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Is it time to iterate your hybrid cloud?

Your cloud environment can drift out of sync with your business goals over time. Here are four signs that it might be time for a new version.

By Dan Griffith, Hybrid Cloud Solutions Director, HPE GreenLake Cloud Services Worldwide Go-to-Market

Hybrid cloud implementations aren’t built to last forever. They’re meant to evolve. Companies understand this, and these days many are moving on from “Cloud 1.0” to “1.x,” “2.x” or even “3.x” versions of their original cloud vision.

There are many factors that push companies to move on. Are you ready for a change? When do you know it’s time to iterate your own hybrid cloud?

Thomas Jefferson’s quote from two centuries ago about institutions can just as easily be used today to describe infrastructure: “Laws and institutions must go hand-in-hand with the progress of the human mind,” Jefferson wrote. “As … new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times.” In modern infrastructure practice, the “laws” are the processes and tools used to build and maintain our “institutions,” i.e., hybrid cloud platforms. Jefferson’s observation, then, speaks to some of the same truths that underpin modern systems thinking.

As complex systems, hybrid cloud infrastructures have to keep pace, as well. The problem is, hybrid clouds run the risk of becoming progressively worse “fits” over time. This drift is not the result of any design or execution flaw but rather from the rapid evolution of the technologies and practices that compose it. An extreme example of platform obsolescence would be trying to build Kubernetes clusters on first-generation IaaS platforms like EC2 Classic. It might be possible, but the amount of effort required would get progressively higher without any payback.

Iterating your cloud

What does iterating your hybrid cloud involve? Technology keeps evolving at a rapid pace. As you assemble components of a hybrid cloud into a working platform, those components are going to age out. When you get to a critical mass of outdated components, the business can no longer deliver on its needs. It’s a hard choice. If one can’t keep iterating within the platform, it’s time to start iterating the platform itself.

The biggest change has to do with the constraints that hybrid cloud operators face at different times in their cloud journeys. Constraints shift from year to year and initiative to initiative. As time and technology and your internal priorities change, you can underestimate the impact of some of the issues you’re going to face later.

We have seen this shift occurring gradually in HPE’s hybrid cloud practice. One good example took place at a global bioscience customer that began implementing its cloud platform in 2016. The company started out with a small PoC, and a year later we delivered the first full production-ready cloud platform. The cloud platform met many of the best-practices designs available at that time. It was designed with a focus on reliability and scalability through infrastructure-as-code and automation; adherence to identity and access management best practices; and tight enforcement of network security.

Customer requirements changed as the company’s workloads and available cloud technology evolved. Manual processes like network address provisioning and new user access inevitably resulted in bottlenecks. New technologies such as containers and serverless functions opened up new possibilities for better and more efficient automation, as well as different workload requirements. New vendors emerged in spaces such as compliance monitoring and service management, adding new capabilities and complexity to the customer’s hybrid cloud ecosystem. Finally, infrastructure-as-code development practices kept evolving toward more of a full DevOps model, with the CI/CD methodology used in software development.

These evolutionary pressures pushed the company to consider wholescale revisions of its hybrid cloud footprint. We ultimately delivered three progressively more advanced cloud platforms over the next four-plus years, with a mean iteration time of 18-24 months. Redeployment to new platforms via tenant CI/CD pipelines was encouraged, but the cloud infrastructure team was responsible for supporting tenant workload migrations with automation as well.

Facing new demands in networking, cybersecurity, containers and more

As other customers who started later have begun to run into similar challenges, their cloud projects have evolved as well. They have revised their projects with assessments, redesigns and iterative implementations in areas such as hybrid cloud network architectures, hybrid cloud security and cloud-native and containerized workloads.

A significant trend in today’s hybrid cloud networks is to provide greater support for microservices, manifested in service meshes that provide application-level network automation capabilities, including traffic flow management and access policies. At the same time, hybrid cloud security has evolved toward a zero-trust standard vs. traditional perimeter-based approaches, where best practices dictate that no part of the platform is intrinsically trusted and all interactions are authenticated, validated and monitored. And the rise of Kubernetes as the default container orchestration provider has driven much greater complexity in traditional infrastructure areas like DNS and IPAM that were never designed with these demands in mind.

