Next-Generation Computing Platforms Unshackling IT

In this Tech Barometer podcast segment, IT analyst Holger Mueller explains how new hybrid cloud platforms are opening the door for faster, easier and more agile IT operations that work across private data centers and public cloud services.

By Jason Lopez

By Jason Lopez August 12, 2022

The challenge for IT leaders boils down to finding next-generation computing platforms that help them combine speed, simplicity and identicality to make their businesses stronger, according to Constellation Research analyst Holger Mueller.

Mueller spent decades helping enterprise software giants like SAP and Oracle compete in the race to create intelligent computing environments. Now he’s a vice president and principal analyst for Constellation Research, where he advises IT leaders on navigating the new world of next-generation computing platforms.

“Enterprises have to move faster than before,” he said. “If they slow down or don't move fast enough, somebody else might disrupt them.”

In this Tech Barometer podcast segment, Mueller explains why IT leaders are embracing next generation tools and services to stay competitive.

“IT computing infrastructures cannot continue to be the shackles on agility that they have been in the past,” Mueller wrote in a Constellation Research report about the Nutanix Cloud Platform, which allows workloads to be deployed across multicloud and on-premise IT systems.

The rapid advancement of cloud computing is bringing enterprises to what Mueller calls the infinite computing mindset.

“Compute is cheap and plentiful and this means we can tackle business processes in a totally different way than the previous world, where it was finite computing,” Mueller said.

Finding new ways and new places to automate functions across IT systems is becoming more critical.

“You have to have make your own automation destiny, and to be ready to automate things.”

That requires new tools and skills. It also means IT teams need to stay adgile, diligent about optimizing for efficiency across private data centers and public cloud services, complant with regulations and secure. Increasingly, this means having the ability to move applications and data to different locations across a hybrid multicloud IT system.

“With workload portability, I can run critical processes in any place,” Mueller said. “This requires the platform to have identicality.” 

He explained that identicality means an on-premise IT architecture matches its public cloud counterpart.

“For me to move the workload from A to B, I need to have the same technology, the same APIs, the same tech stack and the same authorizations,” he added.

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Transcript (unedited):

Holger Mueller: Companies have to move fast. And enterprise acceleration is super important, right? And if they slow down, if they don't move fast enough, somebody else might disrupt them. It's UB by human nature to be a little lazy and complacent say, ah, it'll never come here. And Germany and Europe right now, right? A lot of technology skepticism hinges on that and saying, ah, this is just a crazy thing the Americans are doing. And 50% of the case, Europeans are good at sitting it out because the whole thing dies very quickly. And the other 50% they're sitting it out and they're being caught by it. And, uh, try to catch up with it and not doing well on the market. Right? But in general, in we enterprise, you need to get better five, six, 10% every year in terms of being able to move faster. It doesn't mean that you have to go full throttle all the time and burn out your organization, but you have to have this ability to respond or to be creative and create a new disrupting strategy in your industry.

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You want to have the out of the box credibility and the certainty to move workload a to workload B. And this is the big thing, right? Without the need of retesting, of course, you can move systems from a to B all the time. You can retest them, but retesting is very expensive, no matter how make this to the business, because always slows down. There's no time, no best practice anymore to retest systems. And we're basically in the phase where the VM, VMware of the nineties on premise, you would spin off a VVA instance and nobody would test. You assume it would run. And it, it ran 99.9, 9% of the time. Fine, uh, the same phases as what we're entering in the cloud right now,  

If you, you need to look for a third party vendor, right? Yes. Uh, a and a and G have made efforts to run on the other P and cloud. But you know that from a DNA genetic perspective, my via nor Azure, Microsoft or in Google wanted to really run other people's clouds. Right? And they realized this Google is pushing it the hardest because of number three vendor, and they need to catch up and they need to play better value to the enterprise. It's no surprise that AWS was the last one to provide an next generation compute platform of outputs, um, because the market leader can afford to do that. Right. And it worked for them really well in the past. And now we listener can make up if it's, uh, the strength of the market leader to keep holding on, or if it's what I mentioned before, why companies don't accelerate, right? It's a little bit the complacency in saying, ah, this is not a real thing. It's not gonna happen. Right. Maybe AWS took a little bit of up approach, right? 

