In information technology, a theme we are all hearing is this concept of agility. Make things more responsive so new ideas can be tried, tested, and implemented without barriers. This is a competitive advantage in these days of software-driven products. People are looking at cloud as the key mechanism to bring agility to their business.
As a result, you may have picked up that there is a land grab going on; everyone is talking about being a cloud company. Just as nearly every network company jumped into the software-defined networking (SDN) and infrastructure, companies started using software-defined data center (SDDC) packaging, cloud is now in vogue.
It is really hard to understand what cloud even means. I see storage companies, server companies, and all kinds of performance, analytics, configuration, and management companies saying cloud. Even network companies like Arista Networks are claiming cloud with software-driven cloud networking. However most solutions enable customers to create cloud using them as a piece of the puzzle. It is getting harder for customers to figure out what pieces work well together. This is something you shouldn’t have to do in case of a true solution.
What are we all trying to claim? Agility? And why is cloud viewed as the vehicle to get us there?
Let’s first answer how agility got associated with cloud. With our smartphones and tablets, smart TVs, and tools like Alexa, we expect everything to be accessible from any device, anytime, and from anywhere. In many ways this has become what we mean by cloud. So I get how the idea of agility is now the reason why we think getting more cloud means we will experience more agility.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) and other public cloud providers made cloud accessible to developers who did not know how to set up a cloud infrastructure. So that again was making something accessible to a new audience with a similar general user interface (GUI)-driven environment as consumer devices and other back office tools like SalesForce.com and Oracle. This helped ideas like DevOps and Continuos Integration/Continuous Delivery be free from traditional IT frameworks because they did not align with those frameworks.
Recently, I wrote ‘What Is Cloud’ to help define what makes a cloud infrastructure ‘true cloud,’ so you can read that one in case you missed it.
To wrap this up, exactly how do you get agility?
From my own experiences of moving from analog phones to digital phones, tablets and smart devices, I got cloud early and enjoy it. The idea of easy access and any access was obvious.
At work here at ZeroStack, I got trained so I could set up proof-of-concepts (PoCs) for prospects on our software-as-a-service (SaaS)-managed private cloud. After one 10-minute lesson, I was empowered to make cloud accessible to any prospect that registered for a demo.
What is common about my experiences both at home and at work you ask?
You get agility through cloud by making the cloud self-service.
Self-service can be enabled with proper controls, so that one person cannot consume too many resources or impact others. This is handled by giving admins the power to control resource consumption and put enough checks in place if needed.
Software is the key here, both in creating the layered access for self-service, as well as packaging the complexity so users that need to consume the service or application don’t need to know how to build every system — they just use it.
In the fast paced business environment we live in, you should not hear “I’m busy, come back later” but “I’m busy, get it yourself.”