Moving data centres to the cloud to avoid shadow IT

A panel of speakers at the Gartner IT Infrastructure Operations and Data Centre Summit 2014 shared their thoughts on how businesses are moving their data centres into the cloud.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

The emergence of the digital economy is no longer new news to organisations, but knowing how to optimise and transform their data centres without compromising them has left many IT departments questioning what the best way to go about it is, a panel at the Gartner IT Infrastructure Operations and Data Centre Summit 2014 in Sydney said today.

"The old ways of doing business aren't working anymore and organisations are having to respond to different pricing models, going to the internet of your brick and mortar, having more mobile applications, so we really have to respond faster as an organisation to this digital economy," said David Coyle, Gartner Research managing vice president. "If the business is having to respond quicker, then you as an IT organisation will have to respond quicker than ever before."

Coyle alluded to three key strategies that can help businesses make the shift to "tame the digital dragon" easier. These include renovating core systems; looking how to source the infrastructure and take existing data and leveraging it, such as looking towards moving to the cloud; and creating a bimodal structure that will enable agile movement between providing traditional and non-linear services.

Adam Wilkinson, data centre segment manager, Schneider electric, said he is already seeing a lot of businesses look at the cloud — whether it's a hybrid model, on-premise, or a third-party service provider — as an option to create a more agile and transparent environment, in order to make educated decisions about how they move their workflow from one environment to another.

"We're seeing the whole gamut of people certainly moving to a cloud model or data services centre model. There's still a fair chunk that is still in on-premise. The message that we're hearing is customers don't want an all or nothing approach," he said.

"They want a data centre ecosystem where they can have the cheaper applications delivered by a cloud model whether there's public, private, or hybrid. They might look at their applications and decide a group of applications can be delivered very effectively through an outsource model and a third-party provider. But there might be other applications they might want to keep in-house, whether that's for sovereignty reasons or security reasons."

ServiceNow office of chief strategist officer Chris Pope said the benefits of deploying public cloud is that it provides the elasticity, capacity, and transparency that businesses are after, without the costs often associated with virtual machines and workflow automation.

"Our customers are doing a lot of that because they realise they can't do it themselves, they can't move fast enough, or in some cases it's just cost prohibitive," he said.

"It's expensive to stand another active/active data centre installation, unless you have a compelling event to do it, that's just funds you may never need, and you commit a massive amount of money to. But when you really need it, that's when you should spend the money."

Cisco data centre enterprise architect Shaun Kerr agreed saying that deploying data to the cloud, particularly to the public cloud, will help businesses and IT departments overcome the sudden challenge that they're faced with of how to innovate, be agile, and reduce cost in the digital environment after being "fairly static" the past few years.

"We're going to end up with a hybrid cloud, and going to public cloud is the gate that opens up to it. We need to bring internal existing systems, push them out to the public cloud, or 'cloudify' them, in order to federate the whole thing," he said. "We're seeing the drivers for business is innovation and agility."

Wilkinson pointed out organisations in the government, banking, and finance sectors are making the most rapid move to the cloud. This is in comparison to other industries such as local government, education, and utilities where the uptake has been slower.

"We see organisations that are perhaps getting more funding from capex and grants are slower to move to this third-party cloud environment," he said.

Pope concluded that in order for businesses to stop "shadow IT", it's necessary for them to "get on the bus and be part of that transformation journey".

Editorial standards