Recapping CloudEXPO 2018: Focus, Focus, Focus

Our team had the pleasure of attending CloudEXPO this year, a conference focused on cloud technology, security, and trends. Our CEO, Emil Sayegh, presented a breakaway session titled Economics of the Cloud: Don’t Aim for the Sky on Everything. During this session, Emil covered the current cost challenges related to public cloud and how a hybrid approach enables organizations to decrease their IT spend and increase business agility.

Emil wasn’t alone in offering up helpful insights—there were several outstanding presentations given throughout the conference. Here, we’ve highlighted some of our key takeaways from these exceptional discussions.

Takeaway #1: Focus on Economics

During his session (view the slides here), Emil stressed the importance of building a careful strategy before rushing into the cloud to avoid overspending. With organizations estimating 30% of wasted public cloud spend and experts estimating an additional 15% in waste (RightScale,2017), it’s more important than ever to play your cards wisely when it comes to the cloud.

To do this, Emil suggests taking a healthy audit of your workloads. What are your use cases? What are your bandwidth needs? Do you have special security or compliance challenges? Once you have a better understanding of your organization’s needs, you can then begin to architect an optimized infrastructure that reduces IT spend across the board.

For example, before working with Hostway, PlayPower’s high-definition renderings of their customized recreation equipment took up to 10 hours to complete. The company needed a solution that could shorten rendering times without putting a strain on IT resources, budgets, or the company’s infrastructure. Hostway created a powerful managed cloud solution for PlayPower that reduced playscape rendering times down to one hour without needing to hire additional IT resources or investing in additional CAPEX.

Takeaway #2: Focus on Fixing Your Process

Daniel Jones from Engineer Better started off his discussion by pointing out that in order to deliver value, you need to plan for six key aspects: Databases, development, testing, infrastructure, networks, and deployment.

Where many organizations get into trouble, however, is that they try to have a broad and deep knowledge in each of these areas. This is a huge blow to an organization’s productivity. By automating or outsourcing some of these pieces, such as databases, infrastructure, and networks, your team can instead focus on development, testing, and deployment. Further, organizations that focus their attention on these areas can eventually move to a test-driven development structure that condenses several long phases into a faster, more efficient process.

This methodology has a name, of course: Continuous delivery. As Jones pointed out at CloudEXPO, continuous delivery allows developers to trim the fat off tasks and gives them more time to focus on the individual parts of the process. But remember—implementing this methodology requires organizations to offload management of databases, infrastructure, and/or networks to trusted vendors.

Takeaway #3: Focus on Data Storage  

In a session from CTERA, Chief Architect Saimon Michelson impressed upon the audience the need to move data to the edge. With edge computing, data is processed by local devices, rather than being transmitted to a data center. Michelson argues that doing so makes data more accessible and provides greater business agility, reducing recovery times from days or weeks to mere minutes.

Moving data to the edge is also more cost-efficient, allowing organizations to scale more quickly and grow their dataset more logically. From an availability standpoint, it allows for easier provisioning and makes data more readily available no matter where you are, effectively increasing productivity. Finally, edge computing allows large amounts of data to be processed near the source, creating more personalized experiences that respond in real time and reduce Internet bandwidth usage—another great way to decrease spend.

Following this storage strategy is not without its challenges, however. You’ll want to ensure that no matter where your mission-critical data is stored, it is fully protected. Edge computing requires organizations to add more data-generating devices to their networks, and sometimes in more locations. You’ll need to monitor these devices carefully to ensure they don’t become an open door for unwanted threats. Consider relying on a partner to manage the architecture and security of these devices so that you can reduce the complexity of your move to the edge.

Takeaway #4: Focus on Your Differentiator

One of our favorite sessions from CloudEXPO came courtesy of Avoka’s Chris Harrold. As the company’s Director of Developer Relations, Harrold has helped many financial institutions digitally transform over the years. Due to these experiences, he’s curated quite a list of dos and don’ts.

From this list, several insights stood out. First, Harrold cautions against building your own infrastructure and network in house. He urges financial institutions to leverage third-party expertise and resources, as it is cheaper and frees up time to focus on the user experience of your transformation. This is especially important for financial institutions, as most competitors have made the transition in recent years, so simply going digital isn’t enough. It’s crucial to find your organization’s differentiator, Harrold stresses. Back-end details are similar from organization to organization, so instead of spending time and money nailing down those particulars internally, hand it off to a trusted advisor and turn your attention to identifying the things that matter most for your customers, such as the website experience and application features.

Revisit Emil’s presentation

Did you miss Emil’s session or want to learn more about how to decrease spend while moving to the cloud? Explore his presentation slides below:

Ready to implement these takeaways into your organization’s infrastructure to decrease IT spend, increase business agility, and mitigate risk? Contact us now for a free consultation »

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