By: Tony Encinias, Vice President of Technology, ViON Corporation; former CIO, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Public or private cloud is a question that’s being asked by most enterprise IT shops. As they have found out, it isn’t a one or the other, all-or-nothing proposition. As the CIO for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, my goal was to move into IT environments that could be consumed as a commodity. With the introduction of public cloud services such as AWS and Azure everyone thought they had found the panacea for getting out of buying infrastructure. However, with critical state government services highly reliant on legacy applications that were not designed for public cloud deployment, a total deployment to the public cloud was, and still is problematic.
What should enterprise IT shop to do to avoid owning IT infrastructure and operationalizing the consumption of IT, if the strategic direction is cloud first? How can you leverage the convenience of the public cloud and enable legacy applications to reside in a cloud environment? Getting the best of both public and private cloud worlds, state government has been looking to pursue a hybrid cloud or multi-cloud strategy as a way to make IT services more cost effective. Hybrid and multi-cloud architectures are quickly becoming the new strategy for enterprise IT shops by combining private and public clouds. With this combination, you can deliver the right resources for each application and achieve greater efficiency while avoiding being locked into a particular technology. This strategy is sound and looks great on paper — the question is how do you accomplish it?
As a former state CIO, nirvana would have been the agility and flexibility of a public cloud, behind my firewall. Until recently that was just not possible. The term “private cloud” was a change in definition of what Enterprise IT shops were trying to accomplish to provide cloud-like services to their customers; and, it was still not on the same level as the public cloud offerings in terms of speed, flexibility, and agility. What we have recently seen in the marketplace, are offerings that implement a public cloud strategy behind an organization’s firewall. Having that public cloud experience behind your firewall with seamless integration to the various public cloud offerings is a sound IT strategy.
This type of solution can provide an off or on-premise private cloud platform with management of, ordering, billing, and governance and a multi-cloud orchestrator that manages multi-cloud environments. It can integrate public cloud infrastructures like AWS, Oracle, IBM, Azure and provide a self-service IT platform to empower the user. Ultimately, you want a seamless integration between your legacy data center infrastructure, the private cloud and public cloud. IT organizations should consider looking for features like:
- A public cloud experience behind the firewall
- Centralized management of the multi-cloud of platform through a single user interface
- Ability to manage and synch legacy and new cloud deployments
- Visibility into hybrid cloud utilization, reporting and analytics
- Compatibility with legacy applications.