By Chris Coggrave
In the London underground—the Tube—trains pull into each station leaving a narrow gap between the train carriages and the platform. Recorded announcements admonish boarding riders to “mind the gap!” to avoid accidents and injury. Lately, I’ve been telling many of my clients who are stretching for the next step in cloud computing to “mind the gap!”
Cloud computing is the destination in the data center transformation journey. There will be many clouds—public and private—so IT will need to create a “converged cloud” or hybrid environment combining the best of all worlds. Most organizations have embarked on the journey by implementing virtualization in the data center, but many do not appreciate fully the necessary next steps to cross the gap to a first working cloud.
The steps beyond virtualization are clear: Create shared, service-enabled infrastructure for private cloud; add external public cloud services to create a hybrid cloud environment; then move to a multi-sourcing environment where the data center is acting as a consumer and provider of cloud services from both internal and external clouds. During this journey, the role of IT changes from one of managing fixed IT assets to becoming a strategic broker of services for the business.
In my HP Discover 2012 sessions in June, I provided a road map for the journey and pointed out the pot holes, detours and out-and-out train wrecks to avoid. Most of all, I showed how some organizations have bridged the gap to successfully make the next step to cloud computing. You can see the slides I presented at my Track Keynote session titled Cloud Enabling Your Data Center below.
Discover 2012: Chris Coggrave - TK2093 - Track Keynote: Cloud enabling your data center
In many cases, bridging the gap isn’t about technology. It’s more focused on the people and process parts of the IT equation. For example, developing a strategy for sharing resources is a challenge most IT teams don’t anticipate. Users tend to feel about it the same way they feel about sharing office space—they understand the business benefits, but they would really rather have their own.
Creating portals and catalogs that allow users to order the service is also a new way of working. This new level of service, as opposed to an IT-asset orientation, requires new skills and roles. Staff must be prepared and trained. And while automated provisioning of services sounds good, the organization’s underlying IT processes — like deployment, change and configuration management — all need standardizing and automating to match the speed enabled by virtualization. If not, the gaps can cause accidents and injury.
Fortunately, you don’t have to make the entire journey in one step. There are stops along the way that bring business benefits and position you to make the step beyond that. And there are technology approaches—like converged infrastructure—that make the journey easier. Take a look at the slides of my sessions at Discover 2012, below. I’ll help you get started.
Learn more about HP Converged Cloud Solutions.
Chris Coggrave is worldwide director of the Data Center/Converged Infrastructure Portfolio within HP Technology Service Consulting. He is responsible for vision, strategy, and solutions and services offerings in what represents the largest area of business within the consulting organisation. Chris was formerly responsible for the Data Center Infrastructure and Cloud Services Practice in Europe, the Middle East and Africa at HP. Prior to this, he ran a number of consulting practices that included infrastructure optimization, security, and mobility and wireless. Chris holds a degree in physics and is a graduate of the Warwick Business School, where he was awarded an MBA with distinction.