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Amazon is right about the cloud…mostly


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Reflecting on a recent article, “Nine Questions for Andy Jassy, Head of Amazon Web Services,” where the cloud evangelist prepares to regale a Las Vegas re:Invent conference audience, my observation is that Amazon is right about the cloud…mostly.


There are “too many gatekeepers between employee ideas and the infrastructure required to turn them into reality,” he said.  “It’s really hard to foster a culture of innovation, but with cloud computing it changes all of this by providing agility for the business to try new ideas.”


I was breathless.


There was more:  Andy promised that Amazon would be talking about hybrid IT models…different, however, from those of the “old guard IT vendors.”  The old guard, he quipped, believes that companies want to run almost everything on-premises and behind the firewall with just a little surging to the cloud when they need more resources.  And this was his kicker: Many CIOs and IT managers believe that, in the fullness of time, the vast majority of computing is moving to the cloud.


In the fullness of time.  I was gasping.


Andy’s right about a few things, like the need to focus on innovation and agility and the challenge gatekeeping presents for speed to innovation.  But that everything will move to an outsourced cloud model where customers abandon all their digital business assets?  I don’t think so.  And as for the “old guard IT vendor” shtick? I wonder what "the young guard” are thinking.  Do the breathless Andy Jassys of IT really think that the first play of a hardware + software vendor is to push customers into building a private cloud behind their firewalls?  And that the second play is to begrudgingly burst to cloud service provides when needed?


It’s time to stow the hype.


I make no excuses for being the largest IT Company on the planet.  Nor will I apologize for being a leading supplier of servers, networking, storage and software – and one that enables cloud computing.  HP invented the idea of Converged Infrastructure, which was conceived to simplify the building and management of cloud computing environments.  Our cloud-enabled technology is purchased by leading service providers who, in turn, offer cloud services and to customers who want to build their own private clouds.  HP supplies all types and sizes of customers with cloud technology innovations that improve their agility and transform their IT delivery model.


Are you listening, Andy?


This belief – that in the fullness of time everything is moving to an outsourced version of the cloud – is not a new thought.  Four years ago at the Ingram Go for Launch Cloud Summit, I shared the platform with speakers from major cloud organizations. What I saw even then was the pervasive belief that everything was shifting to the cloud (“the outsourced external variety”).  I recall feeling like I had five heads when I began to explain HP’s cloud delivery strategy and the point of view that cloud services would be delivered in a hybrid model. 


But I’m still here.  And I feel quite young.


Despite the rhetoric, HP continues to build and evangelize the power and flexibility of its hybrid delivery strategy. The foundation of our approach is HP’s New Style of IT, and our strategy is built on the tenets of choice, consistency, and confidence -- the true sentiments of our customers.


So there’s more to it, Andy.


HP believes that customers will deliver cloud services in a hybrid delivery model,  where IT functions as a service broker to the businesses they support.  As a service broker, one of the functions of IT is making sourcing decisions based on the value that a particular sourcing option can provide the business.  HP’s strategy is to provide customers with the choice of building or consuming services based on the nature or sensitivity of the IT cloud service.


So here’s how we roll:


If the cloud service  is the crown jewel of an organization, requiring the comfort of being behind their company’s firewall to protect their intellectual property, HP will provide the option to deliver this private cloud service  in a way equal to a world-class cloud service provider.


On the other hand, if an IT service can be delivered with acceptable risk for a better value by a cloud service provider, then it’s a viable sourcing option and should be considered as part of a company’s hybrid delivery strategy.


Back to the article, Andy actually gave a great example of this concept.  “The Navy has put its non-classified information on AWS,” he said, “and is spending half of what it was spending before.”  This is exactly what we mean by sourcing the service that provides the best value to the business. 


HP’s New Style of IT is not about cloud bursting; it’s about transforming how IT is delivered and how it can meet the changing demands of business.  In today’s world, this means an openness to creating a delivery model with a combination of internally and externally-sourced cloud services.  Regardless of sourcing location, it should feature the same cloud computing attributes: highly flexible, scalable, agile, fully automated, and offered as a self-service resulting in improved agility and innovation for the business.


As I write up front, Amazon is right about cloud…mostly. 


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About the Author


I am on the WW Cloud and Big Data Solutions Team. I help our customers adopt HP advanced solutions that are made up of products and services from across HP. I have over 30 years experience in the technology business including 17 years of business ownership.

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