Tag Archives: Greenlake

The shift is on: From data centers to centers-of-data

IN THIS ARTICLE

  • Enterprises will soon integrate on-prem, colocation, cloud, and edge data delivery options, shifing workloads across many centers of data for the agility and speed required in the cloud era
  • A new architectural approach is needed to bring a cloud experience to IT operators, with simplicity, speed, and security packaged into flexible consumption models
  • However, most enterprise IT organizations are unprepared to shift to a centers-of-data model, instead wrestling with siloed compute and storage, connected via disjointed network architectures
  • New solutions from Aruba help transition to a centers-of-data model, with new solutions that simplify IT operations, accelerate service delivery, and streamline IT deployment

Aruba Data Center Networking solutions help simplify this transition

According to Gartner, “By 2025, 85% of infrastructure strategies will integrate on-premises, colocation, cloud, and edge delivery options, compared with 20% in 20201. This is a significant architectural shift that will require workloads to be processed closer to where data is being created, across many edge locations.

But as enterprise IT organizations make this shift, most are unprepared. Edges of siloed compute and storage are connected via disjointed network architectures, with operating models that hinder centralized management, orchestration, security, and visibility. While the interconnections across edges are increasingly solved with technologies like SD-WAN and SASE, overall IT operational simplicity remains a major problem.

What’s needed is a new architectural approach, one that is edge-centric, cloud-enabled, and data-driven. Ultimately, we must bring a cloud experience to IT operators whether it’s for a traditional data center, co-location site, or new digital edge – with simplicity, speed, and security packaged into flexible consumption models.

New networking solutions to power edge-to-cloud “centers of data”

Today, Aruba is announcing new data center solutions that help simplify IT operations, accelerate service delivery, and streamline IT deployment:

  • New orchestration software for Aruba CX switches that bring cloud-like-operations to the data center edge, simplifying and speeding service delivery. 
  • New Aruba CX switch models designed for flexible, right-sized, cloud managed switch options from the edge to traditional data centers. 
  • New pre-engineered HPE and partner solutions that integrate compute, storage, and networking infrastructure in order to reduce the time, risk, and cost of standing up IT elements across emerging centers of data.

    Let’s take a closer look at these Aruba new solutions.

    Software-defined automation and orchestration

    Our new 
    Aruba Fabric Composer software orchestrates a discrete set of switches as a single entity in a “fabric” topology which simplifies day-to-day operations and troubleshooting. Aruba Fabric Composer is designed to seamlessly work with Aruba CX switches, to optimize fabric provisioning and application performance across a wide variety of virtualized, hyper-converged, and HPE compute and storage environments.

This innovative solution is ideal for IT administrators who often struggle with manual and siloed IT service provisioning across compute, virtualization, storage, and networking. IT generalists who may not have deep networking expertise (e.g., server or VM admins) can now provision and manage fabric operations all from a single console – providing a powerful and simplified operating model that has been unavailable until now.

Unified, flexible connectivity across emerging edge use cases

Aruba is also introducing the newest member of the CX switching family, the Aruba CX 8360 switch series.

The CX 8360 expands on the Aruba ESP (Edge Services Platform) vision by continuing to deliver innovative solutions that help organizations extend a unified, cloud-managed infrastructure and operating model across campuses, branches, traditional, and emerging centers of data. Built on Aruba’s powerful cloud-native AOS-CX network operating system, Aruba CX switches include advanced data center features, along with an embedded Network Analytics Engine (NAE), at no additional licensing cost.

Offered in five different flexible switch models, the CX 8360 Series delivers high-performance 1/10/25/40/100 GbE switching designed both for data centers requiring high-performance spine-and-leaf architectures, or lower port density/cost switching for edge centers of data.

Aruba CX 8360 Switch Series configurations

  • 12P 40/100G
  • 32P 10/25G w/ 4P 40/100G (w/MACsec) 
  • 16P 10/25G w/ 2P 40/100G 
  • 48P 1G/10G Base-T w/ 4P 40/100G 
  • 24P 1G/10G w/ 2P 40/100G
 

Complete integration stacks

Finally, Aruba offers a highly differentiated advantage over traditional network-only vendors by offering HPE GreenLake hybrid cloud services and infrastructure-as-a-service to support customer workloads – on-premises, fully managed in a pay-per-use model at the edge, in colocations, and in the data center.

