Three takeaways from Gartner IT IOCS Conference
3,300 Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) leaders attended Gartner’s Infrastructure, Operations, and Cloud Strategies Conference to get insight on major trends of cloud adoption and managing cloud infrastructure.
The conference provided the perfect medium to showcase Apptio’s Cloud and Hybrid solution and interface with I&O professionals to better understand the challenges of moving to the cloud.
Here are my three takeaways from the analyst sessions, meetings with customers and prospects, and touring the expo hall.
#1: Migrate the low-hanging fruit first
Gathered at this event, were IT leaders at every stage of the cloud adoption spectrum, from little to no cloud spend to cloud mature.
Most organizations are in the early stages of building out their migration plan—starting with identifying and prioritizing the right workloads for migration.
Gartner analyst, Henrique Cecci, defined the primary factors influencing workload placement decisions as cost, risk, constraints (regulatory, resources, workforce), and business value.
I&O leaders are responsible for enabling the innovation and agility the business demands while reducing costs and risk.
When it comes to workload placement in hybrid IT (a deployment strategy composed of on-premises and cloud infrastructure), Gartner presented these recommendations: as a rule of thumb, start with the “low-hanging fruit” - evaluate legacy application workloads that can be replaced by SaaS applications (CRM, ERP, email).
To unlock increased agility, scalability, and flexibility, businesses should turn to IaaS and PaaS, which are typically ideal for hosting Dev/Test environments, unpredictable workloads, disaster recovery, storage, and innovative technologies (AI, machine learning, quantum computing).
On-prem environments retain their relevancy and are pervasive in industries that are highly regulated/risk-averse, have low-latency requirements, and highly integrated/complex workloads
#2: Embrace multicloud for differentiated services
Gartner’s Sid Nag proclaimed that we have entered the “Cloud Adoption Era 2.0” with 81% of organizations now using multiple clouds.
Moving the low-hanging fruit is the first step in a cloud migration journey. However, moving high-yield workloads isn’t enough to satisfy an organization’s digital transformation strategy.
Enterprises of today are trudging forward to move their complex, business-critical workloads to the cloud, where they are finding that those applications/services aren’t optimally served by a single provider (due to differentiated capabilities between vendors). This leads to the world of multi-cloud and the necessity to embrace it.
Gartner defined multicloud as “bringing multiple cloud services under unified management to serve multiple service models (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS) and multiple delivery models (public, private).” Businesses are vetting multicloud strategies to avoid vendor lock-in, mitigate risk, and leverage differentiated provider services.
Sid advised that organizations should not constrain themselves by the capabilities of a single cloud provider; rather, they need to take advantage of multicloud and choose best-in-class componentry to serve their complex workloads better.
To illustrate this point, imagine a massive, globally-distributed enterprise. Their infrastructure needs may require them to leverage Amazon Web Services for its unmatched global availability and suite of AI/ML tooling, Microsoft Azure for its Active Directory identity access and tight integration with Office 365, and Google Cloud Platform for its compatibility with BigQuery business intelligence.
# 3: Adopt FinOps for fiscal responsibility
Adding to the confusion of workload placement and multicloud, once organizations start adopting cloud, they must grapple with the challenges of managing their cloud spend and optimizing their environments.
Gartner research has found that organizations without a plan for cloud cost management may be overspending by 70% or more
Ron Blair, Gartner
Ed Anderson, VP analyst, warned that “without proper governance, monitoring, and rightsizing, chances are, you won’t be saving money in the cloud.” The key to spending wisely in the cloud starts with understanding your unit cost and managing around that.
Unfortunately, the variable nature of cloud makes understanding the economics of it very difficult. Ed explained, “Cloud can be confusing. What exactly is your unit cost? And it varies. And it can vary by cloud service by provider. And even beyond that, unit of cost can be measured in different increments.” To make I&O lives easier, he emphasized that there are several things organizations can do to manage their cloud costs beyond Native Cloud Financial Management tools, including – implementing a rightsizing strategy, implementing a scheduling policy, AND using Third-Party Cloud Financial Management tools.
However, tools are only effective when practiced alongside these key principles:
- Forecast – most companies do not know where their expenses are coming from. An organization’s ability to predict and plan usage directly impacts their ability to take advantage of discount purchasing.
- Track Costs – IT leaders need to have a mechanism in place to track cloud usage and tie it back to their forecast.
- Control Usage – this is a governance point. To optimize workloads, resources need to be classified (tagging) and monitored. From there, governance is understanding what consumption patterns are happening outside of an organization’s cloud policies, identifying behavior aberrations, and correlating those behaviors to realign/refine policies.
- Optimize – a concept tied to rightsizing. Optimization is a process, not an action. It starts at the beginning of the; rather stage, where applications are assessed by the resources consumed and then deployed into the cloud appropriately sized.
- Buy Smart – there are a lot of opportunities to save money. The three main cloud providers offer discount programs and Reserved Instances (RIs). Organizations that do not make use of these programs are leaving a lot of money on the table.
These best practices fit into the framework of the FinOps operating model – an organizational practice of bringing together finance, technology, and the business to master the unit economics of cloud. The parallels are immediately obvious as the FinOps discipline echoes the need to track and tag consumption to get the fully loaded cost of workloads for accurate forecasting, recover spending tied to underutilized and redundant resources, and to identify usage anomalies.
I was delighted to find that the insights I gathered aligned closely with Apptio’s Cloud and Hybrid solution – a market where we have been differentiating ourselves in to tackle the challenges enterprises encounter with managing hybrid IT, multicloud, and public cloud spending.
As organizations move to the cloud, they are going to need to identify and prioritize migration candidates. Apptio Hybrid Business Management makes it easy for businesses to build their migration plans by showing them the fully burdened cost of their legacy applications, providing cost scenario analysis of hosting these applications in the cloud, and allowing them to track their migrations to plan.
With the expansion of multicloud adoption and the need to institute a culture of cloud cost optimization, Apptio Cloudability offers a best-of-breed, cloud financial management tool to empower organizations with real-time visibility into cloud consumption – cost and utilization, and optimize environments with rightsizing recommendations.
About the Author:
Isaiah is the Product Marketer for Apptio’s Hybrid Business Management. He equips enterprises with tools and best practices to navigate their journeys to the cloud.