Showing posts with label Microsoft. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Microsoft. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

How Unisys and Microsoft Team Up to Ease Complex Cloud Adoption for Governments and Enterprises

A discussion how public and private sector IT organizations can ease cloud adoption using cloud-native apps, services modernization, automation, and embedded best practices.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. Sponsor: Unisys and Microsoft.

Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions and you’re listening to BriefingsDirect.

The path to cloud computing adoption appears complex and risky to both government and enterprise IT leaders, recent surveys show. This next BriefingsDirect managed cloud methodologies discussion explores how tackling complexity and security requirements upfront helps ease adoption of cloud architectures.

By combining managed services, security solutions, and hybrid cloud standardization, both public and private sector organizations are now making the cloud journey a steppingstone to larger business transformation success.

Stay with us now as we discover how cloud-native apps and services modernization benefit from prebuilt solutions with embedded best practices and automation.

To learn more, please join me now in welcoming our guests, Raj Raman, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Cloud at Unisys. Welcome, Raj.

Raj Raman: Thank you very much, Dana.

Gardner: We’re also here with Jerry Rhoads, Cloud Solutions Architect at Microsoft. Welcome, Jerry.

Jerry Rhoads: Thank you, Dana. My pleasure to be here.

Gardner: Raj, why are we still managing cloud adoption expectations around complexity and security? Why has it taken so long to make the path to cloud more smooth -- and even routine?

Raman: Well, Dana, I spend quite a bit of time with our customers. A common theme we see -- be it a government agency or a commercial customer – is that many of them are driven by organizational mandates and getting those organizational mandates in place often proves challenging, more so than what one thinks.

Cloud adoption challenges 

The other part is that while Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure may be very easy to get on to, the question then becomes how do you scale up? They have to either figure out how to develop in-house capabilities or they look to a partner like Unisys to help them out.

Cloud security adoption continues to be a challenge because enterprises still try and wish to apply traditional security practices to the cloud. Having a security and risk posture on AWS or Azure means having a good understanding of the shared security model across user level, application and infrastructure layers of the cloud.

And last, but not least, a very clear mandate such as digital transformation or a specific initiative, where there is a core sponsor around it, oftentimes does ease the whole focus on some of these.

These are some of the reasons we see for cloud complexity. The applications transformation can also be quite arduous for many of our clients.

Gardner: Jerry, what are you seeing for helping organizations get cloud-ready? What best practices make for a smoother on-ramp?

Rhoads: One of the best practices beforehand is to determine what your endgame is going to look like. What is your overall cloud strategy going to look like?

Instead of just lifting and shifting a workload, what is the life cycle of that workload going to look like? It means a lot of in-depth planning -- whether it's a government agency or private enterprise. Once we get into the mandates, it's about, “Okay, I need this application that’s running in my on-premises data center to run in the cloud. How do I make it happen? Do I lift it and shift it or do I re-architect it? If so, how do I re-architect for the cloud?”

That’s a big common theme I’m seeing: “How do I re-architect my application to take better advantage of the cloud?”

Gardner: One of the things I have seen is that a lot of organizations do well with their proof of concepts (POCs). They might have multiple POCs in different parts of the organization. But then, getting to standardized comprehensive cloud adoption is a different beast.

Raj, how do you make that leap from spotty cloud adoption, if you will, to more holistic?

One size doesn’t fit all

Raman: We advise customers to try and [avoid] taking it on as a one-size-fits-all. For example, we have one client who is trying – all at once – to lift and shift thousands of applications.

Now, they did a very detailed POC and they got yield from that POC. But when it came to the actual migration and transformation, they were convinced and felt confident that they could take it on and try it en masse, with thousands of applications.

The thing is, in trying to do that, not all applications are one size. One needs a phased approach for doing application discovery and application assessment. Then, based on that, you can determine which applications are well worth the effort [to move to a cloud].

So we recommend to customers that they think of migrations as a phased approach. Be very clear in terms of what you want to accomplish. Start small, gain the confidence, and then have a milestone-based approach of accomplishing it all.
Learn More About 
Unisys CloudForte
Gardner: These mandates are nonetheless coming down from above. For the US federal government, for example, cloud has become increasingly important. We are expecting somewhere in the vicinity of $3.3 billion to be spent for federal cloud in 2021. Upward of 60 percent of federal IT executives are looking to modernization. They have both the cloud and security issues to face. Private sector companies are also seeing mandates to rapidly become cloud-native and cloud-first.

Jerry, when you have that pressure on an IT organization -- but you have to manage the complexity of many different kinds of apps and platforms -- what do you look for from an alliance partner like Unisys to help make those mandates come to fruition?

