The Evolved Cloud -- A Better Hybrid Multicloud Experience
This article was written by Gabie Boko at NetApp, and was contributed for publication by NetApp.
Disruption is such a constant these days that sometimes we forget it even exists. If the last few years have taught us anything, it's that the world can change in an instant--over and over again. Being agile and thinking on the fly aren't nice-to-haves. They're essentials. Those, and a well-supplied stock of toilet paper, of course. The problem is, even our disruption is getting disrupted. And IT is in the thick of it. We're dealing with ongoing supply chain snafus. The skills gap is growing. Economic uncertainty looms. And digital transformation is mandatory for accelerating business progress in an uncertain world.
But we've seen how resilient we can be in the face of disruption. We've adapted. And for many companies, adapting has meant leaning more into the cloud. That has in turn changed the course of cloud's future and everyone's experience in it. The status quo isn't cutting it and it's time for the next phase: the evolved cloud--a better hybrid multicloud approach that helps cloud live up to its full potential.
Cloud - the big IT disruptor
To understand cloud's future, let's look at its past. When public cloud exploded in the mid-2000s, it became a massive disruptor. A new world of possibilities opened up. How companies could do business, innovate, and use data changed dramatically. And our expectations as consumers grew exponentially because of how companies use cloud. Consider your reaction when Zoom goes down on your last call of the day. Or when real-time tracking for your food delivery isn't available. Or when there's no 2-day shipping option (gasp!).
Of course, behind those shiny bells and whistles are IT teams who have had to weather cloud's disruption and turn it into innovation. As cloud faced off with monolithic IT and blew the traditional stack apart, it altered necessary skillsets, created organization change, upended operations, and unleashed numerous new challenges to tackle.
If your relationship status with cloud is "it's complicated", you're not alone
Cloud has always offered the promise of scalability, agility, flexibility, and accessibility. You can generate better insights and collaboratively innovate while responding faster to industry competition. Over time, it's developed from a single silo to a vertically integrated stack. Providers have accelerated their innovation to create more offerings and businesses have integrated cloud into their IT strategies. But no matter how you've approached cloud, you're likely facing these big challenges:
- Rapidly growing cloud sprawl has increased the complexity of managing applications and data.
- New silos for applications and data have been created because of disparate application portability, telemetry, and cloud interoperability frameworks.
- Cloud bills and security risks have increased exponentially along with challenges around asset visibility, governance, control, and compliance.
The cracks really started to show in the pandemic when companies had to rely more heavily on the cloud in short order. They pieced together solutions so employees could keep working and customers could keep buying. And now they're dealing with the ramifications.
The end of cloud's beginning - our hybrid multicloud reality
For more than a decade, our industry has talked about the journey to cloud. But the initial wave of disruption has passed and more than 95% of companies now use some type of cloud infrastructure services. Most actually use more than one cloud--even if by accident. For example, Marketing decided to use Cloud A for a new CRM system without telling IT. Another department has cold data in Cloud B that they haven't used for 10 years (yes, you're still getting billed for that). And IT keeps the majority of data and workloads on Cloud C. We also know there are still some workloads and data that make more sense to keep on premises for performance or compliance purposes. So where does that leave us?
In the cold light of day, most companies are hybrid multicloud with a tangle of on-premises and cloud environments. The more clouds you throw in the mix, the more complex things get. Every cloud has its own rules, tools, and processes, and there are never enough people with specialized skills for one cloud, let alone several. Managing hybrid multicloud environments is chaotic without interoperability, consistency, and flexibility. And most vendors only offer walled gardens and legacy technology stacks.
The evolved cloud - delivering on cloud's full potential
Cloud is at a turning point. You don't have to settle for a less-than-desirable experience. It's time for the next phase where cloud is the de facto platform for your business and it delivers on all its promises.
The evolved cloud is a strategic approach to hybrid multicloud environments where cloud is fully integrated into your architecture and operations. Silos get broken down to simplify management, create consistency, and deliver complete observability across on premises and multiple clouds. Abstraction makes it easier to integrate and manage disparate environments, apply common policies and processes across them, and move applications or data between them. This combined with powerful automation frees up IT teams with a unified operational approach that drastically improves on the current working model. You can go from accidentally using multiple clouds to purposefully and strategically leveraging them.
NetApp is creating a better cloud experience
Is the evolved cloud a utopia? That might be an exaggeration, but it is a huge step forward that will change your experience for the better. NetApp® is leading the charge in this new world by helping you use the clouds you want, the way you want, while continually optimizing for cost, risk, efficiency, and sustainability--automatically. No chaos. No lock-in.
In an evolved cloud state, cloud's benefits aren't held back by its complexity. And neither are you. Here's what you can expect with NetApp:
- Unified hybrid multicloud operations mean that you don't need specialists for every environment or workload. (Check out our IT skills gap blog for more details.) Open source, open architectures and APIs, microservices, and common capabilities and data services allow you to create applications that run anywhere--without operational complexity.
- Common data management capabilities at the storage infrastructure layer make moving data and applications between environments seamless. Developers can build where they want, and applications can be deployed anywhere.
- Total cyber resilience is achieved with unified monitoring, data protection, security, governance, and compliance--with consistency and automation across environments.
- AI-driven automation continuously optimizes costs and efficiency so you can boost cloud ROI.
- Industry-leading tools let you audit energy consumption, locate waste, and set guardrails to stop overprovisioning so you can reduce carbon emissions and save money.
Check out the recent announcement on how we're bringing this to life with NetApp® BlueXPTM--a unified control plane that delivers management consistency across disparate hybrid multicloud environments with integrated data services, powerful AI/ML automation, flexible consumption models, and integrated protection. BlueXP is a natural fit for our cloud customers, but it also brings tremendous innovation to on-premises customers, offering easy access to manage all their AFF, FAS, E-Series, and StorageGRID systems in one place and easy enablement of powerful data services with just a few clicks.
30 years of innovation in the face of disruption - and NetApp is just getting started
Not everyone can deliver an evolved cloud experience. Unlike our competitors, we don't lock you into walled gardens or tell you which clouds you can use. We don't slap a cloud label on old technology and call it a day. We help you take disruption in stride and turn it into powerful innovation--just like we've done ourselves for three decades.
Our on-premises legacy combined with our love of cloud has led us to this moment--where we can disrupt our own industry by truly changing the hybrid multicloud experience. We have the strongest collection of infrastructure, data, and application services built for the evolved cloud. And we'll always be ready and willing to help you tackle whatever the world throws at us next.