The business benefits of iterating and evolving a hybrid cloud are pretty straightforward. Iteration gives the cloud user a competitive advantage. If a competitor in the same space is able to deliver services faster or more efficiently, it’ll have a six-month advantage on you. It can also get to market faster and use a more agile platform to attract and retain better talent. It’s like you’re driving an older race car. You can compete, but you’re starting at a disadvantage, and the competitive disadvantage will only get more pronounced the longer the gap persists.

When is it time to iterate your hybrid cloud? Here are four signs to look for:

  • If you don’t have a roadmap for your cloud platform that takes into account your business needs 18-24 months from now, you’re ready for a change. If you don’t know if those are aligned, you should at least figure out what your plan is. Take into account where the technology is and where it’s going to head.
  • When a business unit or a potential consumer asks for a feature, how often do you say “no”? A good example would be with the implementation of serverless computing. If a customer wants to deliver something really fast, but your cloud platform security, compliance or operating model doesn’t support delivering serverless, it’s time for a rework. Sometimes, you can bolt on the capability; others will necessitate adding it as a next-generation platform feature.
  • Are you set for a future defined by more remote work and edge computing workloads? Take a look at the pain points of being able to support new modes of remote computing. The nature of the challenges will continue to evolve, but we can be assured that challenges will persist.
  • Most importantly, if you’re asking if it’s time to iterate your hybrid cloud, it’s probably time.

Don’t wait – iterate! HPE GreenLake cloud services can help

If you determine that your hybrid cloud doesn’t meet business needs, it doesn’t mean you “did it wrong.” The only wrong approach is to assume your platform won’t need to evolve. With the natural progression of technological forces at play, you’re going to need the ability to provide iterative capabilities in your hybrid cloud the same as other service providers do. The key is to recognize the signs that you’re there and be prepared to act.

HPE GreenLake edge-to-cloud platform has the flexibility to allow you iterate your cloud consumption model, giving your workloads the agility and speed to create, test, deploy, and launch new services in less time. HPE GreenLake platform helps customers shorten the time to deploy digital projects by 75%.* No matter how complex, iterating new versions of your hybrid cloud becomes easier with HPE GreenLake platform’s inherent scalability, common cloud ops tools, processes and automation, all managed for you by HPE and our partners.

Learn about HPE GreenLake Cloud Services and how we help you deliver business outcomes faster.

Read about the HPE Edge-to-Cloud Adoption Framework and how it enables you to accelerate and de-risk your transformation to a cloud operating model across your IT estate.

HPE Ezmeral Runtime Enterprise

This video provides an overview of the HPE Ezmeral Runtime Enterprise platform and how it will help enterprises that are embracing containers and cloud-native microservices architectures to support their digital transformation initiatives. Learn more at: www.hpe.com/ezmeral/runtime

Advancing Hybrid Work

Even before the pandemic, there was a global workforce trend inching towards a “work from anywhere” approach. Workers wanted flexibility, and the adoption of collaboration tools like Slack and Zoom made it possible for workers to be productive from any location. Covid-19 accelerated this trend, and it’s now clear that remote work is here to stay.

With remote work comes the need for always-on connectivity and security. It’s like bringing enterprise networking to the home. Aruba EdgeConnect Microbranch does just that. It delivers services directly from a local Aruba wireless access point (AP), with no additional hardware required, to provide remote workers with all the traditional services they receive in-office.

With EdgeConnect Microbranch, IT departments can ensure each employee’s experience is consistent no matter where they are located. EdgeConnect Microbranch enables this by delivering the full range of on-campus connectivity services to remote workers, accelerating troubleshooting, and maintaining corporate protections by seamlessly extending on-campus Zero Trust and Secure Access Services Edge (SASE) security frameworks to the home office/small office.

In my recent 2022 predictions blog, I talked about the proliferation of IOT devices and the need for users to consistently and securely access applications regardless of their location. As predicted, we’re seeing the network edge continue to evolve to meet these demands.

The EdgeConnect Microbranch solution adds advanced SD-WAN and SASE capabilities to deliver a cloud-managed, enterprise-grade solution for hybrid work environments. It allows IT to centrally manage secure network connectivity for remote workers by using Aruba Central and any Aruba access point. No gateway required.