Rhoads: In working with partners such as Unisys, they know the customer. They are there on the ground with the customer. They know the applications. They hear the customers. They understand the mandates. We also understand the mandates and we have the cloud technology within Azure. Unisys, however, understands how to take our technology and integrate it in with their end customer’s mission.

Gardner: And security is not something you can just bolt on, or think of, after the fact in such migrations. Raj, are we seeing organizations trying to both tackle cloud adoption and improve their security? How do Unisys and Microsoft come together to accomplish those both as a tag team rather than a sequence, or even worse, a failure?

Secure your security strategy

Raman: We recently conducted a survey of our stakeholders, including some of our customers. And to no surprise security -- be it as part of the migrations or in scaling up their current cloud initiatives – is by far a top area of focus and concern.

We are already partnering with Microsoft and others with our flagship security offering, Unisys Stealth. We are not just in collaboration but leapfrogging in terms of innovation. The Azure cloud team has released a specific API to make products like Stealth available. This now gives customers more choice and it allows Unisys to help meet customers in terms of where they are.

Also, earlier this year we worked very closely with the Microsoft cloud team to release Unisys CloudForte for Azure. These are foundational elements that help both governments as well as commercial customers leverage Azure as a platform for doing their digital transformation.
The Microsoft team has also stepped up and worked very closely with the Unisys team developers and architects to make these services native on Azure.

The Microsoft team has also stepped up and worked very closely with the Unisys team developers and architects to make these services native on Azure, as well as help customers understand how they can better consume Azure services.

Those are very specific examples in which we see the Unisys collaboration with Microsoft scaling really well.

Gardner: Jerry, it is, of course, about more than just the technology. These are, after all, business services. So whether a public or private organization is making the change to an operations model -- paying as you consume and budgeting differently -- financially you need to measure and manage cloud services differently.

How is that working out? Why is this a team sport when it comes to adopting cloud services as well as changing the culture of how cloud-based business services are consumed?

Keep pay-as-you-go under control 

Rhoads: One of the biggest challenges I hear from our customers is around going from a CAPEX model to an OPEX model. They don’t really understand how it works.

CAPEX is a longtime standard -- here is the price and here is how long it is good for until you have to then re-up and buy new piece of hardware or re-up the license, or whatnot. Using cloud, it’s pay-as-you-go.

If I launch 400 servers for an hour, I’m paying for 400 virtual machines running for one hour. So if we don’t have a governance strategy in place to stop something like that, we can wind up going through one year's worth of budget in 30 days -- if it's not governed, if it's not watched.

And that's why, for instance, working with Unisys CloudForte there are built-in controls to where you can go through and ping the Azure cloud backend -- such as Azure Cost Management or our Cloudyn product -- where you can see how much your current charges are, as well as forecast what those charges are going to look like. Then you can get ahead of the eight ball, if you will, to make sure that you are actually burning through your budget correctly -- versus getting a surprise at the end of the month.

Gardner: Raj, how should organizations better manage that cultural shift around cloud consumption governance?

Raman: Adding to Jerry’s point, we see three dimensions to help customers. One is what Unisys calls setting up a clear cloud architecture, the foundations. We actually have an offering geared around this. And, again, we are collaborating with Microsoft on how to codify those best practices.

In going to the cloud, we see five pillars that customers have to contend with: cost, security, performance, availability, and operations. Each of these can be quite complex and very deep.

Rather than have customers figure these out themselves, we have combined product and framework. We have codified it, saying, “Here are the top 10 best practices you need to be aware of in terms of cost, security, performance, availability, and operations.”

It makes it very easy for the Unisys consultants, architects, and customers to understand at any given point -- be it pre-migration or post-migration -- that they have clear visibility on where they stand for their review on cost in the cloud.

We are also thinking about security and compliance upfront -- not as an afterthought. Oftentimes customers go deep into the journey and they realize they may not have the controls and the security postures, and the next thing you know they start to lose confidence.

So rather than wait for that, the thinking is we arm them early. We give them the governance and the policies on all things security and compliance. And Azure has very good capabilities toward this.

The third bit, and Jerry touched on this, is overall financial governance. The ability to think about -- not just cost as a matter of spinning a few Azure resources up and down – but in a holistic way, in a governance model. That way you can break it up in terms of analyzed or utilized resources. You can do chargebacks and governance and gain the ability to optimize cost on an ongoing basis.

These are distinctive foundational elements that we are trying to arm customers with and make them a lot more comfortable and gain the trust as well as the process with cloud adoption.

