I always think it’s brave in the UK to invite people to a barbecue. You never quite know what our weather is going to do, and the divergences between the BBC Weather app and the Met Office only sharpens the sense of unpredictability. At least you can take more of a view on the day: if it’s clear and sunny then game on; if it’s overcast then you abandon the garden table for the dining room option. Too much Cloud? The wrong type of Cloud?
The problems for the host come when it’s just cloudy – bits of blue and clouds – what’s it going to do by the time the guests start arriving? Will it be warm enough, will it start raining, even? It’s a judgement call, and even when you decide, you know you’ll have to take a view as events unfold. Sitting inside when it’s glorious outside is as bad as getting everyone to move inside while you get the oven going and try to figure out how to cook all those sausages along with the burgers and chicken skewers.
So to in today’s world of mixed IT infrastructure. The CIO has to make judgement calls like the barbecue host in mixed weather conditions. Of course the analogy starts to break down here, except that Cloud is the common issue and is where life becomes challenging for the real world CIO who’s looking ahead and working out how to balance realities and uncertainties in a practical approach to his responsibilities.
Clear Skies or Cold and Rainy?
The brand new start-up and the business with a Green Field project can approach infrastructure largely from first principles and get going, with the way forward as straightforward as sit is for the barbecue host with clear skies and sun. In today’s world that’s likely to call for a Cloud First solution, of course, with the precise choice of implementation driven by a clear set of metrics required for the desired outcome.
If it’s cold and raining for the CIO and the weight of legacy or some other factor is overwhelming, then the lure of new technologies and methods may have to wait. Like the host, you just have to grit your teeth and apologise to your guests, explaining that you’ll be doing things rather conventionally this evening, and you hope that they understand.
Mixed, Cloudy Weather Ahead
Most CIOs live in the equivalent of the UK’s mixed weather – Cloudy, and you have to judge how best to benefit from the sunny periods without getting caught out. Time to leave the analogy aside.
There are many issues to be balanced in this real world situation, but the time imperative is probably where it bites for most IT decision makers: where have we got time on our side, and where are situations and events forcing our hand?
The Danger is Fragmentation
It’s so easy to settle for a piece meal approach: some lift-and-shift projects here; one or two new build implementations there. This may well get you out of trouble, but the nagging fear is that it’s really just patching the situation, and will box you into a fragmented charity blanket of a solution that will be harder to sort out later.
The secondary danger is that existing technologies and data structures are perpetuated. New architectures, newer technologies and solutions tend to be locked out or be marginalised when migration is fragmented.
Use this Opportunity to Re-think and Re-design for the Future
It pays to step back and take a look at where the future should and could lie for your organisation. Some great techniques and technologies are now proven and well understood for their benefits: hybrid and mixed cloud, DevOps, containerisation, service layers and managed services.
These technologies and techniques can now be brought together to create a lithe and agile, robust and secure platform for the infrastructure to power IT for ambitious organisations in today’s fast-paced world where flexibility, performance and cost are paramount.
It’s time to design the future and the way to get from her to there.
You may also be interested in: The Thinking CEO’s Cloud
Peter Osborn, Chairman, Flexiion
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