Providing remote workers with in-office experiences is key for hybrid workplaces. And as the dynamics of hybrid workplaces continue to change, it’s important for organizations to have a single tool with AI-powered network optimization and flexible consumption models to ensure connections are seamless and secure.

To learn more about EdgeConnect Microbranch, visit Aruba’s Work from Home Solutions webpage and the following links:

The Age Of Insight: How HPE Greenlake Makes Modernization Easy

As data becomes the heart of digital transformation initiatives, technology businesses need data analytics platforms that are up to the challenge of modernization. Yet, many legacy platforms aren’t up to scratch. But thanks to the HPE GreenLake edge-to-cloud platform, technology innovators can relax. HPE GreenLake is the cloud that comes to you – wherever your apps and data live.

What is HPE GreenLake?

HPE GreenLake is an as-a-service offering that delivers on-demand capacity and planning. It combines the agility and economics of the public cloud with the security and performance of on-premises IT.

HPE GreenLake solutions aren’t limited to one product or technology. Instead, you get one pay-per-use solution to meet all your requirements. HPE GreenLake solutions are assembled from pre-configured building blocks, enabling you to select from best-in-class HPE technologies, add products from other technology companies, and even run predictive analytics on your entire hybrid IT estate.

So, what does this mean in terms of business outcomes?

Go to market sooner, more efficiently

Did you know that by moving to HPE GreenLake, you can innovate faster and deliver on your business needs—speeding time to market by up to 75%?1

The edge-to-cloud platform makes digital transformation simpler for you. HPE GreenLake Central offers an intuitive single-view management platform, helping you deploy resources faster, view costs, forecast capacity, and manage your data more easily.

At HPE, we know Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) have unique IT requirements, which makes provisioning resources a careful balancing act. Provision too much, and you’re out of pocket. Provision too little, and you risk being left with unsatisfied customers, lost revenue, and maybe even reputational damage. HPE GreenLake’s pay-per-use model is designed to keep cost and risk under control. It helps you eliminate upfront capital expenses and improve cash flow, enabling you to gain operational agility and free up IT resources for more strategic objectives, like taking your innovations to market.

HPE GreenLake empowers customers to minimize overprovisioning, which helps to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions and enables you to push the dial on sustainability. It also offers you the opportunity to build and deliver your as-a-service offering to your end customers.

Digital transformation, simplified

Sounding too good to be true? Well, it gets even better. In September 2021, HPE announced new industry-first cloud services available with HPE GreenLake. These new services include open and unified cloud analytics to modernize apps and data everywhere—on-premises, at the edge, and in the cloud.

HPE GreenLake is now more secure than ever, with new disaster recovery and backup cloud services to tackle ransomware head-on and secure data from edge-to-cloud. And as a safety net, HPE GreenLake also comes with a comprehensive, proven set of methodologies, expertise, and automation tools to accelerate and de-risk the path to a cloud experience everywhere.

CEO Antonio Neri also announced HPE GreenLake’s integration with HPE Ezmeral; rolling out the industry’s first2 cloud-native unified analytics and data lakehouse cloud services optimized for hybrid environments.

The remarkable pace at which HPE GreenLake is evolving and transforming technology businesses is incredibly exciting.

If you’re ready to shift into transformation gear, visit the HPE GreenLake page on hpe.com, or read the HPE GreenLake for OEM brochure.

6 mindset traits of highly effective digital transformations

A transformational mindset can help individuals and organizations to grow, innovate and succeed in today’s complex digital environments.

If technology is the lifeblood of digital transformation, then people are its beating heart. Helping your teams to cultivate a transformational mindset is vital to the success of your digital agenda.

What does such a mindset consist of?

In a recent article at CIO.com, I defined a fundamental set of characteristics that enable individuals and organizations to grow, innovate and succeed in today’s complex digital environments: Your Mindset Must Pump the Heart of Your Digital Transformation. They are:

1. Growth mentality. This involves an understanding that learning is continuous, and that everybody has the potential to develop and grow. Any efforts that fall short of success are seen as learning opportunities, and feedback is welcomed.

2. Explorer’s mind. Curiosity can help to drive digital transformations with the excitement of understanding how things work and the search for new experiences. This aspect of the transformational mindset leads to a sense of ownership for problem-solving.

