RoC Consulting and was Editor-in-Chief of CIO.com and EE Times. Follow him on Twitter @bcarlsonDM
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