• Four reasons why your company might not be ready for DevOps just yet
    by bhanusingh on February 20, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    Let’s get one thing straight: I’m a huge fan of DevOps. It has been shown to increase quality, reduce problems, and shorten development cycles. It’s often considered a panacea for large organisations looking to transform their development, production and operational lifecycles. But is it right for every business? Companies that do it successfully can reap the benefits of continuous deployment and testing, but companies that fail get trapped in endless loops of missed deadlines. There are some criteria that any IT team should investigate before making the transformational shift to CI/CD. It involves taking a hard look at the existing culture, process, and even management style. There’s no shortage of ink spilled on articles that try to convince you why DevOps is the future. Instead, I want to focus on when and why DevOps doesn’t work to truly help identify if it’s right for you. Is the culture ready? Because the transformation to DevOps is simultaneously a change in process, tools, and philosophy, it requires a cultural shift in collective mindset that’s fraught with potential failure. DevOps success relies on three Cs: communication, collaboration, and coordination between different teams (including software developers, quality, operations teams, and executive stakeholders). The first challenge is to understand and unpack how these groups are aligned and interrelated. Then, the executive leadership must develop a working model of communication between them with incremental milestones to gradually shift culture toward more openness and connectivity. If your business is too siloed or relies on legacy organisational structure, chances are good that this cultural shift may prove to be too difficult. I’ve seen it often fail in large organisations with entrenched leadership or processes. Some companies could be hundreds of years old, while others could be the latest and greatest modern organisations that are simply stuck in their existing ways. And if the culture won’t change, then the actual DevOps process is ultimately doomed. Can the structure handle it? DevOps is highly culture-dependent, but it also requires a shift in how software is architected, built, tested and deployed. At first, this may seem like common sense, but in reality, it’s often not discussed during the transition. Monolithic software architecture with complex dependencies between different layers and teams can cause a DevOps evolution to struggle and fail. Often, quality is sacrificed in the name of agility and speed. Organisations using a modern, cloud-native microservices architecture are typically more successful in adopting a DevOps practice. In these organizations, product or service teams can operate independently while staying aligned toward the ultimate business goals or customer experience objectives. The company is already broken into purpose-built sprint pipelines that can move with agility. Where to begin? Identify the warning signs Before building your DevOps roadmap, it’s critical to spend some quality time soul-searching and stress testing your organisational culture. If you see any of these, you might face some steep uphill challenges in your evolution: Your company has a well-defined process: Companies that are already in love with their culture and software development process will cling to it with white knuckles. These companies resist change and might not fit the DevOps profile Your company wants to dive in head first: If your company just wants a DevOps process because it’s trendy and innovative, you might not be ready for it. Proper implementations require a true understanding of business outcomes with pros and cons. Remember, it’s a mindset, not just a movement Your company wants a “department of DevOps”: Trying to create DevOps as a separate department, without bringing current Dev and Ops teams together, is a recipe for failure. DevOps isn’t a side hustle. It’s transformational Your company has fiefdoms: Organisations whose Development and Ops teams are highly distributed and isolated from each other could struggle to bring them together without providing each team with some common leadership. In short, DevOps must become the culture of the organisation, driven by the CEO and his/her team of functional and organisation leaders with a clear understanding of the implications and outcomes. It’s a mindset that requires a transformation in process, organisation, technology, and information to drive a meaningful, sustainable change. The rewards are huge. But as with any potential upside, your company will have to work for it. Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more. […]

  • Google Cloud acquires Alooma to bolster enterprise data migration capabilities
    by James on February 20, 2019 at 11:42 am

