The sheer scale of Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona is staggering. Over the space of a week, I had the opportunity to meet with global CIO’s, CMO’s CTO’s and product execs to discuss the business drivers behind hybrid cloud, and in particular how operators are in a prime position to leverage the industrialization of cloud to solve a fundamental challenge facing enterprise: speed without risk.

We showed a live demo of a single platform to deploy and orchestrate diverse applications across multiple clouds (including 8 regions of Amazon Web Services, 9 regions of Google, 8 zones of a private OpenStack cloud and 7 bare metal zones). Demonstrating how with the one platform, Continuum, we are able to use dynamic policy tagging to govern which specific cloud infrastructure each application is deployed to, and more importantly, which specific country/region each application is deployed to. This provides a much-needed cloud affinity capability, based on global compliance, performance, cost, or data security needs. We also demonstrated how policy tagging could be used to migrate an application from one cloud to another cloud, or to have the application run across multiple clouds.

We called it a ‘policy driven platform for hybrid cloud’, but hybrid cloud was just one of the applicable use cases that generated excitement. Discussions over the week covered at least five major use cases for such a platform, and how operators could leverage this capability to add value for enterprise and solve the challenge of providing cloud speed without risk.

The five use cases for a multi-cloud application and data platform include:

  1. Accelerated Deployment & Automation for Devops: A use case for operators to provide developers with the agility they demand, whilst also providing IT operations with the governance and control efficiencies they need.  A new era of Platform-As-A-Service (PaaS) for enterprise, which combines the best of application deployment and automation, with the provision of dynamic policy for IT governance and control.
  2. Hybrid Cloud: A use case for operators to bridge the gap between on-premise enterprise private clouds and external operator public clouds, leveraging Continuum as a common data and application platform for hybrid cloud. One platform to deploy, orchestrate and govern applications across a distributed enterprise hybrid cloud environment, including support for VMware, OpenStack and bare metal.
  3. Multiple Clouds: A use case which expands on the hybrid cloud use case, introducing the ability for operators to include external public clouds (e.g. Amazon Web Services, Google, SoftLayer) as available infrastructure resources, leveraging Continuum as the common data and application platform.  Operators can then add many aspects of differentiating value for the enterprise across the multiple cloud offerings, such as policy to define different cloud usage characteristics for each of the external clouds based on geographic location, cost, performance, security, or other.
  4. Managed Policy Frameworks: A use case for operators to provide compliance and governance for the enterprise, combining Continuum with specialized in-house people and skills to create a managed policy framework service, offering the enterprise various levels of policy compliance. For example; offering standard tick-box style policy options, as well as custom policy design and ongoing management.  This is similar to the way operators provide managed firewalls and intrusion prevention system policies today for enterprise customers to ensure compliance.
  5. Transformation / Modernization: A use case for operators to provide a portfolio of transformation services to the enterprise, where Continuum is used as a platform to accelerate the adoption of new architectures, such as Micro Services or containers (e.g. Docker), or to manage applications across multiple generations of cloud infrastructure as the enterprise evolves toward a future industrialization cloud strategy end point. The goal here is how operators can help unlock and accelerate the new economies of IT across distributed global cloud resources for enterprise.

There is so much discussion across the industry at present about the blurring of current cloud terms SAAS, PAAS and IAAS in favour of the term ‘platform’ – the notion of a unifying platform for applications and data across multiple clouds.  Enterprise want to have true operational insight across their global IT presence to enhance agility and fast decision making, leaving nothing to guess work. The discussions at MWC definitely reinforced this desire, with the demo of Continuum generating some exciting discussions and new ideas about how to get started with enabling such a platform.

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Cloud Operations

Brian Goodman Jones

Brian has experience in bringing to market new disruptive products and services for cloud, hosting, security, software and managed services. A passion to disrupt the status quo and create new business opportunities in high growth markets. Technology, Product, Strategy, Marketing, Co-founder. Currently global strategic product management for Ericsson Cloud & Data Platforms.

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