3. Belief in self-efficacy. People with this mindset orientation have a strong sense of confidence in themselves as problem-solvers and innovators.

4. Teamwork. Complex challenges call for extensive collaboration and the ability to share expertise and experience.

5. Diversity. Transformation projects benefit by drawing on the talents of people with a wide variety of educational and work backgrounds and experiences, as well as demographic diversity

6. Agile thinking. A fail-fast, learn-fast mentality lowers barriers to experimentation, enables you to pivot quickly as needed, and accelerates results.

How can organizations nurture these mindset traits? I offer some answers to that question in the CIO.com article. It involves a cultural shift, and culture is reflected in what is rewarded. Structure your performance measures to reflect the desired behavior.

Leaders play a crucial role in enabling teams to see “mistakes” as opportunities to learn and advance the program. Educate your workforce to embrace new ways of thinking – and consider training for your transformation leaders, too, to help them thrive in their role as coaches.

HPE can help you build your people-centric transformation with a comprehensive Management of Change (MoC) framework and services covering three core change domains: culture and behaviors; IT organizational change; and knowledge and skills. Learn more about HPE Management of Change Services and how we help you deliver successful, sustainable digital transformation.

Read more about HPE Pointnext Services and how we help you stay ahead of what’s next.

HPE Discover 2022 Las Vegas | The Edge-to-Cloud Conference | June 28–30

HPE Discover 2022 Las Vegas | The Edge-to-Cloud Conference | June 28–30

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is excited to welcome you  back to Las Vegas in June. Join HPE President and CEO Antonio Neri, HPE Business Leaders, and Technology Experts to hear the latest insights on secure connectivity, hybrid cloud, AI, and data analytics.

At HPE, we were pioneers of the hybrid cloud conversation. We were the first to lead with a consumption offering, to make digital transformation affordable and secure, and to introduce the concept of a “cloud experience everywhere.” Partners are at the heart of our edge-to-cloud vision: host your customers onsite and help them take the next step to modernize without compromise.

Register here

Remote Work: Extending Enterprise Networking to the Home

Discover how IT teams can bring secure enterprise networking to remote workers in home offices, small offices, and temporary locations. #ArubaESP and #ArubaCentral in the cloud make it possible.

Optimal performance, security, and operational simplicity

Give your remote workers an office-like experience, with high-performing connectivity, consistent security, and the best user experience. Plus, Aruba EdgeConnect Microbranch, our flexible, cloud-managed solution, extends #SDWAN services and Zero Trust and #SASE frameworks to all your employees, while also streamlining IT operations across campus, branch, and remote work environments.

Learn more about how your IT team can bring enterprise networking to the home with greater visibility, control, and security than ever before at www.arubanetworks.com/remotework

Drive down 5G complexity with automation from HPE

Why is automation a must-have requirement for emerging 5G services? And how can HPE help you enable it? Let’s take a closer look.

Imagine you run a successful restaurant kitchen, managing a busy team of station chefs and assistants. At any moment, your team is working on a dozen different tasks, but you manage to keep everything tightly coordinated and on schedule. Now, imagine your restaurant expands—by a lot. Now, you’re asked to serve dozens more dishes to 1,000x more diners. Suddenly you’re managing a staff of hundreds, with thousands of tasks happening simultaneously. You still need to keep everything coordinated and on schedule. One thing becomes immediately clear: the way you used to run things—all the systems and tools you had developed over the years—won’t work anymore.

To succeed at this scale, you need to completely rethink your operations.

Fortunately, this is just a hypothetical situation. But if you’re part of a service provider organization preparing for 5G standalone (5G SA) networks, it might sound familiar. 5G brings amazing new capabilities, with the ability to tailor services for enterprise and industrial customers and differentiate your offerings. But that flexibility comes with enormous new operational complexity. In a world of cloud-native infrastructure and microservices, your network has exponentially more moving parts—and yesterday’s operational approaches will no longer get the job done. There’s only one option: automate. And Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), a global leader in service provider orchestration and assurance, can help you do it.

