About John Kaleski

John Kaleski is General Manager of Cloud and Solutions for Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand.

Cloud: Where We Are Today

Fujitsu CloudJohn Kaleski reflects on where we have come from, what is important, and where we are heading in the world of cloud.

Four years later and after the first mover cloud announcements it’s time to step back and see where Fujitsu and the industry is at today.

Analysts, suppliers, industry bodies and customers over the last few years have been sharing and learning about the many dimensions of cloud computing. As a result, new markets have been identified each with their own dynamic forces and associated risks. Standards and definitions of the services and functionality supporting these platforms are also becoming more unambiguous..  From a platform perspective, there is a much stronger push ‘up the stack’ however at the base level of IaaS we have many variants including:  Public, Private, Private Hosted Cloud, local, local trusted Cloud, Hybrid Cloud, Clouds enabled by managed services plus emerging personal and community clouds and no doubt many more variations to come.

Consumers understand today that cloud is not always about the lowest price, it’s also about outcomes, functionality, value and risk. Organisations want uninterrupted access to their applications and don’t want to have to worry about the underlying infrastructure.
In cloud there is no such thing as ‘one size fits all’ any more, as there is a Cloud platform to suit almost every business need depending on what the desired outcome is. Speed; high availability, back up, recovery, security, risk management and governance are all important considerations when investigating enterprise cloud platforms. Consequently, different clouds will have different price points to suit the risk profiles and business requirements. Cheapest is not always the best and customers are starting to realise this.

The Paradigm Shift for Software & Hardware Vendors
The tech industry has been forced to change the way its technology is licensed and consumed, architected and solutioned. This is one of the most disruptive periods in our industries history. This is true for suppliers and customers alike, as cloud has fundamentally shifted behaviour and expectations, to the point of no return.
Traditional software and hardware companies are scrambling to change their commercial models to suit the new ‘as-a-service’ purchasing habits of the consumer.

There are many inhibitors to this change. Firstly, traditional ‘on-premise’ revenue streams are cannibalised by the monthly ‘as-a-service’ commercial models that consumers now wish to purchase via. This means that vendors have to change their Sales compensation plans to suit the new way revenue is received. Corporate financial reporting has also changed as a result of the ‘drip feed’ of revenue instead of the lump sum payments received previously. Cloud consumption models also require one of the providers in the delivery value chain to take on risk. Whether it is the Hardware or software provider, the Systems Integrator or the reseller, someone has to take the responsibility of ’build it and they will come’. The participants in the Cloud value chain are getting cleverer with respect to how to build their service to be part of this chain but this part of the industry will take time to mature

…The shift to cloud has some hurdles!
Despite the above learnings we are finding organisations are still experiencing angst with respect to their move to the cloud. This is partly related to the complex interplay of hardware, software investments and services, not forgetting the business processes that overlay this. Therefore traditional infrastructure can not be simply  ‘ripped and replaced’ by cloud platforms, (private cloud especially). It requires a degree of organisational change management including change in processes, practices and policies.

The changing role of infrastructure in the cloud decision
One thing is clear, that is IaaS has matured to a point where customers can choose their IaaS platform based on geographical location, security risk profile, level of management, etc, however for the most part, customers are looking to manage their Service Provider through a SLA. Organisations are becoming less concerned about their Cloud providers’ underlying platform (because they don’t care where their data resides) and more about the level of service they are going to receive.

Cloud consumers are looking for a functionally rich platform at a competitive price point. Which is why the Service provider must take advantage of the latest hardware and software innovations that are being brought to market. This will be the key to their differentiation and ability to secure new business in the future. The service provider must be constantly innovating on their Cloud platform offerings by investing in the new technology innovations being brought to market. Some examples of these innovations can be seen in the form of cheaper & faster storage platforms; functionality rich management platforms; dynamic orchestration tools and powerful reporting engines.

Onshore V Offshore data
Cloud data sovereignty is one topic that has had more than its fair share of discussion. When Fujitsu first began its cloud journey several years ago, data sovereignty was one of the first things to address when having a conversation with an organisation about Cloud. Typically enterprise and government organisations would not even enter into a cloud discussion without first establishing where the ‘cloud’ and in particular their data, was located. Fortunately for Fujitsu we were one of the first to run an enterprise cloud platform from Australian data centres – a quality that played a key role in our engagements with financial institutions and Government departments.

For Government organisations this is still a very important consideration, but for commercial organisations, the location of their data is becoming less of an issue. The main point associated with data sovereignty is still related to security of data. This debate is still raging and like every argument, you will never satisfy everyone. The reality is that the more ‘public’ in nature the platform is, typically the less security features it will be able to offer. Conversely the more dedicated the platform, the greater the level of security able to be offered. This increase in security comes with a consequential increase in cost, which the provider usually has to pass onto the end customer somehow.

The next steps…
On their journey to the cloud, organisations desire a hybrid IT environment under management. This means both physical (albeit virtualised) and cloud environments are managed by the same service provider – the best of both worlds, ultimately being able to migrate virtualised workloads to their cloud environment when required & where appropriate.

This raises the interesting question of cloud management platforms and the ability to seamlessly migrate workloads with minimal touch from the cloud provider. The providers that have this functionality in their cloud offerings have positioned themselves well for future revenue growth. Nirvana is being able to build a Hybrid cloud platform geographically close to a target market with all of the functionality listed above.

