Authored by: Azrin Abd Shukor, Country Manager, NetApp Malaysia & Brunei
They say every cloud has a silver lining and looking at the cloud most familiar to us at NetApp, we could not agree more. Many enterprise leaders have witnessed the true value of cloud at the back of the pandemic, and sentiments on the technology have improved greatly in the region. IDC in a July update predicted that cloud would remain top technology investment priority for ASEAN organisations this year, forecasting a 26% growth for IaaS, 38.5% for PaaS and 22.8% for SaaS.
The transformative cloud model can be categorised into three major types: public cloud (IT services delivered by third-party provider across the Internet), private cloud (dedicated cloud solution for use by a single organisation), and hybrid cloud (a mix of on-premises infrastructure, or private clouds, with public clouds). Of these, most enterprises have found the hybrid cloud technology as the most ideal with the integration of flexibility, control, and effectiveness that allows them to tap into resources based on actual needs, scale and at the right cost.
For enterprises seeking to fast-track and reap the rewards from their IT journey, combining cloud and DevOps framework – the collaboration between developers and Ops, to make faster and better-quality software or production releases – may seem obvious and many experts would agree both components are perfect together. Yet, the rush-to-the-release mentality has left enterprises with hybrid-cloud architectures surprised when the outcomes do not match their expectations.
DevOps As a Process and a Culture
DevOps is not just about software development. It is a process and a culture that requires enterprises and teams to learn new roles, set new expectations, and adopt a new pace to ensure everyone who shares in the life cycle of an application can work together without being bogged down by the complexity of IT infrastructures. A healthy DevOps culture gets your dev and ops teams to pull in the same direction, communicate and understand each other’s problems and reach agreeable solutions together. This can be achieved by revamping your teams or re-visiting their scope of work, while ensuring clear segregation of duties.
The hunger to improve processes and deliver faster results impact every single person in the organisation. To rein in the rush-to-the-release mentality, organisations must ensure that there is a clear IT roadmap that ties to your business priorities. This roadmap should also be supported with the right tools and endorsed by your leaders. This allows the teams to work together instead of just delivering configured infrastructure and handing over responsibility back and forth between them, which often results in waste of time, disrupted productivity and ultimately loss in revenue.
For cloud and DevOps to deliver their collective value, these changes and more must happen at the same time as each component is equally critical to the other. Cloud needs to be built around DevOps, and many of the decisions around DevOps implementation tied to the cloud should therefore be made in tandem.
Rebalancing Operations After Cloud While Addressing Shadow IT
After rushing to the cloud, enterprises may find that the infrastructure is not the right fit for many of their legacy applications. Some functions will not work correctly or could not be transferred and ultimately, organisations find themselves needing to bring back applications that were not built for cloud on premise. With infrastructure team shrinking and application team expanding, it will be imperative for organisations to invest in developing microservices around their legacy applications, to mask the legacy components and create services that advance their businesses, with full automation.
However, organisations should also be mindful of shadow IT, defined as the use of IT-related hardware or software that are managed outside without the knowledge of the organisation’s IT or security teams. Ideally, DevOps and the application team should be given access to the resources they need in a timely manner and not struggle with an unfamiliar resource provisioning system. But when a job needs to be done on a deadline, some may resort to bypassing IT and security teams to tap into resources they need urgently. This could potentially lead the organisation to more complex issues including negligence, policy and security violations, leak of sensitive information and in the worst case scenario, the heightened risk for cyberattacks.
While eradicating shadow IT projects is extremely difficult, it can be managed with DevOps. Done right, enterprises could turn the situation around by improving their development, operations, and security through best practices and willingness to address small but high-priority business initiatives quickly. For instance, make sure shadow IT projects are within the bounds of IT processes or tools already in place, and have a person from IT or security teams be part of it to monitor the progress. In helping your IT teams to manage their delivery time, a clear IT roadmap can help teams prioritise key requirements without needing to resort to shadow IT projects to chase after messy deadlines or asks.
Leveraging Technologies to Ensure Business Success
In this era of services and microservices, enterprises struggle to take advantage of innovations seamlessly. As Malaysian organisations look to accelerate their digital transformation, NetApp believes that leaders need to have a forward-thinking mindset and be agile to act quickly or say no to previously made technological investments. Conversely, IT investments still need to be made but it should be without an immediate goal around ROI, as future-proofing the DevOps culture and IT environment is a continuous process for the organisation.
A hybrid-cloud experience, delivered through the NetApp Data Fabric and Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure (HCI) will allow enterprises to provide an experience based on frictionless consumption, self-service, automation, programmable APIs, and infrastructure independence. It also allows them to deploy hybrid cloud services between traditional and new applications, and between data centres and public clouds quickly and efficiently, with the same user experiences regardless where the resources reside. The hybrid-cloud experience will allow organisations to leverage all available technologies, including new innovations and traditional legacy applications, to advance their business goals and drive success with the speed to market especially during this economic recovery period.