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The coronavirus has accelerated the shift to the cloud and many organisations have carried out years’ worth of digital transformation in just a few months.
But the channel is being reminded that those changes over the last few months have not just been technical, but will also have a cultural impact on customer organisations that will need to be addressed.
Kevin Bland, director of partners and alliances at Red Hat, said the pandemic had fuelled the move to cloud and more organisations were looking at increasing the data they allowed to go off-site.
“Organisations have taken their first step of moving into the cloud way before 2020,” he said. “But we’re seeing organisations move non-core functions, things that are non-business critical, and you know you can suffer with downtime.”
Bland added that it was not just “migrating things, but actually modernising things”, and that had an impact on the way people worked and on the culture of a workplace.
“We spend a lot of time talking to our customers about cultural change,” he said. “You know before talking about things like modernising applications, it’s how you change the way you think and the way you work and the way your teams interact.”
What that means for many customers in practical terms is coming to grips with containers and the possibilities that the technology offers.
It is also a moment when the channel needs to be aware that there are different options they can put in front of customers, particularly those that feel they have gone as far as they can with server virtualisation.
“Server virtualisation is a great emulation layer to migrate applications into the cloud on to a broken-down server environment, so you can be more efficient, but it’s not going to get you to the modernisation on its own,” said Bland. “You need to think about replacing that server virtualisation layer with containers that are much smaller, much more agile and much more secure in their design.
“Companies taking that approach can change a little bit of code, enhance it, roll it out, deploy it anywhere securely and then backtrack if it’s not quite working right for those test users or just rolling out en masse to the rest of the user base. What they don’t have is huge estates of servers running.”
Bland said Red Hat was putting itself at the forefront of the container revolution and was keen to take the channel with it.
He said the first phase had seen partners with their own datacentres get involved, but the second wave had come to it with the option of using a public cloud infrastructure.
“We probably have more conversations with organisations that are moving towards that partnering model than anything else,” he said. “To be precise, that partnering model is where they don’t own their own datacentre and work with a third party for that provision, but they’re presenting themselves as a cloud service provider to their customers.
“We are open for business and are trying to help. What we offer is the assistance to help their customers move through the pain of that change. You know the cultural setup, the way in which they work, and the way in which they interface all parts of their organisations.”