Gardner: The good news about cloud offerings like Azure and hybrid cloud offerings like Azure Stack is you gain a standardized approach. Not necessarily one-size-fits-all, but an important methodological and technical consistency. Yet organizations are often coming from a unique legacy, with years and years of everything from mainframes to n-tier architectures, and applications that come and go.

How do Unisys and Microsoft work together to make the best of standardization for cloud, but also recognize specific needs that each organization has?

Different clouds, same experience

Rhoads: We have Azure Stack for on-premise Azure deployments. We also have Azure Commercial Cloud as well as Azure Government Cloud and Department of Defense (DoD) Cloud. The good news is that they use the same portal, same APIs, same tooling, and same products and services across all three clouds.

Now, as services roll out, they roll out in our Commercial Cloud first, and then we will roll them out into Azure Government as well as into Azure Stack. But, again, the good news is these products are available, and you don’t have to do any special configuration or anything in the backend to make it work. It’s the same experience regardless of which product the customer wants to use.
Unisys CloudForte works with Azure Stack, with Commercial, and Azure for Government. For the end customers it's the same cloud services that they expect to use. The difference is just where those cloud services live.

What’s more, Unisys CloudForte works with Azure Stack, with Commercial, and Azure for Government. For the end customer it's the same cloud services that they expect to use. The difference really is just where those cloud services live, whether it's with Azure Stack on-premises, on a cruise ship or in a mine, or if you are going with Azure Commercial Cloud, or if you need a regulated workload such as a FedRAMP high workload or an IC4, IC5 workload, then you would go into Azure Government. But there are no different skills required to use any of those clouds.

Same skill set. You don’t have to do any training, it’s the same products and services. And if the products and services aren't in that region, you can work with Unisys or myself to engage the product teams to put those products in Azure Stack or in Azure for Government.

Gardner: How does Unisys CloudForte managed services complement these multiple Azure cloud environments and deployment models?

Rhoads: CloudForte really further standardizes it. There are different levels of CloudForte, for instance, and the underlying cloud really doesn’t matter, it’s going to be the same experience to roll that out. But more importantly, CloudForte is really an on-ramp. A lot of times I am working with customers and they are like, “Well, gee, how do I get started?”

Whether it’s setting up that subscription in-tenant, getting them on-board with that, as well as how to roll out that POC, how do they do that, and that’s where we leverage Unisys and CloudForte as the on-ramp to roll out that first POC. And that’s whether that POC is a bare-bones Azure virtual network or if they are looking to roll out a complete soup-to-nuts application with application services wrapped around it. CloudForte and Unisys can provide that functionality.

Do it your way, with support 

Raman: Unisys CloudForte has been designed as an offering on top of Azure. There are two key themes. One, meet customers where they are. It's not about what Unisys is trying to do or what Azure is trying to do. It's about, first and foremost, being customer obsessed. We want to help customers do things on their terms and do it the right way.

So CloudForte has been designed to meet those twin objectives. The way we go about doing it is -- imagine, if you will, a flywheel. The flywheel has four parts. One, the whole consumption part, which is the ability to consume Azure workloads at any given point.
Learn More About 
Unisys CloudForte
Next is the ability to run commands, or the operations piece. Then you follow that up with the ability to accelerate transformations, so data migrations or app modernization.

Last, but not least, is to transform the business itself, be it on a new technology, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), blockchain, or anything that can wrap on top of Azure cloud services.

The beauty of the model is a customer does not have to buy all of these en masse; they could be fitting into any of this. Some customers come and say, “Hey, we just want to consume the cloud workloads, we really don’t want to do the whole transformation piece.” Or some customers say, “Thank you very much, we already have the basic consumption model outlined. But can you help us accelerate and transform?”

So the ability to provide flexibility on top of Azure helps us to meet customers where they are. That’s the way CloudForte has been envisioned, and a key part of why we are so passionate and bullish in working with Microsoft to help customers meet their goals.

Gardner: We have talked about technology, we have talked about process, but of course people and human capital and resources of talent and skills are super important as well. So Raj, what does the alliance between Unisys and Microsoft do to help usher people from being in traditional IT to be more cloud-native practitioners? What are we doing about the people element here?

Expert assistance available

Raman: In order to be successful, one of the big focus areas with Unisys is to arm and equip our own people, be it at the consulting level, a sales-facing level, either doing cloud architectures or even doing cloud delivery, across the stripe, rank and file. There is an absolute mandate to increase the number of certifications, especially the Azure certifications.

In fact, I can also share that Unisys, as we speak, every month we have a doubling of people who are across the rank of Azure 300 and the 900. These are the two popular certifications, the whole Azure stack of it. We have now north of 300 trained people, and maybe my number is at the lower end. We expect the number to double.
So we have absolute commitment, because customers look to us to not only come in and solve the problems, but to do it with the level of expertise that we claim. So that’s why our commitment to getting our people trained and certified on Azure is a very important piece of it.