Aruba networking technology underpins an increasing array of these new GreenLake service offerings including: VM-as-a-Service, Container-as-a-Service, and SAP HANA-as-a-Service. According to a Forrester study, “Customers who have deployed HPE GreenLake have reported up to 75% faster time to market while deploying complex global IT projects.”2

In addition to these cloud and as-a-service options, customers also have the option to leverage an array of pre-engineered and tested HPE and Aruba integrations for more traditional on-premises, customer-managed options. These ready-to-deploy, custom IT data center solutions help simplify and speed IT service delivery while, reducing the time, risk, and expertise needed to deploy complex solutions.

These new integrations span a wide range of compute, storage, HCI, HPC, virtualization, and cloud offerings, including: HPE ProLiant DL and DX servers, HPE Apollo servers, HPE SimpliVity, HPE Nimble Storage dHCI, HPE Synergy, HPE Flex Superdome, HPE Cray EX supercomputers, Cray ClusterStor storage systems, as well as partner solutions with Nutanix, SAP HANA, and VMware.

Additional information on HPE and Aruba integrations will be available next month.

Accelerating your Digital Transformation

Innovation, progress, and out-of-the-box thinking will continue to drive the shift from legacy deployment and operating models to new edge-to-cloud architectures where interconnected centers of data will power next generation applications and improved business outcomes.

To learn more about how Aruba Data Center solutions can help you refine and accelerate your edge-to-cloud strategy, visit https://www.arubanetworks.com/solutions/data-center/

The Aruba CX 8360 switch series, Aruba Fabric Composer, and partner ecosystem integrations are available today.  The HPE GreenLake Hybrid Cloud and select solution integrations will be available starting in Q1 2021.

Aruba Fabric Composer MSRP starts at $3,875 per CX switch, per year

The Aruba CX 8360 switch series MSRP starts at $ 18,995 (24x10GbE)

 

1Gartner, Your Data Center May Not Be Dead, but It’s Morphing, David Cappuccio, Henrique Cecci, Sept. 17, 2020

2A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting, The Total Economic ImpactTM of HPE GreenLake, June 2020

The 8 steps to ‘cloud everywhere’

If you were to imagine the perfect book to describe IT organizations right now, it might be entitled A Tale of Two Clouds.

While industry analysts predict 75 percent of all databases will be deployed or migrated to a cloud platform by 2022, what that actually means is really up for debate. Organizations are undoubtedly investing time and money into a mix of both public and private cloud infrastructure. But they’re not doing so equally. Indeed, Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Antonio Neri noted at the company’s Discover Virtual Experience event in July that more than 70 percent of enterprise apps and data still operate outside of public clouds.

What’s the holdup? The problem lies in the fact that, like in A Tale of Two Cities, the 1859 Charles Dickens novel contrasting London and Paris before the French Revolution, private and public environments have evolved very differently. Private clouds rely mostly on legacy, on-premises infrastructure and personnel. Public clouds use service providers and more modern technology to host and share digital content.

Enterprise organizations know they will ultimately benefit from tapping the best of these two “cities.” And most dream of the day when they’re finally able to move beyond “cloud first” thinking—which implies they’re still headed in that direction—and toward a “cloud everywhere” mentality. This is where, instead of talking about the silos in which data and applications sit, you can focus on how you’ll use your well-oiled hybrid cloud to deliver innovative experiences to customers, partners, and employees.

This obviously will not happen overnight. Too many business, people, process, and technology hurdles stand in the way. Nonetheless, here are eight steps companies can follow to tackle immediate challenges and jump on the path to building cloud-everywhere environments.

1. Think security first

Cybersecurity is one of those checkbox items that far too many IT organizations put off until the end of projects. So, we’re mentioning it first and suggesting it should top every hybrid cloud to-do list.

