by Jeff Roach
In the new reality that is the Private Cloud, I see 4 major challenges:
1. Transitioning from traditional delivery models
2. Re-skilling workforce to move up the stack
3. Overcoming current cloud concerns (i.e. security, availability and loss of control)
4. Overcoming perceived vendor lock-in
Challenge number one– transitioning from traditional delivery models—is of primary concern to System Integrators and has the potential to change the entire eco-system in which they currently live.
Cloud Computing, by nature, threatens the very fabric of the mid-large System Integrator delivery model. Traditionally, every 3-5 years enterprise customers have invested in:
- The latest versions of Servers
- Hypervisors and Management Technologies
- New infrastructure (storage, etc.).
But after implementing a Private Cloud, how does a System Integrator continue to generate revenue?
One of the primary goals with a Private Cloud is an abstraction of the underlying hardware. This requires that the customer have a standardized platform for compute and storage. But, how can you take a customer from 0 to Cloud in one cycle?
Moving from a standard data center to the cloud is a process, not a project. This requires a commitment from both the System Integrator and the Enterprise Customer and could take anywhere from 6 months to 3 years depending on the sophistication of the customer’s IT infrastructure and skillset.
In this process, System Integrators must be very diligent and thorough in the assessment of the environment, cataloging not only the physical infrastructure and application workloads, but also the variables of industry, management, administration and control of the workloads. Implementing a Private Cloud has a high CapEx upfront and needs a good plan to show the ROI through OpEx reductions.
A clear understanding of goals around cost, agility, security and compliance and compatibility of LOB applications becomes critical. Not to mention the use of Public Clouds, Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, and how they are to be integrated. And in my experience, outside of the Global SI companies, very few System Integrators have the ability to deliver all these aspects of the Private Cloud.
The challenge posed is one of resource development and readiness, causing System Integrators to ask themselves:
- Do I have partners in Storage and Compute that have ‘Cloud Ready’ Hardware?
- Do I have the ability to bring in resources on remediating application compatibility?
- Does my organization have the expertise in IT Governance as it relates to Cloud Computing?
- Do I need to create alliances with other strategic partners so that I can deliver the results that the Private Cloud offers?”
System Integrators need to be thinking more critically about how they address the transition from traditional delivery models and build their new eco-system to grow their readiness, their skills and ultimately, their revenue. Next up, challenge #2: Re-skilling workforce to move up the stack.
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