Gardner: One of the things I love to do is to not just tell, but to show. Do we have examples of where the Unisys and Microsoft alliance -- your approach and methodologies to cloud adoption, tackling the complexity, addressing the security, and looking at both the unique aspect of each enterprise and their skills or people issues -- comes all together? Do you have some examples?

Raman: The California State University is a longstanding customer of ours, a good example where they have transformed their own university infrastructure using Unisys CloudForte with a specific focus on all things hybrid cloud. We are pleased to see that not only is the customer happy but they are quite eager to get back to us in terms of making sure that their mandates are met on a consistent basis.

Our federal agencies are usually reluctant to be in the spotlight. That said, what I can share are representative examples. We have some very large defense establishments working with us. We have some state agencies close to the Washington, DC area, agencies responsible for the roll-out of cloud consumption across the mandates.

We are well on our way in not only working with the Microsoft Azure cloud teams, but also with state agencies. Each of these agencies is citywide or region-wide, and within that they have a health agency or an agency focused on education or social services.

In our experience, we are seeing an absolute interest in adopting the public clouds for them to achieve their citizens’ mandates. So those are some very specific examples.

Gardner: Jerry, when we look to both public and private sector organizations, how do you know when you are doing cloud adoption right? Are there certain things you should look to, that you should measure? Obviously you would want to see that your budgets are moving from traditional IT spending to cloud consumption. But what are the metrics that you look to?

The measure of success 

Rhoads: One of the metrics that I look at is cost. You may do a lift and shift and maybe you are a little bullish when you start building out your environments. When you are doing cloud adoption right, you should see your costs start to go down.
So your consumption will go up, but your costs will go down, and that’s because you are taking advantage of either platform as a service (PaaS) in the cloud, and being able to auto-scale out, or looking to move to say Kubernetes and start using things like Docker containers and shutting down those big virtual machines (VMs), and clusters of VMs, and then running your Kubernetes services on top of them.

When you see those costs go down and your services going up, that’s usually a good indicator that you are doing it right.

Gardner: Just as a quick aside, Jerry, we have also seen that Microsoft Azure is becoming very container- and Kubernetes-oriented, is that true?

Rhoads: Yes, it is. We actually have Brendan Burns, as a matter of fact, who was one of the co-creators of Kubernetes during his time at Google.

Gardner: Raj, how do you know when you are getting this right? What do you look to as chief metrics from Unisys's perspective when somebody has gone beyond proof of concept and they are really into a maturity model around cloud adoption?

Raman: One of the things we take very seriously is our mandate to customers to do cloud on your terms and do it right. And what we mean by that is something very specific, so I will break it in two.

One is from a customer-led metric perspective. We actually rank ourselves very seriously in terms of Net Promoter Score. We have one of the highest in the industry relative to the rest of our competitions. And that's something that's hard-earned, but we keep striving to raise the bar on how our customers talk to each other and how they feel about us.

The other part is the ability to retain customers, so retention. So those are two very specific customer-focused benchmarks.

Now, building upon some of the examples that Jerry was talking about, from a cloud metric perspective, besides cost and besides cost optimization, we also look at some very specific metrics, such as how many net-net workloads are there under management. What are some of the net new services that are being launched? We especially are quite curious to see if there is a focus in terms of Kubernetes or AI and ML adoption, are there any trends toward that?
We rank ourselves very seriously in terms of Net Promoter Score. We have one of the highest in the industry, but we keep striving to raise the bar on how our customers talk to each other and feel about us.

One of the very interesting ones that I will share, Dana, is that some of our customers are starting to come and ask us, “Can you help set up an Azure Cloud center of excellence within our organization?” So that oftentimes is a good indicator that the customer is looking to transform the business beyond the initial workload movement.

And last, but not the least, is training, and absolute commitment to getting their own organization to become more cloud-native.

Gardner: I will toss another one in, and I know it's hard to get organizations to talk about it, but fewer security breaches, fewer days or instances of downtime because of a ransomware attack. So it's hard to get people to talk about it if you can't always prove when you don’t get attacked, but certainly a better security posture as compared to two years, three years ago would be a high indicator on my map as to whether cloud is being successful for you.

All right, we are almost out of time, so let's look to the future. What comes next when we get to a maturity model, when organizations are comprehensive, standardized around cloud, have skills and culture oriented to the cloud regardless of their past history? We are also of course seeing more use of the data behind the cloud, in operations and using ML and AI to gain AIOps benefits.

