Business in Asia has accepted the need for cloud computing wholeheartedly, but confusion remains over the best approach to the cloud. Balancing the pros and cons of a private versus a public cloud infrastructure revolves around comparisons of public clouds as agile that offer speed time-to-market advantages. Meanwhile, private clouds are characterized as on-premises solutions that provide a higher level of control and security.
However, a recent 451 Research whitepaper Going Hybrid: Demand for Cloud and Managed Services Across Asia-Pacific, which surveyed more than 400 IT decision makers in six Asian countries/ cities, including Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, showed that IT managers have gotten past these cloud stereotypes. The survey noted that many companies decide their approach to cloud migration based on their application workload and business requirements.
Mapping the Way to the Cloud
According to the whitepaper, companies that opt to begin with a private cloud platform typically select a technology provider they know and have already worked with for internal IT needs.
Their reasoning is simple: these platforms are often tied into other critical systems, such as the company’s management tools, virtualization systems, security tools, procurement and provisioning systems. The need to ensure full interoperability between the private cloud and mission-critical systems takes intimate knowledge of the company’s IT infrastructure that existing IT solution providers already have.
As a result, more private cloud solution providers are playing a significant role in the development of the hybrid cloud. This also explains why when survey respondents in Asia were asked to name a vendor for software that supports on-premises private cloud, top of mind companies named included Microsoft, VMware, Oracle, Cisco, HPE, IBM and Dell EMC.
Get Ready for Technology Providers
When it comes to private clouds, two technology providers stand out as the go-to vendor: Microsoft and VMware. Both companies have made significant announcements for hybrid cloud offerings.
The 451 Research survey points out that some 46 percent of enterprises represented in the study use commercial private cloud software from Microsoft and VMware. These two vendors’ ability to run on commodity x86 servers or converged systems is viewed as a key drawing point for the respondents.
Microsoft and VMware have also been aggressive in support for their cloud offerings as they see the cloud as a critical growth technology where they can maximize their current advantage. For example, Microsoft Azure Stack, the on-premises version of the company's public cloud, enables the enterprise to construct private clouds by leveraging familiar environments. It helps companies to easily store sensitive data on-premises while running workloads on the public cloud for scalability.
At VMware, their cloud on Amazon Web Services (AWS) delivers an enterprise-class software-defined data center (SDDC) via the AWS cloud. VMWare Cloud also offers an extension to the IBM Cloud. It allows workloads to run on private, public or hybrid clouds.
While every solution available in the market today has its pros and cons, choosing the right one depends on a number of factors. High on the list of considerations will be the company’s level of expertise and operating environment. If a company already has a team in-house that is familiar with Microsoft Azure, it is only natural to take the Microsoft private cloud route.
Whatever the choice, these technology providers can be expected to play a growing role as on-premises private clouds evolve into critical components of hybrid cloud strategies.
Business Needs Mark the Starting Points for Cloud
Often, IT managers find themselves unsure of whether they should begin their cloud journey with private or public clouds. But the question they should ask is what kind of cloud their business needs. There is no single best blueprint for cloud across all companies as every organization is unique.
Reframing the “where to start” question and answering it requires in-depth knowledge of the enterprise’s current IT infrastructure as well as the people and processes in the company. Moving to the cloud is not going to make a business more agile if all three are not aligned and ready.
However, it is not an easy question to answer. Many enterprise IT infrastructure environments have grown organically with very few ever conducting an annual IT audit. Many business applications are just not ready for the cloud environment. This is particularly the case when migrating licenses or changing the host environment. Cloud knowledge and expertise are also expensive to acquire.
Despite the challenges, a growing number of companies see a clear need to make their business more agile and ensure they can remain relevant by moving to the cloud. To ensure they take the right path and make a successful transition to the cloud, many companies are choosing to work with a managed services provider (MSP) that has experience in both public and private clouds as well as in creating a path toward hybrid cloud infrastructure.
An experienced MSP can help enterprise IT adopt the right cloud technology and create the appropriate hybrid cloud strategy for the business. More importantly, they can offer valuable advice, solutions, and guidance to help companies break through the roadblocks along the path to the cloud.
Dave Scott, solutions director, NTT Com Managed Services authored this article.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of CDOTrends.