    Google Cloud chief executive Thomas Kurian promised an aggressive approach to enterprise cloud strategy going forward – and the company has immediately put its money where its mouth is with the acquisition of California and Tel Aviv-based startup Alooma. Alooma aims to solve a key problem for enterprise organisations in their move to the cloud by offering a single data pipeline which is able to crunch data from various sources, from Snowflake, to Google-tied BigQuery, Azure and Amazon RedShift, to provide real-time insights. The company, which had received around $15 million across three funding rounds during its tenure, had previously been a long-term partner of Google with several native integrations, from Google Ads and Analytics to database service Cloud Spanner, not to mention BigQuery. Its roster of customers includes OkCupid, Sony, and The New York Times, which already uses Google App Engine for its gaming platform, having moved from Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2017. In a letter to Alooma’s customers and partners, published on the company’s blog, founders Yoni Broyde and Yair Weinberger noted the evolutionary nature of the acquisition. “The journey is not over,” Broyde and Weinberger wrote. “Alooma has always aimed to provide the simplest and most efficient path toward standardising enterprise data from every source and transforming it into actionable intelligence. “Joining Google Cloud will bring us one step closer to delivering a full self-service database migration experience bolstered by the power of their cloud technology, including analytics, security, AI, and machine learning,” they added. From Google’s perspective the acquisition focuses on three primary areas; the need for open source, the continued enterprise push, as well as bolstering its Israel presence. Writing in a blog, VP engineering Amit Ganesh and director of product management Dominic Preuss noted parallels with Google’s acquisition of cloud migration provider Velostrata last year, which ticked all three boxes. Earlier this month, Kurian told delegates at a Goldman Sachs conference of his vision for the company and how its cloud offering differs from the likes of AWS and Azure. These were, in order, security and reliability for mission critical applications; hybrid and multi-cloud; ‘very advanced’ AI solutions; ‘vastly different’ capabilities for managing data at scale; and ‘integrating a number of Google’s technology advances with cloud to deliver industry solutions.’ The proposed acquisition of Alooma certainly focuses on managing data at scale, as well as promised initiatives around AI and machine learning – so watch this space. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more. […]

  • Exploring a data-centric approach to data privacy as cloud workloads proliferate
    by James on February 19, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    If your organisation, like many others, is putting more and more data into the cloud, you will already know that it’s probably making your security team have kittens. Greater amounts of data being transported in real-time – not to mention the vastly increased number of mobile devices and attack vectors – means the chances for catastrophe have proliferated. A new study from data protection provider Virtru has looked at the steps for taking a ‘data-centric’ approach to data protection and privacy. The report, conducted by Forrester Research and which polled more than 200 director, VP and C-suite employees across security, risk and IT, argues organisations’ current IT priorities are conflicting – and that data protection is not high on the list. Almost half (46%) of those polled said that they were adopting a data-centric approach to data protection – defined in the report as “abandoning traditional perimeter-based security strategies and focusing on securing the data… on peripheral systems, devices, [and] networks” – because they were putting more and more business data into the cloud. The same number said they were particularly concerned around protecting data from cybercriminals, as well as insider theft and abuse. When it came to the primary capabilities organisations needed to execute data-centric protection, 85% of respondents said enforcing access control was either critical or very important. Encrypting data stored in cloud drives (79%), as well as encrypting data in motion and at rest within the enterprise (79%), were also highly cited. The key issue in putting this important approach across is prioritisation. For those polled, the key aim this year is to deliver IT projects more quickly (45%). 41% said a major aim was to better comply with privacy regulations, while shifting resources to improve the customer experience (37%) and increasing the business’ role in defining the priorities of IT investments (35%) were also cited. Naturally, there is an impasse between those who see the need for greater productivity in the organisation and those who see greater security. 39% said they feared data privacy controls would hinder productivity, while a third (34%) said their companies lacked staff with sufficient data privacy expertise. 30% said there was confusion around the differences between data privacy and security. Yet there are a multitude of benefits to a data-centric protection approach. Almost half (49%) of those polled said the move would improve their organisation’s ability to meet regulatory requirements, while reduction of data theft (47%) and lowered risk of data loss (47%) were also key. “As IT organisations seek to find ways to deliver on their initiatives more quickly and with a greater focus on regulatory compliance, many struggle to keep these two objectives from conflicting with one another,” the report concluded. “To address these challenges, firms are turning to data-centric data protection solutions, while seeking to overcome challenges with costs, use, and integration that can arise with onboarding new technologies. “Putting data security and privacy front and centre will help firms realise numerous benefits like improved customer and partner relationships and lower risk of a data incident,” it added. “Failing to properly secure your data puts customer trust, the business’ reputation, and considerable revenues and potential penalties at risk.” Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more. […]

  • How channel partners are set to drive new cloud computing growth
    by David_H_Deans on February 19, 2019 at 9:00 am