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You always want to be careful what you spend your money for because it, budgets might be getting bigger nominally, right? Careful of the inflation apart, right? It doesn't help you if you get 10%, uh, more it budget, but your vendors are raising price by 15%, right. You know, you will have to make some hard choices. Um, but that's the six rotation in the report.  Why is no sneaker vendor giving me a sneaker as a service? I might be required to connect them and say, many miles do look running, walking in which temperature. And I will always have perfectly fitting, not worn down, not worn off sneakers. What will the sneaker subscription cost me? So the subscription economy effect is really the change to the IT business. But this is the profound change that you don't have to put up the CapEx. You don't own your IT infrsatructure anymore. You subscribe enabled by the technology, right? If the hypervisor, if the workload portability, if the elasticity on a technical side, wouldn't be there. We wouldn't see the cloud. I've always said, life is harder for CIOs. On the flip side, life got easier for CIOs, too large part, because if you want to run modern application, you know, it has to be containerized. And you know that the control planes, Kubernetes, you never had this, that you had one single standard everybody's supporting, everybody's writing to, to run your applications. This was highly proprietary. It would switch from an Oracle to ANCP system. And it would be like going to a different country and learning a new language. And now it's just container clusters. And if you look at other parts of the stack, I mean, we know tens of flow has won. AWS prides itself that it runs more tens of originally in Google construct, right? It's open source, then Google itself. It doesn't matter. Right? So if I want to do AI, I'm just gonna say, where's the TensorFlow part, right? So a number of stack decisions have been taken and come out of this, which makes CIOs life and CTOs life so much simpler. Then that year 10, 20, 30 years ago.

You could only get the value from your mainframe because standard software wasn't around, you had to build your own software. And today the cloud, as a single cloud, as a multicloud is like the mainframe. The applications for that, the best practices of the 21st century have not yet been established.

This translation doesn't have to have many more because for the first time we live in this era of infinite computing, compute is cheap and plentiful. And this means we can tackle business process in a totally different way than the previous world, where it was finite computing, where you would size the IT to a certain business problem, which you would then translate into software. And this change means you have to have much, much more developers to own your own automation, destiny, and to be ready to automate things. And standard software will not have the answer because standard software needs to have the same solution by hundreds, if not thousands of companies, it's really, really hard for the SAPs, the Oracles, the work takes the sales forces to build the next generator software now, because they don't know how their users will use the cloud. 

But now the reaction times of somebody's changing your industry by being better, faster, smarter, closer to the customer, closer to the employee that is three months, six months, right? So everything is moving much faster. And if you miss building your own software, you're probably not in business in five years anymore.  

Moving to the cloud is extremely crucial for enterprise because once a board realized, do we need this big headquarter? How many seats do we need it quickly goes down the list and say, Hey, why do we need this data center? Why do we have this mainframe as an example, this big cost line item. And then the other thing is of course, companies realize not just moving to the cloud, but they've moved too many clouds. So multi-cloud is a reality for almost all organizations and now CIOs with rising bigger budgets, but shrinking budgets on the flip side for what they have to do, have to figure out a way, how to make it all work. You basically don't want to get tied with certain cloud providers. So you want to have this workload portability. You want to be able to commit to run something on a certain cloud, a then, then move to the other cloud driven a and then maybe to the cloud with G and maybe you want to run on all of them. And maybe they open data centers in different locations because data still matters. And data residency matters, all legislation or data residency and privacy has to be reflected. That leads to massive, uh, fragmentation of data and processing. Even if you have a modern application. And even if you're happy to run in single cloud. So complexities on the rise and CIOs are struggling for anything which can make their life simpler. 

That requires something from the platform, which I call identicality to move the workload from A to B, I need to have the same technology, the same APIs, the same tech stack, like the same authorizations, right? I can't recreate all the authorizations of people when I move from one cloud to another cloud and all of that. I want to manage in a single pane of glass. And I wanna see this in one location. I wanna see if something is wrong. I want to be able to move that. So that's really what CIOs are implementing, looking for and searching now. 

