Friday, August 22, 2014

Hybrid Cloud Models Demand More Infrastructure Standardization, Says Global Service Provider Steria

Transcript of a sponsored BriefingsDirect podcast on planning and preparing for a journey to cloud.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. Sponsor: HP.

Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to the next edition of the HP Discover Podcast Series. I’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host and moderator for this ongoing sponsored discussion on IT innovation and how it’s making an impact on people’s lives.

Gardner
Once again, we’re focusing on how companies are adapting to the new style of IT to improve IT performance and deliver better user experiences, and business results. This time, we’re coming to you directly from the recent HP Discover 2013 Conference in Barcelona.

We’re here to learn directly from IT and business leaders alike how big data, mobile, and cloud, along with converged infrastructure are all supporting their goals.

Our next innovation case study interview highlights how European IT services provider Steria is exploring cloud standards and the use of cloud across hybrid models. We welcome on this subject Eric Fradet, Industrialization Director at Steria in Paris. Welcome, Eric.

Eric Fradet: Thank you, I’m glad to be here.

Gardner: For those of our audience who may not be overly aware of Steria, tell us a little bit about what you do, where you do it, and how your business is going?

Fradet: Steria is a 40-year-old service provider company, mainly based in Europe, with a huge location in India and also Singapore. We provide all types of services related to IT, starting from infrastructure management to application management. We help to develop and deploy new IT services for all our customers.

Gardner: There’s a lot of interest these days in trying to decide to what degree you should have a cloud infrastructure implementation on-premises, with some sort of a hosting provider, or perhaps going fully to a service-delivery model vis-à-vis a software-as-a-service (SaaS) or cloud providers. How are your activities at Steria helping you better deliver this choice to your customers?

Fradet: That change may be quicker than expected. So, we must be in a position to manage the services wherever they’re from. The old model of saying that we’re an outsourcer or on-premises service provider is dead. Today, we’re in a hybrid world and we must manage that type of world. That must be done in collaboration with partners, and we share the same target, the same ambition, and the same vision.

Gardner: We’re also seeing quite a bit of discussion about which platforms, which standards, and which type of cloud infrastructure model to follow. For your customers or prospects, how do you go to them now, when we’re still in a period of indecision? What are your recommendations? What do you think should happen in terms of the standardization of a cloud model?

Benefit, not a pain

Fradet: Roughly, I assume at first that the cloud must not be seen as disruptive by our customers. Cloud is here to accompany your transformation. It must be a benefit for them, and not a pain.

Fradet
A private solution should be the best as a starting point for some customers. The full public solution should be a target. We’re here to manage their journey and to define with the customer what is the best solution for the best need.

Gardner: And in order for that transition from private to public or multiple public or sourced-infrastructure support, a degree of standardization is required. Otherwise, it's not possible. Do you have a preferred approach to standardization? Are you working closely with HP? How do you think you will allow for a smooth transition across a hybrid spectrum?

Fradet: The choice of HP as a partner was based on two main criteria. First of all, the quality of the solution, obviously, but there are multiple good solutions on the market. The second one is the capacity with HP to have a smooth transition, and that means getting to the industrialization benefits and the economic benefits while also being open and interconnected with existing IT systems.

That's why the future model is quite simple. Our work is to know we have on-premises and physical remaining infrastructure. We will have some private-cloud solutions and multiple public clouds, as you mentioned. The challenge is to have the right level of governance, and to be in a position to move the workload and adjust the workloads with the needs.
We continue to invest deeply in ITSM because ITSM is service management.

Gardner: Of course, once you've been able to implement across a spectrum of hosting possibilities, then there is the task of managing that over time, not just putting it there, but being able to govern and have control. Is there anything about the HP portfolio, or what you’re doing in particular, that you think is important, as we try to move beyond strictly implementation, but into going operations?

Fradet: With HP, we have a layer approach which is quite simple. First of all, if you want to manage, you must control, as you mentioned. We continue to invest deeply in IT Service Management (ITSM) because ITSM is service governance. In addition, we have some more innovative solutions based on the last version of  Cloud Services Automation (CSA). Control, automate, and report remain as key whatever the cloud or non-cloud infrastructure.

Gardner: Of course, another big topic these days is big data. I would think that a part of the management capability would be the ability to track all the data from all the systems, regardless of where they’re physically hosted. Do you have a preference or have you embarked on a big-data platform that would allow you to manage and monitor IT systems regardless of the volume, and the location?

Fradet: Yes, we have some very interesting initiatives with HP around HAVEn, which is obviously one of the most mature big-data platforms. The challenge for us is to transform a technologically wonderful solution into a business solution. We’re working with our business units to define use-cases that are totally tailored and adjusted for the business, but big data is one of our big challenges.

Traditional approach

Gardner: Have you been using a more traditional data-warehouse approach, or are you not yet architecting the capability? Are you still in a proof-of-concept stage?

Fradet: Unfortunately, we have hundreds of data-warehouse solutions, which are customer-dedicated, starting from very old-fashioned level to operational key performance indicators (KPI) to advanced business intelligence (BI).

The challenge now is really to design for what will be top requirements for the data warehouse, and you know that there is a mix of needs in terms of data warehouses. Some are pure operational KPIs, some are analytics, and some are really big data needs. To design the right solution for the customer remains a challenge. But, we’re very confident that with HAVEn, sometime in 2014, we will have the right solution for those issues.

Gardner: Lastly, Eric, the movement toward cloud models for a lot of organizations is still in the planning stages. They are mindful of the vision, but they have also IT  housecleaning to do internally. Do you have any suggestions as to how to properly modernize, or move toward a certain architecture that would then give them a better approach to cloud and set them up for less risk and less disruption? What are some observations that you have had for how to prepare for moving toward a cloud model?
Cloud can offer many combinations or many benefits, but you have to define as a first step your preferred benefits.

Fradet: As with any transformation program, the cloud’s eligibility program remains key. That means we have to define the policy with the customer. What is their expectation -- time to market, cost saving, to be more efficient in terms of management?

Cloud can offer many combinations or many benefits, but you have to define as a first step your preferred benefits. Then, when the methodology is clearly defined, the journey to the cloud is not very different than from any other program. It must not be seen as disruptive, keeping in mind that you do it for benefits and not only for technical reasons or whatever.

So don't jump to the cloud without having strong resources below the cloud.

Gardner: Please join me in thanking our guest. We've been discussing transition to cloud with Eric Fradet, Industrialization Director at Steria in Paris. Steria is a large and leading European IT services provider. Thank you.

Fradet: Thank you.

Gardner: And also thank you to our audience as well for joining us for this special new style of IT discussion coming to you directly from the HP Discover 2013 Conference in Barcelona.

I’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host for this ongoing series of HP sponsored discussions. Thanks again for joining, and come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. Sponsor: HP.

Transcript of a sponsored BriefingsDirect on planning and preparing for a journey to the cloud. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2014. All rights reserved.

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