According to the State of Cloud Security 2020 survey from Sophos, nearly three-quarters (70 percent) of organizations have experienced a public cloud security incident in the past year. Not surprisingly, the same percentage of IT leaders say security concerns have restricted their move to the public cloud.

Sean Foley, director of cloud delivery at HPE, notes that part of the difficulty lies in the fact that many enterprises start with a private cloud where the security approach changes minimally. However, once workloads get moved to a public cloud provider, things get more complicated. You need more automation to move data files around and, therefore, need to adjust the overall security approach.

Foley says success hinges on making improvements across four security disciplines:

  1. Strong identity and access control, dictating who or what gains entry to the network
  2. Effective logging and monitoring of all network activity to understand typical network traffic and look for anomalies or security incidents requiring remediation
  3. Consistently deployed encryption for fortifying private and highly confidential data
  4. Automated response mechanisms to douse the flames of security events before they spread

2. Understand your economics

The big promise of cloud computing is the speed, agility, and—more than anything—cost savings it can offer when implemented correctly. But surveys suggest companies don’t have a tight handle on how much their cloud environments cost on an ongoing basis. As a result, they end up spending too much.

In fact, in the recent Flexera 2020 State of the Cloud Report, IT professionals surveyed said they expect to increase cloud spend by almost 50 percent this year but still struggle to accurately forecast spending. In fact, they said their organizations exceed cloud spend an average of 23 percent while wasting about 30 percent of their cloud budgets.

This isn’t a new trend. Companies have struggled to understand their economics since hybrid cloud became a thing. But to become cloud everywhere, it will be critical to establish programs, processes, and the technical wherewithal to holistically track, monitor, analyze, and address cost in both public and private infrastructures—and do that in as automated a fashion as possible. Not doing so will continue to hamper and harm even the best hybrid cloud program.

3. Know your data

IDC says there will be 175 zettabytes of data worldwide by 2025. Some of that will be yours (even if you aren’t sure how many bytes are in a zettabyte), but do you know how much? Or where it sits? Or what to do with it? Or how to secure and manage every bit of it?

Good data management begins with having systems in place to troll your public and private networks. You should be performing regular audits to understand the lay of the digital land and issuing reports to keep everyone informed across the organization, from IT to operations, finance, sales and marketing, human resources, and legal.

4. Pay attention to your peeps

As IT professionals, it’s easy to focus on the technical aspects of a hybrid estate. But failing to also address the people and process side of the equation could be tantamount to disaster.

Specifically, it is critical to make sure that employees—existing and new hires—are well versed in what it takes to integrate, manage, and secure both private and public cloud infrastructure successfully and cost effectively. Unfortunately, most staffs are limited by having experts in only one or the other area.

In fact, 86 percent of respondents in a recent Wakefield Research and Logicworks survey believe a shortage of qualified engineers will slow cloud projects this year, and 63 percent agree it’s harder to find a qualified engineer than it is to locate Bigfoot (seriously).

When marching toward the cloud-everywhere destination, organizations must do their utmost to find and hire talented IT professionals who understand the ins and outs of both private and public environments. If hiring is an issue—and even if it isn’t—investing in training to ensure current employees can step up to the hybrid cloud task becomes essential. You cannot succeed if half the team is highly agile and spends its energy on public cloud while the other half is bogged down servicing 20th century technology. If you’re going to be agile, just be agile. The technologies and outcomes might be different between Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure and on-prem, but the concepts are the same.

5. Peer through a single pane of glass

At one time, software vendors promoted the idea that you’re better off being on one platform because you can take advantage of everything the environment offers. Companies bought it for a while, but in the digital age, that “better together” approach has given way to a more multifaceted one.

Rather than putting all of their public cloud eggs in a single basket, 72 percent of IT organizations are mixing it up across multiple platforms, according to 451 Research’s January 2020 report, “Public cloud lock-in concerns incongruent with successes seen in multicloud deployments.” Each platform offers its own means of monitoring what’s going on within that environment, but platforms do not play well together. What’s more, they don’t provide a view of information or apps being consumed from data warehouses or the network edge.

