Organizations seeking to employ a multi-cloud strategy must demand strategic flexibility from their infrastructure.
Why? Because the platform choices organizations make today will determine their agility, economics and competitiveness for the next five to 10 years. It is essential to choose a platform mix which will meet the demands of the business now and in the future.
In my previous blog post, I offered an overview of how private cloud fits into a successful multi-cloud strategy. In this post, I’m diving deeper into the importance of strategic flexibility, including the case of a global telecom seeking a move to an agile infrastructure able to respond to a rapidly changing set of customers’ demands and new technologies.
Strategic flexibility includes:
The right cloud for the right workload deployed in the right place. To operate efficiently, workloads need configurations optimized for their particular needs. And these resources need to be located where they are needed, for performance, compliance or economic reasons. They need to be provisioned when needed, without delay.
Capacity on demand. Demand is hard to predict in today’s world of continuous innovation and experimentation. Old models simply don’t apply now that decisions are made based on instantaneous consumer feedback.
Once a distinguishing feature of public clouds, private cloud as a service, with pay as you go pricing for service, brings this on-demand model to private clouds. The capacity can be located wherever a customer needs it: In a service provider data center, the customer’s data center or in colocation facilities around the world. The customer consumes these services as a cloud, via cloud APIs. And it’s simple; the complexity is hidden from the user with managed services for either private or public clouds.
Access innovation while avoiding lock-in. To ensure your cloud platforms are innovative now and in the future, select the right mix of proprietary development and open source platforms, to ensure access to the richest mix of innovation over the long term.
Equally important is not allowing vendors to lock you in to their APIs, because doing so removes your economic leverage in the future. When vendors know customers are locked in, they can increase prices without fear of losing customers. By selecting platforms with open APIs, customers gain economic leverage over their vendors.
Platforms that meet compliance requirements. Regulatory regimes are getting more complex, not simpler. When deciding on a cloud portfolio, an organization must have comfort that the clouds can confidently enable meeting specific compliance requirements now and in the future.
Data and architectural control: The need to analyze and act on massive volumes of data requires specialized capabilities. Platforms must enable the selection of the optimal computing, storage and network architectures. Performance and competitiveness are impacted by data location and data architecture. Microservice based applications require tuned messaging architecture flows that are optimized and run with lower risk of failure from the control that private cloud bestows on IT. Major elements of data and architectural control include:
- Security and compliance: private cloud resources are dedicated to your organization, can be located on-premises without the security and regulatory risks of a multi-tenant cloud, and enable you to leverage existing security and compliance investments (systems, processes, people). You can bring your own security policies, practices and infrastructure, as you need. You choose who has access to what and when.
- Data control: As the data an organization collects increasingly becomes the key to competitiveness, organizations must control their data set of record. While subsets of data may be parceled out to different clouds for analysis, organizations must be confident they can maintain and use it however they want, without large ingress and egress charges.
- Data sovereignty: It must be easy to locate cloud servers and storage within each regulated jurisdiction. Flexible delivery models (i.e., colocation facility, on-premises, service provider data center) enable deployment in location of choice to support geographic expansion and easily meet data sovereignty requirements.
- Better performance: Infrastructure in a private cloud is dedicated to a single organization, with a level of architectural flexibility, optimization and tuning simply not available in public clouds. Data sensitive applications, complex message flows, IT hosted centralized components of Internet of Things applications and microservice architectures can all require performance levels that need a high level of architectural control.
Strategic flexibility in practice
An international telecom company came to Rackspace seeking to improve customer service, focus on strategic projects versus infrastructure, deliver new, rich media content and differentiate with greater reliability, security and privacy.
The company, which delivers 40 percent of the world’s service provider traffic on its infrastructure, had a great number of specific infrastructure requirements revolving around security as well as data and architectural control. It also needed location flexibility.
Rackspace Private-Cloud-as-a-Service delivered the strategic flexibility to use hardware located in off-premise data centers and on-premise as the needs arise. It also delivered the fully managed service necessary to allowing the telecom giant to focus on new strategic digital initiatives.
The agile private cloud infrastructure enabled significantly lower costs than competitors who remain on legacy infrastructure. And because the operational burden of its infrastructure was assumed by Rackspace, the company drove quicker time to market for new offerings. For example, it launched a new business line that successfully pulled in new customers from its competitors, in the very first quarter of its existence.
Overall, the company found better performance, lower cost, and greater reliability with Rackspace Private Cloud as a Service as part of an overall multi-cloud strategy. Rackspace’s private cloud platforms offer enterprises the widest range of technology, economic, and deployment models, delivered as a fully managed cloud service. Accessed via industry-standard APIs, with no lock-in, and backed by market-leading SLAs, Rackspace Private-Cloud-as-a-Service provides enterprise applications a successful path to the cloud.