Where can we look to even larger improvements when we employ and use all that data that’s now being generated within those cloud services?

Continuous cloud propels the future 

Raman: One of the things that’s very evident to us is, as customers start to come to us and use the cloud at significant scale, is it is very hard for any one organization. Even for Unisys, we see this, which is how do you get scaled up and keep up with the rate of change that the cloud platform vendors such as Azure are bringing to the table; all good innovations, but how do you keep on top of that?

So that’s where a focus on what we are calling as “AI-led operations” is becoming very important for us. It’s about the ability to go and look at the operational data and have these customers go from a reactive, from a hindsight-led model, to a more proactive and a foresight-driven model, which can then guide, not only their cloud operations, but also help them think about where they can now leverage this data and use that Azure infrastructure to then launch more innovation or new business mandates. That’s where the AIOps piece, the AI-led operations piece, of it kicks in.
Learn More About 
Unisys CloudForte
There is a reason why cloud is called continuous. You gain the ability to have continuous visibility via compliance or security, to have constant optimization, both in terms of best practices, reviewing the cloud workloads on a constant basis and making sure that their architectures are being assessed for the right way of doing Azure best practices.

And then last, but not the least, one other trend I would surface up, Dana, as a part of this, which is we are starting to see an increase in the level of conversational bots. Many customers are interested in getting to a self-service mode. That’s where we see conversational bots built on Azure or Cortana will become more mainstream.

Gardner: Jerry, how do organizations recognize that the more cloud adoption they have, the more standardization, the more benefits they will get in terms of AIOps and a virtuous adaption pattern kicks in?

Rhoads: To expand on what Raj talked about with AIOps, we actually have built in a lot of AI into our products and services. One of them is with Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) on Azure. Another one is with anti-phishing mechanisms that are deployed in Office 365.

So as more folks move into the cloud, we are seeing a lot of adoption around these products and services, as well as we are also able to bring in a lot of feedback and do a lot of learning off of some of the behaviors that we are seeing to make the products even better.

DevOps integrated in the cloud 

So one of things that I do, in working with my customers is DevOps, how do we employ DevOps in the cloud? So a lot of folks are doing DevOps on-premises and they are doing it from an application point of view. I am rolling out my application on an infrastructure that is either virtualized or physical, sitting in my data center, how do I do that in the cloud, why do I do that in the cloud?

Well, in the cloud everything is software, including infrastructure. Yes, it sits on a server at the end of the day; however, it is software-defined, being it is software-defined, it has an API, I can write code. So therefore if I want to blow out or roll out a suite of VMs or I want to roll out Kubernetes clusters and put my application on top of it, I can create definable, repeatable code, if you will, that I can check into a repository someplace, press the button, and roll out that infrastructure and put my application on top of it.

So now deploying applications, especially with DevOps in the cloud, it's not about I have an operations team and then I have my DevOps team that rolls out the application on top of existing infrastructure. Instead I actually bundle it altogether. I have tighter integration, which means I now have repeatable deployments and I can do my deployments, instead of doing them every quarter or annually, I can do deployments -- I can do 20, 30, 1,000 a day if I like, if I do it right.

Gardner: I’m afraid we will have to leave it there. You have been listening to a sponsored BriefingsDirect discussion on improving the path to rapid and routine cloud computing adoption. And we have learned how an alliance between Unisys and Microsoft combines managed services, security solutions and hybrid cloud standardization to usher both public and private sector organizations to larger business transformation goals.

So please join me in thanking our guests, Raj Raman, CTO for Cloud at Unisys. Thank you, Raj.

Raman: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: We have also been joined by Jerry Rhoads, Cloud Solutions Architect at Microsoft. Thank you, Jerry

Rhoads: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: And a big thank you as well to our audience for joining this BriefingsDirect cloud computing adoption methodologies discussion.

I’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host throughout this series of Unisys- and Microsoft-sponsored BriefingsDirect discussions.

Thanks again for listening. Please pass this along to your community -- and do come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. Sponsor: Unisys and Microsoft.

A discussion how cloud-native apps and services modernization benefits from prebuilt solutions with embedded best practices and automation to ease cloud adoption. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2019. All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Better Management of Infrastructure Proves Accelerant to Cloud Adoption for Gaming Supplier Magellan Robotech

Transcript of a discussion on how improved hybrid cloud infrastructure management accelerates developer productivity.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. Sponsor: Hewlett Packard Enterprise. 

Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to the next edition of the BriefingsDirect Voice of the Customer podcast series. I’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host and moderator for this ongoing discussion on digital transformation success stories.
Our next hybrid IT management strategies discussion explores how a European gaming company adopted cloud and hybrid cloud infrastructure resources with developer productivity as a prime motivator.