All of this makes it difficult to get a true picture of activity across the hybrid estate. For this reason, it’s important to look for options that provide a single pane of glass for all consumption-based IT. This is a user interface displaying key statistic data for understanding and controlling your entire hybrid cloud. Look for services or solutions with a unified dashboard and features such as consumption analytics, continuous regulatory compliance monitoring, and fast provisioning.

6. Mind your SLAs and CLAs

When you have absolute control over your own private cloud, it’s fairly simple to ensure high-quality service levels. After all, it’s your baby and you don’t have to rely on anyone else to keep it running. But when relying on service-level agreements (SLAs) or cloud service agreements (CLAs) with one or more outside providers, this process can become incredibly time consuming and costly.

These agreements need to be in sync and well orchestrated to ensure the greatest possible user experience, not only for employees but your customers. At a minimum, take the time to identify who will be responsible for continually overseeing your agreements, know what you can negotiate, and make sure you have alternatives for extricating your company from a relationship if needed.

Again, you have the option to offload these responsibilities. There are plenty of services available today that specialize in SLAs and CLAs so you can spend your valuable time on higher-level priorities.

7. Ensure high availability and failover through automation

Channeling his inner Yogi Berra, Amazon’s Werner Vogels once quipped, “Everything fails all the time.”

IT professionals often take that concept to heart when planning their hybrid estates but don’t always embrace it as fully as they should. In the ideal world, everything is built in such a way that, if it goes down, it comes back up automatically with little intervention. In practice, however, it’s not always so smooth.

On premises, you build backup, redundancy, and failover into physical servers, storage, and other arrays. In the public cloud, you rely on software for automated recovery. By themselves, they work OK. But in hybrid environments, having two inconsistent systems can create service inefficiencies during outages.

Organizations should adjust by pivoting their on-premises operations to be more “cloudy” through microservices, automation, and other modern process and apps that manage availability and failover.

8. Let someone else do it

Reaching the cloud-everywhere panacea is no small task. It takes time, diligence, and expertise.

You may have all those things in-house. If so, great. But if not—or if you’re unable to commit resources to the long-term task of figuring out how to build, deploy, manage, and automate workloads in your hybrid environment—then outsourcing might make more sense.

Outside advisory services can help you embrace the cloud faster. They typically provide global teams of consultants who can assist you in building the right hybrid clouds for your business while evolving your team’s culture and skills. They will handle much of the public and private cloud integration work so you can avoid many of the most common challenges organizations face today.

The cloud-everywhere vision is within reach for most organizations. But achieving it requires a solid plan, a commitment to making it happen, and a willingness to consider outside consultants. If organizations do all of this, their IT staffs can finally close the book on A Tale of Two Clouds and bring better experiences to life.

This article/content was written by the individual writer identified and does not necessarily reflect the view of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company or Westcoast Ltd.

Alexey Gerasimov | Vice president, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

8 steps to achieving the ‘cloud everywhere’ vision

If you were to imagine the perfect book to describe IT organizations right now, it might be entitled A Tale of Two Clouds.

While industry analysts predict 75 percent of all databases will be deployed or migrated to a cloud platform by 2022, what that actually means is really up for debate. Organizations are undoubtedly investing time and money into a mix of both public and private cloud infrastructure. But they’re not doing so equally. Indeed, Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Antonio Neri noted at the company’s Discover Virtual Experience event in July that more than 70 percent of enterprise apps and data still operate outside of public clouds.

What’s the holdup? The problem lies in the fact that, like in A Tale of Two Cities, the 1859 Charles Dickens novel contrasting London and Paris before the French Revolution, private and public environments have evolved very differently. Private clouds rely mostly on legacy, on-premises infrastructure and personnel. Public clouds use service providers and more modern technology to host and share digital content.

Enterprise organizations know they will ultimately benefit from tapping the best of these two “cities.” And most dream of the day when they’re finally able to move beyond “cloud first” thinking—which implies they’re still headed in that direction—and toward a “cloud everywhere” mentality. This is where, instead of talking about the silos in which data and applications sit, you can focus on how you’ll use your well-oiled hybrid cloud to deliver innovative experiences to customers, partners, and employees.

