Cloud and datacentre warnings for CIOs

As cloud computing enters mainstream, datacentre and cloud experts warn CIOs about IT trends that are too big to ignore

As cloud computing enters the mainstream, datacentre and cloud experts have some warnings about IT trends that are just too big to ignore. Here are four cloud and datacentre messages the experts want CIOs to take note of.

If you can’t leverage on DevOps, you can’t take advantage of the cloud

DevOps is an IT practice of merging the tasks performed by a company's application development and those performed by the systems operations teams. The rise of software-defined infrastructure and cloud computing call for enterprises to tear down the silos between the development and operation teams.

In a traditional IT set-up, the application development team understands the business needs and writes codes and the software program. The program is then handed down to the testing and development team, which tests the apps in isolation. If the testing is successful, the development team then sends the program or software back to the operations team to be rolled out to users. But working in isolation leads to frustration and inefficiencies, as each team does not understand the limitations or challenges of the other.

“CIOs need to understand and embrace DevOps,” said Tim Crawford, CIO strategic advisor at consulting firm Avoa, at the Datacentres Europe 2014 conference.

CIOs need to understand and embrace DevOps

Tim Crawford, Avoa

The DevOps approach allows the teams to work together and release smaller, more frequent updates to increase efficiency, reduce errors and improve IT quality. “In the age of cloud, IT is all about value creation,” he said. “CIOs need to think and act differently. To truly leverage the cloud, they need to leverage DevOps.” 

DevOps is reshaping IT in the cloud era, experts said. Using tools such as GitHub will help the teams to merge and manage version control issues.

This is because enterprise use cloud for testing and simulations tasks as it is quick to provision, agile and cheaper than in-house IT. Development and operations teams working together on cloud projects will shorten the testing lifecycle, increase transparency and help them take the product in live production environment. 

“DevOps is an amalgamation of the two elements. Gone are the days when silo IT teams could say ‘I’m doing only my apps bit’,” warned Duncan Johnston-Watt, founder of CloudSoft Corporation.

Traditional datacentres are not ready for the internet of things (IoT)

Another warning to CIOs from datacentre and cloud experts at DCE 2014 was about datacentres’ capacity to handle the Internet of Things.

IoT is a phenomenon where non-IT or telecommunications objects are connected wirelessly and communicate with machines. Wearable technology such as Google Glass, or British Gas’s project Hive which enables you to control central heating via your mobile devices, are examples of IoT.

Traditional datacentres, platforms and applications simply cannot handle the internet of things

Tim Crawford, Avoa

CIOs thinking that IoT is something that will happen in the future and that they will not have to deal with it in their enterprises may be in for a shock as it is coming thick and fast, said Crawford. “IoT impact on data is huge. Our traditional datacentres, platforms and applications simply cannot handle IoT,” he said.

Experts at DCE 2014 said far too much data is created every day, making traditional data management tools redundant. “New automation and visualisation tools are no more just ‘nice to have’ elements,” said Crawford. 

He gave an example of data explosion in the airline industry: "US regional airline Southwest Airlines operates more than 600 Boeing 737s. Their engines alone spit out 256 petabytes of data per day from 5,600 different data points. Imagine being its CIO – how will you handle such amounts of data?” But managing this data with predictive analytics tools is important because it will help improve safety and customer service for the business, he added.

The experts called CIOs to re-engineer their IT infrastructure to be ready to face IoT and big data issues.

Cloud computing is mainstream IT and it is changing everything

“The economics [price promise] of cloud is so compelling that it has become a mainstream method of doing enterprise IT,” said CloudSoft's Johnston-Watt.

Cloud is changing everything – how we consume IT, how we work, how we source things, how we communicate and how we distribute and sell things, experts said.

You have to start doing cloud now if you haven’t already

Tobias Hollwarth, EuroCloud Europe

“You have to start doing cloud now if you haven’t already,” warned Tobias Hollwarth, board member of EuroCloud Europe. “It has never been a good strategy or economically clever move to join the race last.”

Hollwarth especially urged European CIOs to devise a cloud computing strategy, warning that Europe could be left far behind in the race: “If devices are produced in Asia and if IT services innovation is coming from the US, what happens to Europe?”

He said a majority of CIOs either do not care, or do not have the budget or resources to effectively embrace cloud computing. “Cloud is not an IT tool that can be implemented overnight. It is a sea change that requires due diligence and planning and enterprises need to begin the process now,” Hollwarth said.

Ignore BYOD at your own risk

As many as 44% of CIOs have not implemented a bring your own device (BYOD) strategy in their enterprises because they are worried about security issues, according to Alan Hartwell, Oracle's European vice-president of security. 

“This means many companies are locking themselves out from potential productivity gains and are making themselves look almost pre-historic to their staff,” he said.

According to Hartwell, it is the large enterprises that are more reluctant to embrace BYOD, citing security issues. These enterprises are using outdated security tools to beat security challenges and therefore fail to justify a BYOD strategy, he warned.

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