    The worldwide cloud computing infrastructure market had another strong quarter in Q4 2018, as spending grew 46 percent to nearly $23 billion. The total outlay on cloud infrastructure in 2018 exceeded $80 billion – that’s up from $55 billion in 2017 according to that latest market study by Canalys. This investment makes cloud computing services one of the most important sectors in the IT industry, not just by the rate of growth, but also due to its expanding size. Cloud computing infrastructure market development Amazon Web Services (AWS) remained the dominant cloud service provider in Q4 2018; its market share of customer spend unchanged at 32 percent. Microsoft Azure grew its share to 16 percent against 14 percent in the same period a year ago. Google Cloud reached 9 percent for the first time, while Alibaba Cloud maintained its 4 percent share. IBM, Salesforce, Oracle, NTT Communications, Tencent Cloud and OVH rounded out the top 10 cloud service providers. “Cloud infrastructure services provide the core components needed to support digital transformation initiatives around building new customer experiences, deploying IoT to transform processes, using big data and analytics for better insights, and embedding machine learning and AI for automation,” said Matthew Ball, principal analyst at Canalys. Market dynamics have changed over the last 12 months, with more businesses opting for multi-cloud and hybrid IT environments to use the strengths of different cloud service providers and deployment models dependent on application and data requirements, compliance, cost and performance. The role of channel partners in cloud services is growing in importance as a direct result of these trends. In particular, understanding customer requirements, recommending services, deployment and integration, as well as simplifying the billing and management of multiple cloud services. According to the Canalys assessment, cloud service providers are placing greater emphasis on building channel programs to support the growing network of partners beyond the largest systems integrators, especially as they extend to mid-market and SMB customers. Canalys expects the share of cloud business supported by or with channel partners to increase in 2019. Cloud service providers must therefore find new ways to improve their own differentiation to partners and raise the maturity of their channel models. Outlook for cloud channel partner innovation Canalys expects a greater focus on rewarding partners with specialist expertise around specific cloud deployments, such as SAP HANA, analytics or security; on partners developing unique services on top of cloud; and on those driving customer adoption of cloud services. Cloud service providers should build trust with their channel partners and not implement initiatives or change terms and conditions that drive more direct sales, according to Canalys. Instead, they must offer superior marketing resources that enable channel partners to differentiate hybrid multi-cloud service capabilities in this very competitive marketplace. Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more. […]

  • Healthcare firms go for the hybrid cloud approach with compliance and connectivity key
    by James on February 18, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    It continues to be a hybrid cloud-dominated landscape – and according to new research one of the traditionally toughest industries in terms of cloud adoption is now seeing it as a priority. A report from enterprise cloud provider Nutanix has found that in two years’ time, more than a third (37%) of healthcare organisations polled said they would deploy hybrid cloud. This represents a major increase from less than a fifth (19%) today. The study, which polled more than 2,300 IT decision makers, including 345 global healthcare organisations, found more than a quarter (28%) of respondents saw security and compliance as the number one factor in choosing where to run workloads. It’s not entirely surprising. All data can be seen as equal, but healthcare is certainly an industry where the data which comes from it is more equal than others. Factor in compliance initiatives, particularly HIPAA, and it’s clear to see how vital the security message is. Yet another key area is around IT spending. The survey found healthcare organisations were around 40% over budget when it came to public cloud spend, compared to a 35% average for other industries. Organisations polled who currently use public cloud spend around a quarter (26%) of their annual IT budget on it – a number which is expected to rise to 35% in two years. Healthcare firms see ERP and CRM, analytics, containers and IoT – the latter being an evident one for connected medical devices – as important use cases for public cloud. The average penetration in healthcare is just above the global score. 88% of those polled said they see hybrid cloud to positively impact their businesses – yet skills are a major issue, behind only AI and machine learning as an area where healthcare firms are struggling for talent. It is certainly an area where the largest vendors have been targeting in recent months. Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced in September a partnership with Accenture and Merck to build a cloud-based informatics research platform aiming to help life sciences organisations explore drug development. Google took the opportunity at healthcare conference HiMSS to launch a new cloud healthcare API, focusing on data types such as HL7, FHIR and DICOM. Naturally, Nutanix is also in the business of helping healthcare organisations with their cloud migrations. Yet increased maturity across the industry will make for interesting reading. The healthcare IT stack of the future will require different workloads in different areas, with connectivity the key. More than half of those polled said ‘inter-cloud application mobility’ was essential going forward. “Healthcare organisations especially need the flexibility, ease of management and security that the cloud delivers, and this need will only become more prominent as attacks on systems become more advanced, compliance regulations more stringent, and data storage needs more demanding,” said Chris Kozup, Nutanix SVP of global marketing. “As our findings predict, healthcare organisations are bullish on hybrid cloud growth for their core applications and will continue to see it as the ideal solution as we usher in the next era of healthcare. “With the cloud giving way to new technologies and tools such as machine learning and automation, we expect to see positive changes leading to better healthcare solutions in the long run,” Kozup added. Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more. […]