Luckily larger vendors is one of them allows this third party view over the different clouds and to allow this virtual portability across their platform maintained by the software vendor. So I pay for it. Of course, it's sassification of platform, which you see as a general trend right now, 

Data fragmentation and process fragmentation is pretty much reality, which happened by accident basically because no single cloud was good enough for everything. And no CIO had enough control about the lines of business of them saying, Hey, I want a marketing solution. It doesn't matter which clouded ones we need to survive. Uh, that fragments, all the data creates lots of questions because the fragmentation and the data gravity are very expensive things to solve.

My prediction. As we sit here in half of 2022, is that that will get reduced by data being in one place for inside perspective. And for AI machine learning perspectives, the one place will lead to a more consolidation of the number of environments that an enterprise will have, but it will not be one that will be again, multiples.

The trick was basically telling all these country managers, well, you can keep your existing instance, right? You have the freedom to do that, but you keep paying for it. If you go to the global instance, we'll pay for it that, uh, made the staunchest skeptics very quickly move over because nothing beats free from an automation perspective, you can say, we have the better platform. It's more secure. You can mandate it, right? There's many different ways to get that done, but the central system being free and of course being paid for some other cross payments is the biggest, most successful thing. That's in many other companies, uh, implementing the free central new system approach. So you try to make it hard to go somewhere else.

What looked like great idea two, three years ago, it doesn't look like a great idea today, right? And you can't just throw these systems away and you have to keep operating them. And this creates this zoo in a system landscape of great ideas from a few years ago, which are looking like good or not so good ideas, but you still have to keep the lights on and keep that running.

The good news is there's a lot of next generation computing platforms coming out. The more functionality you offer there, like your abstraction layer from a hypervisor, from a data perspective, from networking perspective, the more powerful they are, because I don't have to go to other parts of the layer and then putting my multiple single product point offering windows together creates a potential Frankenstein monster situation. So suites have always won in the past of, uh, enterprise software history, both in the width and the depth in terms of like bridging across SAR is and past, especially in past and is we see these things coming together very quickly. Um, and the same thing as well for next generation compute platform. So the more functionality and the single pane of glass, the identicality to run multiple clouds, the freedom to run on premises in case you have to, those are all very important things CIOs are looking for when they make these decisions.

Everybody came to that point, Google embraced it more actively, even though Microsoft did with the multi-cloud support. Uh, obviously Microsoft came around, right? And even Amazon said for the first time at their, uh, pre COVID, uh, we invent 2019 said, well, it's software. And obviously there's the traditional hardware vendors, which still are around the Dells, the HPE that's their business, right? To provide the on-prem probability of that. But as next generation computing platform. So the software layer is growing significantly. The HP is a little reluctant, but they will have to come around and support GreenLake software services across the public clouds in a seamless way to become really next generation computing platform.

I can tell you right away, if cloud is relevant, if the CIO was under 45. This was five, six years ago. So now we could say, if the CIO is under 50, uh, he or she will know, I have to deal with this cloud thing. And I better I embrace it now, then later. Over 50, no cloud, everything on premise. So the thinking was, I can retire before that. And I leave this to the young kids to figure out. So this is the three reasons, right? A performance data, residency, privacy, and still don't trust the cloud thing. I'm gonna build another generation of three, four years of hardware. And if my company board goes along and spends the CapEx, here you go.

Many of the complexities we have right now in our environments, there was no IT right. You would buy your main for seven years and it's much, much more complex right now. And then you see turmoil like around the Ukraine, lots of companies to shut down their Russian and Ukraine operations. That's not something which is the DNA of it either, right? I mean, you keep opening stuff. You might be reducing something butn you just don't shut down complete countries and have to make sure that data's out. And that all adds to the overall complexity in uncertainty, which doesn't make it's job easier.

Jason Lopez is executive producer of Tech Barometer, the podcast outlet for The Forecast. He’s the founder of Connected Social Media. Previously, he was executive producer at PodTech and a reporter at NPR.

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