A driving need to automate

The next evolution of 5G networks rewrites the rules for service providers, breaking free from the “one-size-fits-all” connectivity models of the past. With the move to 5G SA, you can use network slicing to customize services for diverse enterprise use cases. You can configure slices to meet disparate requirements – for latency, resiliency, and other attributes – under different service-level agreements (SLAs), over a single infrastructure. 3GPP[1] has already identified 74 distinct consumer and business-to-business (B2B) service scenarios that 5G enables.

This is great news from a business perspective, allowing you to tap into new markets and use cases where you never played before. But operationally? Life just got a lot more complicated. If you’re responsible for provisioning and managing 5G services, you now have to contend with:

  • IT-based software models. 5G SA brings software methodologies from the IT world to service provider environments for the first time. Concepts like DevOps and automated Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipelines can help you be more agile by continually adding and optimizing network capabilities much quicker. But if you’re not used to working this way—and most Ops teams aren’t—it can feel like a totally different world.
  • Exponential increase in network entities. 5G also brings cloud-native architectures and disaggregation principles from hyperscale cloud environments to operator networks. Instead of using mostly monolithic, single-vendor network appliances, you’re now managing hundreds of virtualized and containerized network functions (VNFs/CNFs) from multiple vendors, and thousands of containers. Here again, you can benefit from agile and flexible cloud models, provided you can handle the massive increase in volume, dynamicity, and complexity of service elements.
  • Complex multi-layer, multi-vendor operations. To provision network slices, you need to apply consistent service characteristics end-to-end across all network layers and subnets such as RAN, core, transport, and enterprise, as well as VNFs/CNFs from multiple vendors.

If you’re wondering how you’ll navigate these requirements using manual processes, handcrafted workflows, and aging service assurance tools, you can’t. There are just too many discrete components, with too much happening at once. Somehow, you have to automate and abstract away that complexity, and enable zero-touch provisioning and management.

Automating 5G operations with tools from HPE

As a longtime leader in service provider network automation, and one of the first to offer a fully cloud-native 5G SA solution with the HPE 5G Core Stack, HPE is the ideal partner to help solve this complexity problem. With our 5G automation software, we can help you automate the end-to-end operation of 5G networks and slices and provide consistently excellent customer experiences.

We can help you:

  • Automate the management of 5G networks and services with intent-based orchestration and zero-touch operations
  • Accelerate your network slicing implementation to start offering customized enterprise services
  • Respond to ongoing network and service changes in dynamic 5G environments in a simple, codeless way
  • Deliver consistently superior 5G services with automated assurance, driven by artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML)

You can enable these capabilities with two recent additions to the HPE portfolio:

  • 5G capabilities for HPE Service DirectorYou can now orchestrate 5G infrastructure and services in a simple, codeless way to optimize operations across your environment. With intent-based modeling, you can design service models and policies at the level of business processes and orchestrate their end-to-end implementation across your hybrid network. You can use zero-touch, profile-driven 5G network slicing orchestration and fully automate lifecycle management of slices across domains.
  • HPE 5G Automated Assurance. Building on our industry-leading service assurance platform, we offer an ML-based solution to collect and monitor vast amounts of information from 5G networks. You can automatically detect, predict, and remediate network and service issues, including triggering healing actions. And you can use analytics tools and dashboards designed specifically for dynamic multi-vendor 5G networks.

With these tools, it’s now possible to automate most aspects of operations for 5G networks and services. And, by automatically setting up assurance every time you provision a new slice or service, you can enable full closed-loop automation—and a foundation for self-healing networks.

Tap into 5G innovation

What can you do once you’ve driven out the cloud-native complexity that comes with 5G?

First, you get faster and more efficient by automating the detection, prediction, and remediation of issues with 5G networks and services. You can start differentiating your business and targeting enterprise customers with pre-built, customizable service and slice profiles—along with everything needed to monitor and assure them. You can start adopting DevOps software models with a solution that fully integrates with CI/CD toolchains. And you can do all of it with an open, standards-aligned toolset that lets you continually add new vendors and capabilities over time.

Add it all up, and you have a platform to capitalize on 5G innovation more quickly and easily—even when your operations team is used to working in traditional environments. You can scale up to more modern, dynamic cloud-native software approaches, even as you serve up a new generation of differentiated, profitable services.

Want to know more? Download the HPE End-to-End 5G Automation Software brochure, or visit www.hpe.com/5G.