We’ll now learn how Magellan Robotech puts an emphasis on cloud management and control as a means to best access hybrid cloud services that rapidly bring new architecture and infrastructure resources to its developers.

Here to reveal the journey to responsible cloud adoption with impressive payoffs is Graham Banner, Head of IT Operations at Magellan Robotech in Liverpool, England. Welcome, Graham.

Graham Banner: Thanks, it’s a pleasure to be here.

Gardner: Also joining us is Raj Mistry, Go-to-Market Lead for OneSphere at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and he’s based in Manchester, England. Welcome.

Raj Mistry: Good to be here.

Gardner: What are the drivers in your organization for attaining faster cloud adoption, and how do you keep that from spinning out of control, Graham?

More to IT than increasing its speed

Banner: That’s a great question. It’s been a challenge for us. One of the main problems we have as a business is the aggressive marketplace in Europe. It’s essential that we deliver services rapidly. Now some of our competitors might be able to deliver something in a month. We need to undercut them because the competition is so fierce.

Going from on premises into virtualization and on-premises cloud was our first step, but it wasn’t enough. We needed to do more.

Gardner: Speed is essential, but if you move too fast there can be risks. What are some of the risks that you try to avoid?

Banner: We want to avoid shadow IT. We’ve adopted capabilities before where the infrastructure team wasn’t able to provision services that supported our developers fast enough. We learned that the developers were then doing their own thing: There was no governance, there was no control over what they were doing, and that was a risk for us.

Gardner: Given that speed is essential, how do you bring quality control issues to bear when faced with hybrid cloud activities?

Banner: That’s been a challenge for us as well. There hasn’t traditionally been central payment management from across multiple cloud interfaces so that we could ensure that the correct policies are being applied to those services.

We needed a product that ensures that we deliver quality services to all of our customs across Europe.

Gardner: Raj, is this developer focus for cloud adoption maturity a main driver as HPE OneSphere is being evaluated?

Mistry: Yes, absolutely. The reason OneSphere is so good for the developers is we enable them to use the tools and frameworks they are accustomed to -- but under the safety and governance of IT operations. They can deploy with speed and have safe, secure access to the resources they need when they need them.

Gardner: Developers probably want self-service more than anyone. Is it possible to give them self-service but using tools that keep them under a governance model?

Mistry: Some developers like the self-service element, and some developers might use APIs. That’s the beauty of HPE OneSphere, it addresses both of those requirements for the developers. So they can use native tools or the self-service capabilities.

Gardner: We also have to consider the IT operators. When we think about where those new applications end up -- it could be on-premises or in some number of clouds, even multiple clouds.
Learn More About
Simplified Hybrid Cloud Management
Mistry: HPE OneSphere is very much application-centric, with the capability to manage the right workload, in the right cloud, at the right cost. Through the ability to understand what the workload is doing -- and based on the data and insights we collect -- we can then make informed decisions on what best to do next.

Gardner: Graham, you are on the operations’ side and you have to keep your developers happy. What is it about HPE OneSphere that’s been beneficial for both?

Effective feedback

Banner: It provides great insights and reporting features into our state. When we deployed it, the feedback was almost instantaneous. We could see where our environments were, we could see the workloads, we could see the costs, and this is something that we did not have before. We didn’t have this visibility function.

And this was a very simple install procedure. Once it was up and running, everything rolled out smoothly in a matter of hours. We have never seen a product do this before.

Gardner: Has having this management and monitoring capability given you the confidence to adopt multicloud in ways that you may not have been willing to before?

Banner: Yes, absolutely. One of the challenges we faced before was we were traditionally on-premises for the entire state. The developers had wanted to use and leverage functions that were available only in public clouds.

One of the challenges we faced before was we were traditionally on-premises for the entire state. But the developers wanted to use and leverage functions only available in the public clouds.
But we have a small operations team. We were wary about spending too much training our staff across the multiple public cloud platforms. HPE OneSphere enabled us to onboard multiple clouds in a very smooth way. And people could use it with very little training. The user interface (UI) was fantastic to use, it was very intuitive. Line of business, stack managers, compliance and directors, they all could go on and run reports straight away. It ticked off all the boxes that we needed for it to do.

Gardner: Getting the trains to run on time is important, but the cost of the trip is also important. Have you been able to gain better control over your own destiny when it comes to the comparative costs across these different cloud providers?
Banner: One of the great features that OneSphere has is the capability to input values about how much your on-premise resources cost. Now, we have had OPEX and CAPEX models for our spend, but we didn’t have real-time feedback on what the different environments we are using cost across our shared infrastructures.

