2021 IT Ops Prediction: Cloud - Part 1
March 03, 2021
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When we talk about accelerated digital transformation, a lot of it is embodied in the move to cloud computing. However, the "journey to cloud" will not be uniform across organizations and industries, says Sendur Sellakumar, Splunk's CPO and SVP of Cloud. The uncertainty of the pandemic means that in 2020, many organizations tried to rein in spending to get some last value out of existing infrastructure investments.

Yet some things you can't skimp on, and if you suddenly have thousands of workers forced to connect from home, you have new needs for SaaS services and cloud resources that must be met. But the challenge of the cloud is not just spending money on new resources. It takes time, and talent, to manage any transition to the cloud. Yet cloud will be even more essential as the economy stabilizes toward a new normal. IT teams will transform into much more cloudcentric organizations — not just for efficiency and scale, but because of the elevated importance of resilience.

Cloud services can provide greater resilience in a world more prone to disruptive pandemics, wildfire seasons that engulf the entire US West Coast or the continent of Australia, brutal heat waves in southern and central Europe, and hurricanes that batter the US East Coast and South on an annual basis.

"Cloud offers a lot of flexibility and adaptability," Sendur Sellakumar notes. Having your data backed up in multiple cloud centers, for one thing, helps if disaster strikes your data center. "You want nimbleness in your business against the realities that your business faces. How do you adapt to disaster? Cloud and other tools enable you to be resilient to that change."

Prediction: Moving fast breaks things. There will be a lot of failure and waste in 2021

You can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. But it's harder to cook something up while also trying to put out a kitchen fire. That metaphor may not work, technically, but it kinda paints the picture: Our rapid response to the shutdown of physical reality has often included a pell-mell rush to digital environments, and some chaos will ensue.

Quickly implemented solutions to pandemic challenges, and the complexity of a multicloud world, will create problems of performance and security. Performance failures will result from gaps in technology and process as you unravel years of legacy complexity and struggle with new APIs, refactoring applications for the cloud, etc.

Security issues are the most problematic. These, Sellakumar says, result from not having a handle on new procedures. The innovation-enabling flexibility of the cloud still requires guardrails, he says.

"I hold briefings with our customers, and 99 out of 100 will say that their developers can spin up a server on Amazon or Azure on their standard model," he says. "So I'll ask whether the company mandates a policy on that server so that it never can touch the internet. A much smaller percentage says that's the case. Then I ask, 'Well, do you restrict what you can upload to that server? Like a purchase order or a customer list, for example.' Maybe a few hands are still up. These are the kinds of new security considerations you have as you move to the cloud."

It's very easy to turn to the cloud to, say, run some quick BI analytics. But policies around what data goes where, and how it's protected, must be implemented and socialized.

Besides security and performance, there is a third vector of potential cloud failure: cost control. The celebrated beauty of the cloud is that you can spin up resources as you need them, and then decommission — and stop paying for — them when you don't. But that requires procedures to evaluate and scale down at the right time. It requires centralization of cloud resource management.

This is an excerpt from the ebook: Splunk IT Operations Predictions 2021

Go to: 2021 IT Ops Prediction: Cloud - Part 2

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