This obviously will not happen overnight. Too many business, people, process, and technology hurdles stand in the way. Nonetheless, here are eight steps companies can follow to tackle immediate challenges and jump on the path to building cloud-everywhere environments.

1. Think security first

Cybersecurity is one of those checkbox items that far too many IT organizations put off until the end of projects. So, we’re mentioning it first and suggesting it should top every hybrid cloud to-do list.

According to the State of Cloud Security 2020 survey from Sophos, nearly three-quarters (70 percent) of organizations have experienced a public cloud security incident in the past year. Not surprisingly, the same percentage of IT leaders say security concerns have restricted their move to the public cloud.

Sean Foley, director of cloud delivery at HPE, notes that part of the difficulty lies in the fact that many enterprises start with a private cloud where the security approach changes minimally. However, once workloads get moved to a public cloud provider, things get more complicated. You need more automation to move data files around and, therefore, need to adjust the overall security approach.

Foley says success hinges on making improvements across four security disciplines:

  1. Strong identity and access control, dictating who or what gains entry to the network
  2. Effective logging and monitoring of all network activity to understand typical network traffic and look for anomalies or security incidents requiring remediation
  3. Consistently deployed encryption for fortifying private and highly confidential data
  4. Automated response mechanisms to douse the flames of security events before they spread

2. Understand your economics

The big promise of cloud computing is the speed, agility, and—more than anything—cost savings it can offer when implemented correctly. But surveys suggest companies don’t have a tight handle on how much their cloud environments cost on an ongoing basis. As a result, they end up spending too much.

In fact, in the recent Flexera 2020 State of the Cloud Report, IT professionals surveyed said they expect to increase cloud spend by almost 50 percent this year but still struggle to accurately forecast spending. In fact, they said their organizations exceed cloud spend an average of 23 percent while wasting about 30 percent of their cloud budgets.

This isn’t a new trend. Companies have struggled to understand their economics since hybrid cloud became a thing. But to become cloud everywhere, it will be critical to establish programs, processes, and the technical wherewithal to holistically track, monitor, analyze, and address cost in both public and private infrastructures—and do that in as automated a fashion as possible. Not doing so will continue to hamper and harm even the best hybrid cloud program.

3. Know your data

IDC says there will be 175 zettabytes of data worldwide by 2025. Some of that will be yours (even if you aren’t sure how many bytes are in a zettabyte), but do you know how much? Or where it sits? Or what to do with it? Or how to secure and manage every bit of it?

Good data management begins with having systems in place to troll your public and private networks. You should be performing regular audits to understand the lay of the digital land and issuing reports to keep everyone informed across the organization, from IT to operations, finance, sales and marketing, human resources, and legal.

4. Pay attention to your peeps

As IT professionals, it’s easy to focus on the technical aspects of a hybrid estate. But failing to also address the people and process side of the equation could be tantamount to disaster.

Specifically, it is critical to make sure that employees—existing and new hires—are well versed in what it takes to integrate, manage, and secure both private and public cloud infrastructure successfully and cost effectively. Unfortunately, most staffs are limited by having experts in only one or the other area.

In fact, 86 percent of respondents in a recent Wakefield Research and Logicworks survey believe a shortage of qualified engineers will slow cloud projects this year, and 63 percent agree it’s harder to find a qualified engineer than it is to locate Bigfoot (seriously).

When marching toward the cloud-everywhere destination, organizations must do their utmost to find and hire talented IT professionals who understand the ins and outs of both private and public environments. If hiring is an issue—and even if it isn’t—investing in training to ensure current employees can step up to the hybrid cloud task becomes essential. You cannot succeed if half the team is highly agile and spends its energy on public cloud while the other half is bogged down servicing 20th century technology. If you’re going to be agile, just be agile. The technologies and outcomes might be different between Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure and on-prem, but the concepts are the same.

