I have an app. It needs hosting on an infrastructure. I need to be able to deploy ten updates to the app each day. I need to be able to scale it up, out and in. I need it to have the best economics possible (both opex and capex). I need it to comply with my IT policies for protecting data. I don’t want to have to buy or build anything new. I want to leverage existing processes. And I want to be able to change my mind and do it a different way tomorrow.
Oh, and I need it done now.
Sound familiar? It starts as a business idea built as software, but quickly turns into a complex technology decision that will impact how successful the business idea becomes. We get caught in the technology, dictating how things need to be done. We wonder, maybe the next wave of cloud & IT will enable us to achieve true business outcomes. Maybe it will solve the issues I have with the way we did it last time. But each time we enter a technology discussion, it sometimes seems like things are getting more complex, not less. We need a PaaS. We need Docker. We need Containers. A hybrid cloud. But which one? Which standard? Do I need more people?
Funnily enough I did a demo the other day showing how to deploy a global load balanced app using a PaaS using a service gateway using containers using multiple clouds (e.g. AWS, GCE, OpenStack). At least at a technology layer that’s what I demonstrated, but at a business level I was showing how to quickly enable a new business venture using the most appropriate and optimized infrastructure. I had access to all available assets and could choose which economic, security and delivery method made the most sense for the business venture I was delivering. I was not bound by the technology.
To really step ahead and achieve the benefits of cloud computing, both economic and disruptive, we need to embrace an industrial model – where infrastructure, applications and data become a continuously improving enabler and differentiator under one operational and economic domain. This means thinking bigger than any one standard or approach. It also means breaking the generational cycle of IT in which we continuously find ourselves. We need to become consumers of IT, with immediate access to the always evolving ecosystem of cloud infrastructures, standards and delivery models.
But if things are getting more complex, how do we do it? We need an open platform that helps us achieve four fundamental imperatives:
- Leverage all the cloud assets: There are many cloud infrastructure assets out there (e.g. Amazon, Google, Microsoft, OpenStack, VMWare) , each with differing characteristics (e.g. economics, performance, security, geo-location). Our IT approach should make all cloud assets available, with the ability to consume and optimize use according to each business venture.
- Embrace workload diversity: There are many reasons why an application might be coded in a particular programming language and/or deployed in a specific manner (e.g. skills, outsourced, speed, performance, re-use, etc). We need to be able to embrace the best language and mechanism required to support the business idea. Our IT approach should not dictate what we use.
- Automate across open standards: Open standards are important. Standards are developing for clouds, containers, for storage, for orchestration. Some are vendor led and some foundation led. Standards will change and evolve. Our IT approach should be built upon these standards, but not constrained or locked in by them. Automating across standards allows us to break the generational cycle.
- Do pervasive governance: Almost every business idea and app leverages some form of data as its core asset. Data creates unique customer experiences and generates value from its use and degree of accessibility. Our IT approach needs to govern all aspects of how our data assets are accessed and distributed. The implementation of policy needs to be dynamic, pervasive and foundational.
Achieving these four imperatives would provide us with true freedom to build our apps the way we want, provide access to the most appropriate IT infrastructure and standards to meet the business drivers, and ensure our data assets are where they need to be.
Ericsson in partnership with Apcera is attempting to solve this exact problem. And we’re not just talking ambition, this is real capability that fully supports the imperatives above. With the Apcera platform, an enterprise is able to orchestrate the delivery of diverse workloads, optimized across standards and cloud infrastructures, with governance baked in. The Apcera approach eliminates traditional generation cycles of IT, empowering global operators and enterprise to finally capitalize on the true promise of cloud computing: speed without risk with industrial economics.
Watch this screencast to learn more: A Modern Cloud Platform