Greetings again dear reader! I hope you enjoyed my last post, visiting Gartner IT IOCS conference part 1. Now it’s time for the second day and part 2. Sessions I planned to visit during the second day were as follows:
- Part 2 (THIS ARTICLE)
- The Future of Cloud: Prepare for 2027
- Kick Your Infrastructure-as-Code Journey Into High Gear
- Part 3
- Cloud Platform Operations: How to Deliver Services Like a Cloud MSP
- From Cutting Costs to Measuring the Value of Cloud Deployments
Again, in this article, I will summarize some of the key takeaways per session from my point of view. But before going into that, first quickly insights from the first day evening.
First Day Evening
Once I managed to get out from the conference area, it was time to visit city of London. During my visit, I saw an Amazon Fresh crocery in one corner. Instead of cashiers there was only one guard next to the doors. I had to try it out!
I downloaded the app, added my Amazon account into it, scanned myself in at the gates and did shopping.
Once I had collected all what I need, I just walked away and that’s it! Credit card was charged based on what I collected from the store. And quess what? I tried if the system is so clever that it would recognize if I return a product that I had previously collected. It actually worked! I was only charged from the products I had with me when I walked out of the store. Awesome! 🙂
When I returned back to the hotel, I took a river boat to see what London looks like from the river. Below you can see the Tower Bridge.
Nice view from Thames, isn’t it? 🙂
Okay, but let’s get down to the business and start going through the sessions.
The Future of Cloud: Prepare for 2027
The first session was about Cloud predictions. What the future of Cloud looks like ? The main message was that Cloud is disrupting the scene. While Cloud has been a technology disruptor by this far, in the future it will be a business disruptor.
Following this, organizations will have many different kind of cloud adoption journeys. Those who focus on “technology replacement” will have “replacement journeys” whereas organizations who target to “develop business and innovate” will have “business transformation journey”. It was highlighted that a business-driven strategy coupled with a pragmatic cloud adoption plan is critical for success. I totally agree this while being working with many organizations. Therefore, we have actually concepted “Business Driven Cloud Transformation” approach. The point is to keep the business focus in the cloud adoption journey. I can tell you, although it sounds easy, it is not! To succeed, we had to combine transformation and business competence with more technical application and cloud competence.
Recommendations for IT Leaders
Then there was some recommendations for IT leaders to focus on while preparing for the future. To highlight a few, Applications/Software
Engineering leaders were advised to 1) apply agile and DevOps, 2) avoid monolithic solutions, 3) promote joint business-IT development, and 4) promote low-code technologies. These are familiar topics that we are doing already with our customers. If you are interested, check for example how Terveystalo accelerates service development with Solita CloudBlox®.
Infrastructure and Operations leaders were advised to shift from centralized control to adaptive governance. Also building platform teams and capabilities was recommended. This is a trend I can see now already in organizations. Due to the challenge of talent shortage, many organizations have turned into us to provide cloud platform development and operations as a service.
Security and Risk leaders were avised to drive “policy as code” practise. Again, I can see this happening already now. It is a very powerful tool when you can have your cloud policies defined as code. Therefore we also included “policy as code” into our Solita CloudBlox® modern managed cloud services.
Finally, some figures that were presented during the session regarding the future:
- Cloud business is predicted to be huge and it will exceed all other IT markets by 2026 globally reaching 1T$ of value.
- Multicloud expectations of the organizations are going to change since many of the requirements will be unachievable.
- Deglobalization trend will make the sovereign cloud a critical requirements for some of the organizations.
- Industry cloud platforms will be used by 50% of the organizations to boost digital business initiatives.
- Cloud-native development divides so that 70 % of the requirements are fullfiled by hyperscaler capabilities and 30% using containers.
There were also many other insights presented but to move forward I wanted to highlight these ones for you from the serving. Then it was time for a lunch.
Kick Your Infrastructure-as-Code Journey Into High Gear
After the lunch next session was about Infrastructure-as-Code or IaC and how to make most out of it.
Some basics about Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) were first introduced. IaC tooling may have different meanings based on who you talk with. To clarify this, in the session IaC tooling was divided into two different categories and on top of that infrastructure orchestrations was introduced:
- Provisioning automation
- Configuration automation
- Infrastructure Orchestration
First, provisioning automation basically gives you the tools to e.g. define networks, firewall rules or setup virtual machines. Another example would be for example sending alarms to Microsoft Teams channel. Tools like Terraform, Pulumi, AWS CloudFormation, Azure Resource Manager and Google Cloud Deploy can be used for this purpose.
Second, configuration automation gives you the capability for example to define virtual machine configurations. Tools that can be used for this purpose include e.g. Ansible, Chef, Puppet, AWS Systems Manager, Azure Automation and Google Cloud Deploy.
Third, infrastructure orchestration helps to manage orchestration of IaC. That is, provisioning and configuration automation from one central place. Tools like Morpheus Data, Cloudify or Quali can be used as infrastructure orchestration platforms.
Extend Use of IaC
But what is then the next step you can take to utilize infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) in your organization? Four add-on dimensions were highlighted as follows to extend use of IaC:
- IaC testing to validate and find possible errors in Infrastructure as Code (IaC).
- IaC security to detect, prevent and remediate security risks in Infrastructure as Code (IaC).
- IaC cost to automatically output the cost of resources and to show how that cost evolves from one deployment to the next one over time.
- IaC mapping to overcome common state management issues and to create IaC from manually-provisioned public cloud resources.
Adopting infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) is not a straightforward to do, albeit it brings a lot of benefits for the organization. The following challenges were raised that you need to be aware of:
- hard to build necessary skills in Infrastructure and Operations teams
- hard to have consistent coding practises for infrastructure
- hard to know where to start due to the vast amount of different options
These challenges we at Solita have learned to overcome. Of course we don’t have the problem where to start. Still, however, we need to continuously train new people IaC skills and train how modern infrastructure development and operations is managed. You might have noticed yourself that it is not always easy to combine sysadmin, infrastructure and coding competences.
That was about the infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) session.
So, that was the first part of the second day! There were many interesting topics, some of them futuristic but some of them very pragmatic. To put it into a nutshell, let my briefly summarize the output for the first part of the second day sessions:
Public cloud, as we see it today, will considerably change its form during the next few years. Public cloud will spread from “public Internet” to the edge, on-premises, and eventually everywhere enabling so called “Distributed Cloud”.
Public cloud will not be just a technology disruptor anymore but will disrupt the businesses. This is due to the fact that competition and speed of innovation will eventually push Cloud hyperscalers to fight against commoditization. To meet the requirements of the speed of innovation, the abstraction level of public clouds will increase. This will mean that in the future the public cloud will be faster to configure (e.g. with Infrastructure as Code (IaC)) and they will provide “out-of-the-box” solutions for organizations in different industries.
Infrastructure as Code (IaC) based development and deployment will get closer and closer to the software development practises. This includes testing, versioning, releasing, orchestration and ways-of-working to name a few. Skills gap, however, prevents organizations to utilize the full potential of Infrastructure as Code (IaC).
First part of the second day (part 2) covered. Thanks for reading! I hope you got again new insights and ideas from this article. Next time I will go through the final part (part 3) of the blog series. Until then, bye!