5. Peer through a single pane of glass

At one time, software vendors promoted the idea that you’re better off being on one platform because you can take advantage of everything the environment offers. Companies bought it for a while, but in the digital age, that “better together” approach has given way to a more multifaceted one.

Rather than putting all of their public cloud eggs in a single basket, 72 percent of IT organizations are mixing it up across multiple platforms, according to 451 Research’s January 2020 report, “Public cloud lock-in concerns incongruent with successes seen in multicloud deployments.” Each platform offers its own means of monitoring what’s going on within that environment, but platforms do not play well together. What’s more, they don’t provide a view of information or apps being consumed from data warehouses or the network edge.

All of this makes it difficult to get a true picture of activity across the hybrid estate. For this reason, it’s important to look for options that provide a single pane of glass for all consumption-based IT. This is a user interface displaying key statistic data for understanding and controlling your entire hybrid cloud. Look for services or solutions with a unified dashboard and features such as consumption analytics, continuous regulatory compliance monitoring, and fast provisioning.

6. Mind your SLAs and CLAs

When you have absolute control over your own private cloud, it’s fairly simple to ensure high-quality service levels. After all, it’s your baby and you don’t have to rely on anyone else to keep it running. But when relying on service-level agreements (SLAs) or cloud service agreements (CLAs) with one or more outside providers, this process can become incredibly time consuming and costly.

These agreements need to be in sync and well orchestrated to ensure the greatest possible user experience, not only for employees but your customers. At a minimum, take the time to identify who will be responsible for continually overseeing your agreements, know what you can negotiate, and make sure you have alternatives for extricating your company from a relationship if needed.

Again, you have the option to offload these responsibilities. There are plenty of services available today that specialize in SLAs and CLAs so you can spend your valuable time on higher-level priorities

7. Ensure high availability and failover through automation

Channeling his inner Yogi Berra, Amazon’s Werner Vogels once quipped, “Everything fails all the time.”

IT professionals often take that concept to heart when planning their hybrid estates but don’t always embrace it as fully as they should. In the ideal world, everything is built in such a way that, if it goes down, it comes back up automatically with little intervention. In practice, however, it’s not always so smooth.

On premises, you build backup, redundancy, and failover into physical servers, storage, and other arrays. In the public cloud, you rely on software for automated recovery. By themselves, they work OK. But in hybrid environments, having two inconsistent systems can create service inefficiencies during outages.

Organizations should adjust by pivoting their on-premises operations to be more “cloudy” through microservices, automation, and other modern process and apps that manage availability and failover.

8. Let someone else do it

Reaching the cloud-everywhere panacea is no small task. It takes time, diligence, and expertise.

You may have all those things in-house. If so, great. But if not—or if you’re unable to commit resources to the long-term task of figuring out how to build, deploy, manage, and automate workloads in your hybrid environment—then outsourcing might make more sense.

Outside advisory services can help you embrace the cloud faster. They typically provide global teams of consultants who can assist you in building the right hybrid clouds for your business while evolving your team’s culture and skills. They will handle much of the public and private cloud integration work so you can avoid many of the most common challenges organizations face today.

The cloud-everywhere vision is within reach for most organizations. But achieving it requires a solid plan, a commitment to making it happen, and a willingness to consider outside consultants. If organizations do all of this, their IT staffs can finally close the book on A Tale of Two Clouds and bring better experiences to life.

Accelerate hybrid transformation – HPE GreenLake buyer’s guide

HPE GreenLake delivers cloud services at your edge, colocation facilities, and data center, and a single, integrated software platform—HPE GreenLake Central—to control and operate your entire hybrid environment.

As organizations attempt to strike a balance between keeping IT services on‑premises
and moving to the public cloud, a logical middle ground has emerged—the hybrid
cloud. This cloud model combines public and private cloud into one cohesive
environment, allowing you to take advantage of pay-per-use pricing, the scalability and
flexibility of cloud computing, and the security of dedicated hardware. 451 Research
reports that 57% of IT decision makers consider pursuing an integrated—on‑premises
and off-premises—environment as part of their overall strategy.

