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Managing the complexities of the cloud

Tiago Fernandes

Tiago Fernandes

Director Cloud Centre of Excellence, Europe at Tech Data
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The cloud is one of today’s most demanded forms of technology, rapidly evolving with new services and updates every other week.

According to IDC’s latest cloud forecast, ‘whole cloud’ spending will surpass $1.3 trillion by 2025. In a similar vein, Canalys recently reported that spending on cloud services in the third quarter of 2021 increased 35% to $49.4 billion. This trend is a testament to the recognised advantages business leaders see in the cloud.

As well as being in high demand, the cloud might also be one of the more misunderstood technologies on the market. Initially, businesses had utopic visions of simplified IT environments with reduced running costs, but many have not found that to be the case. That is not to say that it cannot, and indeed ought not, be the case. However, it is not as simple as was once made out due to the hundreds of cloud services available and their constant evolution.

As cloud adoption grows, particularly in terms of multi-cloud environments, more organisations are grappling with the complexity that needs to be overcome before the benefits can be truly realised. Organisations are turning to the channel to help them manage this complexity, and so this issue of keeping up with all the latest developments is being outsourced to partners. As such, it is becoming their problem. To help overcome this challenge, cloud centres of excellence (CCoE) exist to help support partners and spread cloud expertise through the market. This means that partners draw on the expertise they need, when they need it, as they work with their customers to reduce their IT complexity and costs whilst making their business more scalable.

A constantly changing picture

Public cloud vendors are constantly bringing new innovations to their solutions. It has been known that each of these cloud vendors have more than 300 cloud services (from IaaS, PaaS and SaaS) and these services get updated constantly with new feature developments to be launched in a matter of a couple of weeks.

This means that channel partners are persistently supporting their customers in assessing which features are most useful to them, how they can optimise them, and what changes they need to make to their cloud environments to do so. Compounding this, the move to cloud means that people’s skills are no longer aligned to managing networking, compute, or storage in vendor silos.

Cloud environments require a broader knowledge base, and this is difficult for partners to attain in the face of a skills shortage. With a CCoE, highly knowledgeable cloud architects can be called upon augment a partner’s team, supporting them across a range of topics from leading IaaS platforms to application specific workloads. This ensures that partners know that they can always access the knowledge they need to meet a customer’s requirements.

Increase in flexibility

Partners can also work with a CCoE to triage undesirable cloud outcomes as and when they happen, ultimately covering their skills gap while delivering projects to their end customers. For instance, by using dashboards and monitoring businesses can facilitate communication and manage the cloud environment. Without proper configurations, security gaps might put an organisation’s data at risk. Businesses can now mitigate these risks though an experienced team of experts.

Speed matters

For large organisations looking to adopt cloud solutions, a CCoE can help achieve the velocity required for a smooth transition to cloud as opposed to trial-and-error efforts. As businesses accelerate innovation and migration efforts, the CCoE will work with partners to properly design, deploy and configure new and existing multi-cloud environments to ensure minimal costs and increased business agility.

Without the right expertise, it is very easy for these multi-cloud environments to become highly complex and, by extension, costly, as many organisations have found to their cost in recent years. The CCoE can provide the guidance to help teams complete these large and complicated projects faster and more effectively.

How can this work in practice?

As more systems are being integrated, it is vital businesses are armed to cope with this level of complexity, otherwise they will face performance and security issues. This is placing significant demand on the channel as they work to meet the unique needs of their clients. However, having all the skills to meet this need is not a given, whilst gaining the broad range of skills necessary can be a difficult transition for those partners who have developed a deep specialism in specific technologies and vendors. Our goal is to research and architect cloud solutions that empower partners to achieve great outcomes with technology.

If you are a partner and your customer wants to migrate to the cloud, there are many requirements and business outcomes to consider and a long journey to take. Does the customer want an IaaS or PaaS platform? A high availability? Who will understand your current infrastructure and design the new future environment? Do you need POC to get familiar with technology and proof its value for your business? Who will migrate the workloads? In helping to match the unique requirements and characteristics necessary for their customer, partners can work alongside a centre of excellence to address these queries and deliver the full end to end solution, enabling the partner is to secure the deal.

Ultimately, the pandemic has accelerated the supply side demand for cloud service. This is a major market opportunity, but also a challenge as this puts pressure on partners to meet unique needs of each of their clients. A CCoE is built to support partners, amplifying cloud expertise to ensure they can design and migrate their clients to the cloud supported with confidence and without many of the pitfalls that have plagued the industry in recent years.

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