I’m back from San Diego, where I joined 1,500 attendees and 60 sponsors in 150 sessions across 7 tracks in 3.5 days. Gartner analysts and keynotes offered up very focused content and perspective plus the opportunity to network with enterprise architects, CxOs, and specialists in areas such as OpenStack, IaaS/PaaS, cloud management, cloud security, and more.
I exclusively attended the Cloud track sessions which, much to my chagrin, were dominated by comparisons of the four public cloud “giants,” as Gartner refers to AWS, Microsoft, Google, and VMware. Interested in hearing how any of the other IaaS Magic Quadrant leaders compare? Too bad. What about how these leaders’ offerings and market share have evolved this year? Or how the integration of Tier 3’s products into the CenturyLink Technology Solutions portfolio is coming along? Nothing. How are marquee names like Terremark, HP, IBM, SoftLayer, Rackspace competing with the “giants”? Nada. I’ll sum it up: AWS, despite some security, ease of use, and manageability shortcomings, still takes the lead by far. Microsoft is advancing quickly and continues to push new feature functionality and integration at an impressive pace, and will be the best fit for enterprises leveraging their enterprise agreement (EA) and wanting the PaaS functionality. Anyone who is interested in comparing storage, cost, product portfolios and manageability of these four, please contact me.
We heard from executives with John Deere and General Electric about concepts like “predictivity” and Operational Technology (OT) replacing today’s “IT” as infrastructure becomes more commoditized and focus shifts to creating net new products/services that can be derived by leveraging technological advances and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors drive new revenue streams. IT will split into two silos focused both on traditional corporate IT as well as product IT. It’s all part of the master plan to evolve IT from cost center to revenue center.
Now let’s talk about the fact that Gartner says 95% of existing public IaaS deployments are greenfield. We are only now at a point where existing, or brownfield, applications are being evaluated as targets for migration to IaaS. I knew that cloud’s best use cases were test/dev, testing new markets, and start-up businesses, but 95% is a huge number. (Keep in mind that “managed-dedicated” or “multi-tenant environments”, while called “cloud” by hybrid cloud providers, are not technically IaaS.)
IT organizations are expected in the next three years to not only broker and manage multi-cloud environments, but they will simultaneously be tasked with defining, planning, migrating and testing existing workloads. What? Where do you even start to re-org IT teams and mentally prepare for this monumental shift? Gartner says, “Come Monday, step one is identifying who on your team is going to lead this effort, and if you don’t have the right person, hire him/her!”
It’s not surprising that the subject of cloud management consumes nearly every presentation. There are so many software companies playing in this space, from start-up to behemoth (e.g. VMware) all jockeying for position as your preferred single pane of glass to manage procurement, budget, and governance. Gartner’s advice? Make sure their roadmap aligns with your roadmap before jumping on their train. It’s very early still. There will be an inevitable frenzy of both acquisition and closed doors in the next 3-5 years for all cloud service providers and related tools.
Need some guidance? Give me a call. And PLEASE don’t buy from the giants before consulting with me. Do not rest on brand recognition alone. This market is incredibly noisy, but I can help you navigate methodically and efficiently.