Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Charles Araujo, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Flint Brenton

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, @DXWorldExpo, SDN Journal, @DevOpsSummit

@CloudExpo: Article

The Grand Challenge: Simplifying IT to Unleash Innovation

How the cloud helps businesses spend less time worrying and more time creating

I don't listen to music before I buy it anymore. I don't need to - as long as I'm purchasing it from Amazon. Based on algorithms that crawl my purchasing history, the online retailer knows what I like as well as I do and, dare I say, better than my wife.

A company develops this intimate knowledge by using Big Data to improve the customer experience in an economical and adaptable way. Amazon has integrated this agility into every aspect of its business, from running its warehouses to its revolutionary ability to publish on demand.

Game-changing innovation happens when you simplify everyday processes. But managing a large, traditional application portfolio - however crucial it is to your business - disrupts innovation.

The cloud virtualizes your software, protecting you from the inefficiencies associated with IT. As a result, you spend less time and money introducing and maintaining applications and more resources innovating and advancing your business. Whether you implement a software-designed data center, a hybrid cloud approach or and end-user computing strategy, you're taking the burden off of your own team and into the virtual world.

Conventional application integration is exhausting. Each has to be written, architected and incorporated into the existing structure. Then it must be tested, and tested again. Then you need to install, monitor and archive it, and manage and restore the archives to make sure they work. The whole thing gets complicated fast, so you need specialists who understand the management processes.

Multiply these processes by the thousands - on the high end, healthcare companies typically use 10,000 applications - and it's no wonder IT has a reputation for slowing down business.

More than 80 percent of traditional IT costs are driven by the people and processes involved in managing it. The cloud flips the equation. Eighty to eighty-five percent of the costs instead go toward infrastructure because the cloud automates everything. You're untethering the applications from the computers on which they run.

It's comparable to the impact standardized shipping containers had on modern trade. Every port could work with the same containers, streamlining the process as freighters received and delivered goods across the globe.

The cloud - the virtualized data center - does the same thing with applications. It puts collections of apps in standardized containers, complete with the machines and storage necessary to run them, and automates the management so you're not worrying about things breaking or delivering an unexpected result. Instead of automating thousands of apps individually, you handle entire containers all at once. You can seamlessly move the containers from a damaged machine to a working one. And business goes on.

The ramifications are fundamentally transformative. Innovation speeds up when businesses function unencumbered by the disruptions of traditional IT. Acquiring new technology is no longer a barrier because you're not devoting time to the cycle of writing, architecting, integrating, testing, installing, monitoring, archiving and restoring. You're just creating.

Today you can have a good idea, register as a corporation, get applications, manufacture products and launch an enterprise without leaving your home. The cloud provides global access to the IT necessary to build a business. It's faster, cheaper and lower risk - the three ingredients that propel innovation.

Consider the rise of Netflix. Blockbuster dominated the movie rental business for two decades, making it simple for customers to watch films in their home almost any time they wanted - as long as they were willing to trek to the store.

Netflix took the DVD rental business online and slashed the bottom out of Blockbuster's model. Movies came directly to customers' homes with a reasonably priced monthly subscription and no threat of late fees. As a result, Blockbuster announced last fall it would be shuttering all but 50 franchised stores in the U.S.

But Netflix didn't rest on its laurels. It recognized the threat of iTunes' pioneering streaming business. Netflix bifurcated its model, maintaining its mail-order DVD option while venturing into streaming. It used data gleaned from customers' viewing habits to create original content that aligns with not just what they watch but how they watch. Data revealed viewers liked streaming multiple episodes of TV shows in marathon sessions, prompting Netflix to release in one day entire seasons of dramas such as House of Cards.

This is what the cloud enables. Companies can use technology as a weapon of mass disruption. If you don't take advantage of it, you're at risk of not being able to grow and stay competitive. Rather than let technology happen to you, use it to become the agent of change.

How do you do that?

Software-defined data centers let customers quickly, safely and inexpensively deliver the right applications. A hybrid cloud strategy offers a choice between running applications in a software-defined data center, within the public cloud or another proprietary cloud. And an end-user computing strategy creates a safe, secure and compliant environment for application consumption.

Simplify IT, and you'll unleash innovation.

