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Demand choice for your cloud journey

Choice should be a focal point of any cloud strategy, and I see it as a minimum qualifier when evaluating cloud offerings in the marketplace. As a premier provider of Enterprise IT services, we must regularly overhaul and enhance our portfolio to truly offer the level of responsiveness and agility that our business customers demand -- and choice is the attribute that trumps all others when it comes to enabling agility.

 

Let’s begin by reviewing some of the key choices involved in cloud adoption. This is by no means an exhaustive list; just enough to illustrate the point that choice is a key consideration.

  • What types of systems will we continue to build in-house, and which workloads are “commodity” functions that we want to obtain from cloud providers?
  • What will our mix of public versus private cloud be? How will it change over time?
  • In what circumstances will we demand enterprise class, high-availability clouds? In what circumstances are we just looking for basic clouds for non-critical workloads?
  • Should we build out a cloud in our data center or “theirs?” Why not both?

These are big choices that most organizations are still trying to finalize as they implement their first iteration of cloud deployments. The CIO must define a cloud ecosystem that minimizes his or her exposure to an evolving cloud marketplace and the changing needs of the business. Most businesses have an IT horror story (or two) about adopting an expensive, inflexible, proprietary system (think ERP) that turned out to be a bad bet over the long term. We have learned from these mistakes of the past, and we now know that we need IT vendors who value the same things we do – agility, the ability to work effectively in a multi-vendor environment, reduced complexity, and a full portfolio of options. In short, we need vendors who give us a wealth of good choices.

 

Unfortunately, the cloud marketplace today contains many vendors that are offering poor or even bad choices. Amazon and VCE have their strengths, but customer-choice is not one of them. These companies have limited, proprietary cloud offerings that almost certainly result in vendor lock-in. Amazon does not sell cloud hardware or software, and their outages are well documented. VCE is a Frankenstein of a solution that brings together some of the most expensive, proprietary technologies ever developed. I find it difficult to see how anyone could build a business case around making a sizeable investment in either of these ecosystems.

 

When it comes to cloud choices, I am proud that my business card has a blue and white HP logo on it. It’s no secret that HP is not the only player in the cloud space. I think it’s worth calling out a couple of the key differentiators that make us the strongest player, especially when it comes to offering our customers good choices.

  • We are the only vendor who offers a full line of cloud hardware, software, and services from within our own organization. Some cloud providers need to get two (or more) partners on the phone to present an integrated offering; in many cases I can do that myself or with a couple of colleagues.
  • We don’t have the specific solution you need? Chances are good we can build it with our partner community. We know we can’t meet 100% of the cloud needs out there, and we find innovative solutions in the marketplace all the time. We work with hundreds of partners who complement our core offerings, and we make it seamless from the customer’s perspective.
  • We support all cloud delivery models, including “build your own” and service providers
  • We support OpenStack cloud solutions. Not only are we an active contributor to the project, we have incorporated it into our cloud hardware and software offerings.
  • We integrate with other cloud providers. Much like our integration of OpenStack software, this truly gives customers a way to avoid vendor lock-in.

These characteristics enable customers to make sound choices. At our upcoming HP Discover conference in Frankfurt, Germany, we’re going to be highlighting the ways in which we provide consistency and confidence in our cloud solutions, in addition to choice. I urge you to evaluate your own cloud strategy and any cloud vendors you’re looking at against all 3 of those criteria, but I particularly encourage you to take the time to explore customer-choice.

 

Working with a cloud vendor that offers you the greatest amount of choice will minimize your exposure in the evolving cloud marketplace and maximize your ability to adjust your cloud ecosystem quickly as your business needs change.

 

Get solutions from the Experts. See what else they can do for your Business here.

Jeremy Brann

Labels: cloud
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About the Author
Jeremy has 12 years of consulting experience in IT strategy, systems integration, and cloud computing. He has an MBA from Indiana University...
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