Yet, a hybrid cloud environment can create complexity and operational friction that
can slow down your digital transformation efforts. Data security and privacy concerns
rank high on the list of challenges: 68% of users see security and compliance as a
barrier to public cloud.

Besides, unrealized agility, complex IT operations, unrestrained
costs, and the inability to control risks can hold back your hybrid cloud strategy.
HPE GreenLake allows you to break through these challenges by delivering cloud
services at your edge, colocation facilities, and data center, and a single, integrated
software platform—HPE GreenLake Central—to control and operate your entire
hybrid environment.

Give your customers the power of GreenLake. Download the Buyer’s Guide HERE

GreenLake – Network as a Service | Aruba

Flexible service delivery for Aruba hardware and software.

Network investments don’t always produce expected
business objectives: equipment can take too long to fully
deploy, daily operations can overwhelm the network team,
and budget challenges can delay critical projects.

HPE GreenLake for Aruba provides a new approach designed
to accelerate your network lifecycle at every step, while
lowering your burdens and risks by sharing responsibility to
reach expected business outcomes with financial flexibility.

BENEFITS

  • Accelerated On-Boarding Experience working with
    our Customer Success Manager and your selected
    Aruba partner
  • Reduce IT Workload with our expert team and
    data-driven automation
  • Avoid Network Slowdowns and Outages with
    advanced prep for needed service expansions and
    simplified renewals
  • Stretch Your Budget with predictable subscription
    payments
  • Obtain Proven Value of HPE GreenLake projects for
    our customers

Download the GreenLake for Aruba Services Brief HERE

 

 

How companies can take control of their multi-cloud investments

Maintaining a solid view of your hybrid estate requires standardized procedures and processes throughout the enterprise.

If you’re like the vast majority of companies, according to the Flexera 2020 State of the Cloud report, you are accelerating your hybrid cloud strategy. You might still keep your mission-critical apps and data on premises, but most likely you’re moving several of your workloads to the public cloud. And if you’re like many IT organizations, the road hasn’t been easy. You’re struggling to manage costs, meet government regulatory compliance requirements, and ensure maximum visibility into what’s consumed across your public and private cloud environments.

Sound about right?

According to Flexera’s survey of cloud decision-makers, 87 percent of organizations now have hybrid cloud strategies in place, and 59 percent say their cloud use is higher than before COVID-19 hit. At the same time, IT organizations are running into difficulties managing all of their data and applications across their private and public cloud infrastructure.

Had everything remained on premises and, maybe, one public cloud environment, things might have been different. Most companies, however, want to avoid getting locked into any one service provider, with 72 percent saying they use some mix of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Microsoft Azure, and other public cloud platforms.

Part of the problem with that approach lies in the fact that each cloud provider’s environment is proprietary. On their own, they function quite well, offering the visibility, metering, and analytics you would want to efficiently manage and secure your data environments. But they do not interoperate. Not really. So it becomes almost impossible for IT, operations, and financial leads to get an accurate sense of how much data and other resources are regularly consumed by individuals or departments across the enterprise.

The result of all of this, according to the Flexera study, is that organizations often find themselves over budget on cloud an average of 23 percent and wasting an estimated 30 percent of their cloud spend. And, as for on-premises environments, businesses typically find that they overprovision by almost 70 percent in order to avoid running out of capacity. Additionally, they are running into compliance and security issues as their apps and data become more distributed and complex.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. By adhering to the following guidelines, IT organizations can gain better control and insights across their hybrid estate.

Prioritize visibility into usage and spending

Visibility—or the difficulty gaining it—is easily the most pressing problem for most organizations after migrating to multicloud environments. It’s not that IT professionals can’t use native tools offered by each cloud solution. Some of them are actually rather good. But when overseeing multiple private and public cloud environments, the process can be painfully tedious, time consuming, and inefficient.

This is where a unified software platform designed for hybrid environments can help. The best of the bunch will provide a central console offering an incredibly clear line of sight into how, when, where, and by whom data, applications, and other resources are being consumed across the enterprise. This is no small accomplishment when you stop to think about it.