Getting this information back from HPE OneSphere was essential for us. We can now look at some products and say, “You know what? This is actually costing x amount of money. If we move it onto another platform, or to another service provider, we’d actually save costs.” These are the kind of insights that are generated now that we did not have before.

Gardner: I think that economics trumps technology, because ultimately, it’s the people paying the bills who have the final say. If economics trumps technology, are you demonstrating a return on investment (ROI) with HPE OneSphere?

Mistry: One of the aims for OneSphere is the “what-if” analysis. If I have a cloud workload, what are its characteristics, its requirements, and where should I best place it? What’s best for that actual thing? And then having the capability to determine which hyperscale cloud provider -- or even the private cloud -- has the correct set of features for that application. So that will come in the not too distant future.

Gardner: Tell us more about Magellan Robotech and why application quality, speed, and operational integrity are so important.

Game On

Banner: We operate across Europe. We offer virtual gaming, sports, terminals, and casino products, and we have integration to other providers, which is unique for a bookmaking company. A lot of gaming providers operate just retail platforms, or maybe have an online presence. We do everything.

Because we compete with so many others, it’s essential that our applications are stable, scalable, and have zero downtime. If we don’t meet these requirements, we’re not going to be able to compete and our customers are going to move elsewhere.

As a service provider we sell all of these products to other vendors. We have to make sure that our customers are pleasing their own customers. We want to make sure that our customers have these value-adds as well. And this is where HPE OneSphere comes into play for us.
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Gardner: As the third largest gaming enterprise in Europe, you’re in multiple markets, but that means multiple jurisdictions, with multiple laws about privacy. Tell us about your security and compliance needs and how HPE OneSphere helps manage complexity across these different jurisdictions?

Banner: We deal with several regulatory bodies across Europe. Nearly all of them have different compliance standards that have to be applied to products. It’s unreasonable for us to expect the developers to know which standards have to be applied.

The current process is manual. We have to submit applications and spin-up machines on-premises. They have to be audited by a third-party, and by a government body from each country. This process can take months. It’s a long, arduous process for us to just release a product.

We needed a tool that provides us an overview of what is available out there, and what policies need to be applied to all of our services. We need to know how long it’s going to take to solve the problems before we can release services.

With HPE OneSphere, we are gaining great insights into what’s coming with regards to better managing compliance and policies. There will be governance panes, and the capability for line-of-business staff members to come in and assign policies to various different cloud providers.

And we can take this information to the developers and they can decide, “You know what? For us to go live in this particular country, we have to assign these various policies, and so we are going to need to change our code.” And this means that our time-to-market and time-to-value are going to be much higher.

Gardner: Raj, how important is this capability to go into different jurisdictions? I know there is another part of HPE called Cloud28+ and they are getting into different discrete markets and working with an ecosystem of providers. How much of a requirement is it to deal with multiple jurisdictions?

Guided compliance, vigilance

Mistry: It’s very complex. One of the evolving challenges that customers face as they adopt a hybrid or a multicloud strategy is how do I maintain my risk posture and compliance. So the intellectual property (IP) that we have built into OneSphere, which has been available from August 2018 onward, allows customers to look at the typical frameworks: FIPS, HIPAA, GDPR, FCA, etc.

They will be able to understand, not just from a process perspective, but from a coding perspective, what needs to occur. Guidelines are provided to the developers. Applications can be deployed based on those, and then we will continually monitor the application.

If there is a change in the framework that they need to comply with, the line-of-business teams and the IT operations teams will get a note from the system saying, “Something has happened here, and if you are okay, please continue.” Or, “There is a risk, you have been made aware of it and now you need to take some action to resolve it.” And that’s really key. I don’t think anybody else in the market can do that.

Gardner: Graham, it sounds like you are going to be moving to wider adoption for HPE OneSphere. Is it too soon to get a sense of some of the paybacks, some of the metrics of success?

Guidelines are provided to the developers. Applications can only be deployed based on those, and we will continuously monitor the applications in production. 
Banner: Fortunately, during the proof of concept we managed to get some metrics back. We had set some guidelines, and some aims for us to achieve during this process. I can give you an example. Traditionally we had a very old-fashioned ticket system for developers and our other customers.

They turned in a ticket, and they could wait for up to five days for that service to become available, so the developer or the customer could begin using that particular service.

With HPE OneSphere, and the self-service function which we provided, we found out that the time was no longer measured in days, it was no longer hours -- it was minutes. This enabled the developers to quickly spin up machines. They can do iterative testing and get their products live, functioning, and bug-free faster. It frees up operational time so that we can concentrate on upgrading our platform and focus on various other projects.

