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How Cloudy Should Your Cloud Roadmap Be!

by Manish Gupta, CTO, RateGain August-2016

IT infrastructure environments have changed dramatically in scope and complexity over the past couple of decades with an explosion in devices as well as with the advent of cloud computing. In addition, network security is no longer restricted to traditional VPN’s and company networks along with standard TCP/IP or HTTP services but needs to span the gamut of mobile networks, social-networking applications, and end-user mobility.

In fact, IT processes in organizations usually evolve organically and acquire inefficiencies as well as obsolescence due to rapidly changing business and competitive landscapes. Data centre and network practices that worked in an era of workstations and corporate laptops face issues with BYOD (“Bring your own device”) scenarios. Automation is the key to managing this kind of complexity – be it remote provisioning of systems, automated deployments, cloud-based monitoring, network security tools, or even biometric systems. Each such automation-based solution helps enterprises reduce complexity, qualitatively improve formerly manual and error-prone processes, and helps IT employees scale-up and perform value-added tasks. Automation of IT functions and tasks is driven by several inter-related factors. Those factors encompass reduction in scope for human error, need to preserve and enhance focus on value-added work by employees, cost efficiencies provided by reduced number and extent of manual processes and business flexibility due to enhanced ability to orchestrate business workflows wherever automation is in-place.

Importance of upgrading skills of IT staff

Skill up gradation is the lifeblood of any attempt by enterprises to accommodate new technologies and processes and help operations teams reduce efforts. IT staff in software product companies need to understand ‘DevOps’ as a best-practice that moves away from the traditional separation between development teams and IT. In end-user companies, trainings related to automated deployment and virtualization technologies are essential to extract maximum value for every dollar of IT spend.

Having the right framework to unlock automation’s full potential

It’s very easy to buy into the claims made by vendors but each such IaaS or PaaS offering needs to be evaluated from an organizational
maturity and usage perspective to avoid lock-in, wastage, or dead-ends during the automation process. Several IT automation techniques for system provisioning and virtualization are also amenable to upfront planning if one is aiming to maximize return on IT spend and avoidance of
mal-investment. Capacity planning based on usage scenarios and growth models as well as phased automation projects based on organizational and IT team maturity levels offer some good lessons during this endeavour.

Technologies and techniques like virtualization and cloud computing that were considered revolutionary some time back are now standard best-practices. Micro-services and even deep-learning based solutions are now appearing that look set to overturn how IT teams are set up with automation of traditionally human tasks of IT issue diagnosis, support, resolution lifecycle and even with network security testing. IoT is another exciting development that does away with the need for physical presence of staff almost entirely when it comes to remote deployments and management.