Typically, once an organisation has made the decision to purchase services from a hybrid cloud platform provider, they are making a decision that was similar to one that was made years ago – typically called a managed infrastructure outsource agreement. These decisions are relatively ‘sticky’ for service providers, as long as customers are receiving value and their SLAs are being met. Like other Managed Services style agreements, this opens the door to a raft of other cloud-related conversations and the incumbent vendor has the upper hand in leading the customer on their journey to the cloud.

 

Navigating your way through a smorgasbord of Cloud Choices

Over the last couple of years we have seen the Cloud market maturing with a range of new providers offering a variety of new services. It can be very complex for a customer wading through the various offers available.

Given that we have just released our yearly Australian Open Golf Video, which focusses on the theme of Cloud Choice, I have put together some scenarios of varying business requirements and made some suggestions as to the priorities for Cloud that would be important in each case:

If data sovereignty is important to you… Organisations such as Financial Institutions and Government Departments not only value data security and privacy, it is often a requirement for the operational aspects of their business. In this case the only Cloud that suits their requirements is one in which the provider can guarantee that their data is safe and secure and most importantly stays on-shore.  With many providers offering cloud services it is important to speak to your provider to understand exactly where your data will be located and whether they can guarantee that it will not be stored offshore. Specifying storage locations is in some ways contradictory to the very nature of cloud computing so it may be a challenge for providers who either don’t have or have a limited number of data centres in Australia.

If flexibility of capacity is important. Sometimes the biggest driver for a move to the cloud is the need for capacity planning. If you are about to experience a major fluctuation in your business – perhaps caused by seasonal factors or an increase in marketing activity, it is much easier to provision an extra server from your service provider than to procure and provision the capacity. Cloud models allow additional servers to be provisioned and de-provisioned in minutes as opposed to possibly months of planning, ordering, provisioning and testing required to provision the capacity in the conventional way. The ability to self-provision is also an important factor for some organisations and should be factored into your thinking when it comes to your choice of Cloud provider. In this scenario you need to be able to ensure that your provider has the ability to leverage its resources to offer you ‘capacity on tap’.

If you need optimum security and service level requirements for many key applications you may consider adopting a private cloud model. Private cloud allows IT infrastructure to be provisioned under an organization’s control, either on-premise or at a service provider’s facilities.

If you need flexibility in your cloud environment you may consider a hybrid cloud platform that gives you the best of local, global and private cloud platforms. For example, organisations using largely private cloud services can “burst” non-sensitive processing workloads to a public cloud to meet peak or highly elastic workloads. Or, they can split a workload across a global public cloud and a country-specific public cloud — depending on which elements of an application are publicly facing or involve the processing of customer data. Such a sophisticated orchestration means control over data location can be maintained, and governance can be shared across all different cloud types.

Whatever approach you take, you don’t want to go it alone. Cloud computing is not just about technology. Cloud offerings should start with a set of Enablement Services to guide customers through the complex task of responding to individual business needs. Enablement services help to consolidate customers’ on-site demands and other cloud activities with our end-to-end offering . You should also be able to pick up the phone and speak to your Cloud provider at a technical level as well as an account management level, to work with you to define your requirements and enable your transition to the cloud.

When choosing a cloud provider, you need utmost confidence in their ability to deliver. Your provider should also be mature in the marketplace. By this I mean that they should know how to support their customers across their whole business and not just their sales teams. It is the post-sales support and guidance from your provider that can make the journey to the cloud all the more seamless.

If you are already on the cloud journey and want to expand your organisation’s cloud footprint. You should not just consider your provider’s current cloud offerings but should consider their capability development roadmap and their cloud solution development activities. These activities should be across the range of IaaS; SaaS & PaaS offerings. No one can guarantee where Cloud computing technologies will be in 5 – 10 years time, so you need to partner with a provider that has a strong solution development capability. This is so you can be sure that your provider will be able to offer services in-line with where the demand for cloud is heading.

Needless to say, at Fujitsu we can offer our customers a complete range of choices of platform to suit every business need. We invested in a range of cloud platforms a number of years ago and continue to invest and innovate on these platforms. While some of our competitors are still establishing themselves locally we have been providing industrial strength Cloud solutions in Australia for over two years. If you are interested in reading further about the choices you have in Cloud I recommend that you download and read Fujitsu’s White Book of Cloud Adoption. This is an excellent impartial reference to help you to navigate your way through the smorgasbord of choices you have in today’s market.

 

How to address the burning question “will my data be secure in the Cloud?”

Cloud computing is transforming the way IT-based services are delivered to organisations. There are many clear advantages of moving to ‘the cloud’ – reduced capital expenditure, scalability and increased business agility to name a few.

For most organisations, therefore, the journey to cloud is no longer a question of ‘if’ but rather ‘when’, and a large number of enterprises have already travelled some way down this path.

Will my data be secure if I put it in the Cloud?

However, there is one overwhelming question that is still causing many CIOs and their colleagues to delay their move to cloud: ‘Will my data be secure if I put it in the Cloud?’

This question has been the subject of much media attention and expert debate including this recent article in SMH ITPro. Essentially there are too many factors to consider to make a general statement. Organisations need to consider what application will be used, the sensitivity of the information, and above all the credentials of the cloud services provider.

Security in relation to cloud should be treated the same as security in any major IT decision, with the correct checks and balances to ensure all necessary security and risk management measures are covered.

Businesses that are already deep into their cloud programmes are reporting that security, while an extremely important consideration, is not a barrier to adoption.
If you are interested in exploring this topic further, Fujitsu has published a very comprehensive white paper on the issues surrounding Cloud security and how Fujitsu deals with these. It can be downloaded from the following link: The White Book of Cloud Security