We have already seen massive value in this product. When we spoke to the line of business about this, they have been pleased. They have already seen the benefits.

Gardner: Raj, what gets the most traction in the market? What is it that people perk up to when it comes to what OneSphere can do?

The data-insight advantage

Mistry: It’s the cost analytics and governance element. Deployment is a thing of the past. But once you have deployed it, how do you know what’s going on? How do you know what to do next? That’s the challenge we are trying to resolve. And that’s what's resonating well with customers. It’s about, “Let me give you insights. Let’s get you the data so you can do something about it and take action.” That's the biggest thing about it.
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Gardner: What is it about the combination of product and support services and methodologies that are also helping to bring this to market?

Mistry: It’s about the guidance on application transformation. As people go digital, writing the new cloud-native stuff is easy. But like with Graham’s organization, and many organizations we talk to, they have a cloud-hosted, cloud-aware application that they need to be able to transform to make it more digitally friendly.

From a services perspective, we can guide customers in terms of what they should do and how they should introduce microservices and more cloud-native ways of working. Beyond that, it's helping with cultural stuff. So, the beginnings of Agile development, leading to DevOps in the not too distant future.

The other side of it is the capability to build minimum viable clouds, both in the private and the public clouds with the IP that we have. So, the cloud thing can be had, but our effort is really to make it very easy.

Gardner: That strikes me as a huge next chapter, the minimum viable cloud. Is that attractive to you at Magellan Robotech?

Banner: Absolutely, yes. From an on-premise perspective, we want to go forward into the public cloud. We know we can leverage its services. But one thing we are very wary of is the cost. Traditionally, it has been expensive. Things have changed. We want to make sure we are not provisioning services that aren’t being used. Having these metrics is going to allow us to make the right choices in the future.

Gardner: Let's look into the crystal ball. Going to the future, Graham, as a consumer, what would you like to see in HPE OneSphere next?

Public core and private cloud together

Banner: We already have the single pane of glass with OneSphere, so we can look at all our different clouds at once. We don't have to go in multiple consoles and spend time learning and training on how to get to these reports from three or four different providers. So, we have the core, the core is there. We know that the public cloud and private cloud have different functionalities.

On-premises can do certain things extremely well; it can handle all our current workloads. Public cloud can do this, too, and there are loads of additional features available. What we would like to see is a transition where some of these core functionalities of the public cloud are taken, managed, and applied to our private cloud as well.

There are compliance reasons why we can't move all of our products into the public cloud. But by merging them together, you get a much more agnostic point of view of where are you going to best deploy your services and what features you should have.

Gardner: Ultimately, it may even be invisible to you as to whether it's in a public or private cloud architecture. You want your requirements met, you want your compliance and security issues met, and let the automation of the underlying tool to take over.
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Banner: Absolutely, yes. We would like to abstract away the location completely from our developers and our application guys. So, when they deploy, it gets put in the right place automatically, it has the right policies assigned to it. It's in the right location. It can provide the services needed. It can scale. It can auto-bounce -- all of this stuff. The end-user, our applications team, they won't need to know which cloud it's in. They just want to be able to use it and use the best available services.

Gardner: Raj, you just heard what the market is asking for. What do you see next for providers of cloud monitoring and management capabilities?

Mistry: Our focus will be around customizable cloud reporting, so the capability to report back on specific things from across all of the providers. Moving forward, we will have trending capabilities, the what-if forecasting capability from an analytics and insights perspective. Then we will build more on the compliance and governance. That's where we are heading in the not-too-distant future. If our own developers do well, we will have that by the end of the year.

Gardner: I’m afraid we will have to leave it there. You have been exploring how a European gaming company adopted cloud and hybrid infrastructure resource management with developer productivity as a prime motivator. And we have learned how an emphasis on management and control helps Magellan Robotech bring new infrastructure resources to its developers.

Please join me in thanking our guests, Graham Banner, Head of IT Operations at Magellan Robotech. Thank you.

Banner: Thank you very much for your time, Dana.

Gardner: And we have also been joined by Raj Mistry, Go-to-Market Lead for OneSphere at HPE in Manchester, England. Thank you.

Mistry: Thank you.

Gardner: And a big thank you as well to our audience for joining us for this BriefingsDirect Voice of the Customer digital transformation success story discussion. I’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host for this ongoing series of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise-sponsored interviews.

Thanks again for listening. Please pass this along to your own IT community, and do come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. Sponsor: Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Transcript of a discussion on how improved hybrid cloud infrastructure management accelerates developer productivity. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2018. All rights reserved.

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