Apply consistent tagging methodologies

Visibility into your consumption data is one thing, but can you gain insights from that data that make sense to your stakeholders? This is relevant because, in all likelihood, you pay for services as you consume them, and you want to make sure that you’re paying for services that are a) being used, and b) meet the needs of the business.

This is where resource tagging comes into play. Whether it’s storage, compute, virtual machines, containers, or any other resource you’re consuming, proper tagging methodologies let you add business context to your consumption data so that you can report usage and spend in meaningful ways. But if each cloud has its own proprietary tags, and you are operating in multiple environments, gaining a holistic view becomes impossible. Adding to the complexity: 30 percent of organizations with more than 1,000 employees say they have different business units using different cloud vendors, according to the 451 Research report “Public cloud lock-in concerns incongruent with successes seen in multicloud deployments.”

This is where unified consumption analytics platforms offer particular value. By aggregating usage and cost data across the hybrid estate and enabling you to apply consistent tagging methodologies, they can drive more accurate cost and forecasting reporting along with deeper insights into your hybrid estate’s activities.

Design automatic triggers to identify opportunities

Applying rules to the consumption data you collect helps identify any important cost and compliance improvement opportunities. Then, with the right unified software platform, you can set up automatic triggers that let you know it’s time to take some recommended action.

For example, looking across the entire cloud estate, the service provider could flag which departments are getting the most out of their cloud access, which ones are hardly using it at all, and which ones might be leaving the virtual meter running while away from the office, costing the organization unknown dollars. Similarly, the provider’s holistic visibility could expose costly system anomalies or issues that need to be addressed.

Automate controls for consistent compliance

Another area of particular significance is compliance. Businesses are increasingly under pressure to comply with a variety of compliance frameworks, such as the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, HIPAA, and GDPR, with stiff penalties for noncompliance—not to mention the impact on a company’s brand should a breach occur. One of the most significant benefits unified software platforms provide is that they make it easier to manage IT security and compliance across hybrid estates through rich tools and expertise.

According to the Flexera survey, 83 percent of enterprises point to cybersecurity as the top challenge they face with their hybrid cloud environments. Data governance, which relates to all of the back-end work supporting regulatory compliance efforts, was cited as a top concern by 79 percent of participants.

Partner to optimize cost, compliance—and more

The trouble many organizations face in both of these regards is that, while they tend to be highly skilled at fortifying their own data centers and tracking private data within them, they’re not as experienced at holistically optimizing hybrid cloud environments to achieve greater visibility and manage budgets and overall spending or regulatory compliance. Even when they are, they typically benefit from offloading many of those responsibilities to a qualified third party.

For instance, Interoc, a Swedish construction firm, wanted to ensure industry compliance and better management of numerous projects by switching to an all-digital cloud solution. It knew from experience that paper-based record-keeping could be time consuming and inefficient, especially in its industry. Any lack of accurate record-keeping could have created a huge regulatory issue.

“Increasingly, we’re being asked to show environmental or regulatory compliance,” says Henrik Andersson, a supervisor at Interoc. “We need to be able to show live updates or to attach video or photo evidence. Paper-based records are more than an inconvenience. We have to change our approach, to digitize project management. All parties want it: contractors, regulators, suppliers, and management.”

By turning to a managed service, however, Interoc was able to reduce project management reporting time by 60 percent and uncover potential regulatory hurdles before they became bigger issues.

Some unified software platforms can help companies detect provisioned resources that are out of compliance. The better ones do that across the entire hybrid cloud estate. They promote faster and easier gathering of relevant data across the network in preparation for regulatory audits. And they make it possible to holistically implement, manage, and enforce process-rule compliance. In a nutshell, they provide complete visibility and real-time alerting for governance, risk, and compliance data.

The trend toward hybrid cloud environments doesn’t appear likely to subside anytime soon. If anything, it’s accelerating and giving rise to a host of visibility, business context, and security and compliance challenges. By turning to a unified software platform, however, organizations can achieve the level of continuous cost and compliance they need to keep everything running smoothly, safely, and securely.