Modernizing to the latest of anything is a tradeoff between old and new. How much old stuff do you want to maintain while adopting new stuff? Imagine a typical house-buying scenario where you can choose to build a brand-new house from the ground up vs converting an existing house to something equally appealing for your needs. In the latter case, you might have to bring things “up to code,” so to speak or leave things “as is” if they are working just fine.
For any digital transformation initiative within large enterprises, there’s always the case for tradeoffs. How much is at risk for not modernizing vs doing so? Every organization has to decide and make hard decisions. The term legacy technology is often met with a huge sigh and an implication that whatever it is must be outdated and cumbersome. But of course, that is not always the reality.
The Challenge of Multiple Clouds and Legacy Infrastructure
Modern digital services include both provisioning and orchestrating IT resources from one or more private or public cloud environments, such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Compute Engine (GCE), Nutanix Acropolis, or VMware. Enterprises are adopting many new technologies while they have their core IT legacy applications and services running in the data center. They need to bridge the old with the new, and they need to do so effectively.
A key challenge is in the complexity of managing multiple environments. This is due to one or more of the following factors:
- Agile developers and individuals from lines of business are self-provisioning resources outside of central IT departments by using public cloud providers
- Infrastructure and resources are inherited through mergers and acquisitions, as are the processes used to manage them
- New security and compliance standards, such as the recent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), require updates that might not have been previously considered
While integrated solutions have become more attainable with open application programming interfaces (APIs), the expectation of a connected digital ecosystem adds more pressure to the complexity. As such, API management alone has become commoditized. If you can capture data with an API call and make it user-friendly, then you can sell it as a service or differentiate services for potential new business. Upgrades to services such as Amazon Prime or Netflix involves an API data exchange.
Enterprise IT departments that struggle with complexity will have difficulty integrating legacy infrastructure with future technology. They either lack the in-house expertise or cannot afford to hire consultants for a kickstart to achieve better control of the environment. This lack of a centrally managed framework to support emerging technologies and custom environments will soon catch up and their competition will take over.
Leveraging both legacy and future technologies from one place mitigates some of this growing complexity. At one time this was solely achieved by large enterprises with an Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) process to achieve Information Technology Service Management (ITSM). However, matching the digital service needs of the enterprise has dramatically shifted from this ITIL approach.
And, as Rick Kilcoyne, VP of Solutions Engineering at CloudBolt, says, “Cloud offerings just T-boned ITIL right at the intersection.”
You could even suggest that public clouds left the scene of this accident unscathed while ITIL was severely debilitated. Entering an IT service request is still very relevant, but what’s connected on the back end has significantly changed. The more self-service choices, the better.
Harnessing IT complexity in one place now requires an extensible hybrid cloud management platform that connects both legacy and new technologies within cloud environments. The complexity doesn’t go away, but it gets easier to manage. Instead of having multiple teams from different departments managing and accessing resources in separate environments, a central team handles complexity with enterprise-wide visibility and control.
Hybrid cloud management platforms alleviate complexity and improve operational efficiency by:
- Provisioning and orchestrating IT resources to a full range of legacy infrastructure, private data centers, and public clouds
- Providing as much or as little control necessary to end-users depending on their level of expertise for the resources that they need
- Including built-in support for access to the most commonly used IT resources as well as the extensibility to use the same framework to connect to any resource for any workload
- Having the ability to customize the user experience and user interface (UI) with the most relevant views that meet the needs of end-users
There’s a paradoxical nature to this, in that the complexity of IT services now requires yet another cloud to manage the clouds. The way to succeed now is to embrace the complexity by configuring it and managing it behind the scenes so that users consume IT resources from one consistent way, regardless of where it comes from. Leave the complexity to the cloud and IT architects to let end-users get to work.
CloudBolt provides a market-leading cloud management platform that allows almost all aspects of its workflows to be customized. In addition to extending workflows, the user interface can also be extended with custom views to add new or enterprise-proprietary applications. CloudBolt plugins are written as Python scripts and can be shared between CloudBolt workflows and stored in a source code repository such as GitHub or GitLab.