More Stories By Paul Strong

Paul Strong is VP, Office of the CTO, at VMware, where he helps guide architecture strategy and R&D innovation programs.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
"This all sounds great. But it's just not realistic." This is what a group of five senior IT executives told me during a workshop I held not long ago. We were working through an exercise on the organizational characteristics necessary to successfully execute a digital transformation, and the group was doing their ‘readout.' The executives loved everything we discussed and agreed that if such an environment existed, it would make transformation much easier. They just didn't believe it was reali...
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, provided a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services with...
Containers are rapidly finding their way into enterprise data centers, but change is difficult. How do enterprises transform their architecture with technologies like containers without losing the reliable components of their current solutions? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Tony Campbell, Director, Educational Services at CoreOS, will explore the challenges organizations are facing today as they move to containers and go over how Kubernetes applications can deploy with lega...
The “Digital Era” is forcing us to engage with new methods to build, operate and maintain applications. This transformation also implies an evolution to more and more intelligent applications to better engage with the customers, while creating significant market differentiators. In both cases, the cloud has become a key enabler to embrace this digital revolution. So, moving to the cloud is no longer the question; the new questions are HOW and WHEN. To make this equation even more complex, most ...
Learn how to solve the problem of keeping files in sync between multiple Docker containers. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Aaron Brongersma, Senior Infrastructure Engineer at Modulus, discussed using rsync, GlusterFS, EBS and Bit Torrent Sync. He broke down the tools that are needed to help create a seamless user experience. In the end, can we have an environment where we can easily move Docker containers, servers, and volumes without impacting our applications? He shared his results so yo...
Don’t go chasing waterfall … development, that is. According to a recent post by Madison Moore on Medium featuring insights from several software delivery industry leaders, waterfall is – while still popular – not the best way to win in the marketplace. With methodologies like Agile, DevOps and Continuous Delivery becoming ever more prominent over the past 15 years or so, waterfall is old news. Or, is it? Moore cites a recent study by Gartner: “According to Gartner’s IT Key Metrics Data report, ...
Enterprise architects are increasingly adopting multi-cloud strategies as they seek to utilize existing data center assets, leverage the advantages of cloud computing and avoid cloud vendor lock-in. This requires a globally aware traffic management strategy that can monitor infrastructure health across data centers and end-user experience globally, while responding to control changes and system specification at the speed of today’s DevOps teams. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Gray, Chie...
Kubernetes is a new and revolutionary open-sourced system for managing containers across multiple hosts in a cluster. Ansible is a simple IT automation tool for just about any requirement for reproducible environments. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Patrick Galbraith, a principal engineer at HPE, discussed how to build a fully functional Kubernetes cluster on a number of virtual machines or bare-metal hosts. Also included will be a brief demonstration of running a Galera MyS...
Many organizations are now looking to DevOps maturity models to gauge their DevOps adoption and compare their maturity to their peers. However, as enterprise organizations rush to adopt DevOps, moving past experimentation to embrace it at scale, they are in danger of falling into the trap that they have fallen into time and time again. Unfortunately, we've seen this movie before, and we know how it ends: badly.
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
"I focus on what we are calling CAST Highlight, which is our SaaS application portfolio analysis tool. It is an extremely lightweight tool that can integrate with pretty much any build process right now," explained Andrew Siegmund, Application Migration Specialist for CAST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In IT, we sometimes coin terms for things before we know exactly what they are and how they’ll be used. The resulting terms may capture a common set of aspirations and goals – as “cloud” did broadly for on-demand, self-service, and flexible computing. But such a term can also lump together diverse and even competing practices, technologies, and priorities to the point where important distinctions are glossed over and lost.
"I will be talking about ChatOps and ChatOps as a way to solve some problems in the DevOps space," explained Himanshu Chhetri, CTO of Addteq, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, compared the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, examin...
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, posited that disruption is inevitable for comp...
When you focus on a journey from up-close, you look at your own technical and cultural history and how you changed it for the benefit of the customer. This was our starting point: too many integration issues, 13 SWP days and very long cycles. It was evident that in this fast-paced industry we could no longer afford this reality. We needed something that would take us beyond reducing the development lifecycles, CI and Agile methodologies. We made a fundamental difference, even changed our culture...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Mike Johnston, an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io, discussed how to use Kubernetes to set up a SaaS infrastructure for your business. Mike Johnston is an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io with over 12 years of experience designing, deploying, and maintaining server and workstation infrastructure at all scales. He has experience with brick and mortar data centers as well as cloud providers like Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, and Rackspace. H...
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...