Cloud Predictions for 2019 and beyond

Oracle’s top 10 predictions for cloud in 2019 and beyond

By now it is clear that cloud adoption shows no sign of abating, in fact, many businesses are moving towards infrastructures that are entirely cloud-based. Most businesses use more than one public cloud for infrastructure as a service or backup as a service, alongside multiple software as a service applications. Oracle has evaluated the cloud market and has made some informed predictions from now until 2025. Are you focusing your efforts in the right places? Read on to see if your strategy is aligned.

1.Next generation clouds will allow businesses to move 100% of their data centres to the cloud

First generation clouds were built for efficiency and economies of scale, without the reliability and security that mission critical applications demand. Next generation clouds are built with complexity and security in mind, designed to support AI and data analytics applications, IoT environments, and emerging technologies like blockchain. Customers are feeling confident enough to start moving their highly performing, high risk, most valued operations to the cloud.

2. 80% of all enterprise workloads will move to the cloud

Enterprise customers will continue to adopt different cloud services, from multiple cloud vendors, mixing public and private, managed and self-service and migrating data and applications from across the enterprise until 80% of all workloads are run in the cloud. This will include mission critical workloads, as confidence in the cloud grows.

3. All applications will incorporate AI, further distancing themselves from legacy applications.

As data volumes gathered grow at pace, application developers are utilising AI more and more to make sense of these vast data volumes. AI is being used in many different ways, to do more, faster, differently and Oracle believes that application vendors will build capabilities into every new application by 2025.

4. AI and emerging technologies will double our productivity

The reason Oracle believes AI will be incorporated in every new application is because it can significantly increase productivity. By processing and learning from massive amounts of data, automating activities and workflows and freeing up resources to focus human effort where it really counts, businesses that adopt AI and emerging technologies could double their productivity.

5. 85% of customer interactions will be automated

Automation doesn’t just drive efficiencies it can improve the customer journey and customer service. AI enabled chatbots and voice assistants will continue to improve, learning context and intent and leading to even better customer service. Businesses will use AI-driven analytics to understand customer needs, serving these with automated, humanised digital services.

6. The developer community will expand 10x and productivity will increase by 400%

As application development techniques become less about coding and more visual and user friendly and demand for new applications continues to increase, there may be a rise in the number of non-professional developers in the marketplace. This increased pool of developers will be able to use new intelligent tools and platforms that allow them to build, test and deploy applications quickly, making them more efficient and productive.

7. More than 50% of data will be managed autonomously

Patching, updating and upgrading applications is a set of necessary but time -consuming activities and ripe for automation, if businesses are going to free up time. Autonomous, or self-healing applications can be brought online faster, cheaper and without specialist skills and knowledge. This is a predicted to be a big growth area.

8. 90% of enterprises will use a single identity platform that bridges premises and the cloud

The use of identity and access management technologies that can cross hybrid clouds and provide a unified identity that spans all applications and services is just starting to take off, but user expectations, demands on the business for real time provisioning and de-provisioning coupled with data privacy regulations will mean that single platform vendor solutions will be hotly in demand.

9. The number of security events will increase 100x and automation will become the most reliable way of preventing, detecting and mitigating threats.

Security events are increasing in volume and type and businesses are looking at automation solutions in order to analyse and prioritise these in order to protect against them in the future. It is likely that cybercriminals will deploy AI-enabled malicious traffic which is hard to identify. The logical response is to use AI enabled security solutions that analyse vast amounts of security event data to defend against these threats, from core to edge.

10. 70% of IT functions will be completely automated

The routine, repetitive functions undertaken by the IT department are the perfect type of task to be automated. Patching, tuning, deploying new services, adding more capacity, all of these jobs can be automated successfully to improve reliability, availability, scalability and allow businesses to meet application SLAs to the business. If 70% of these tasks are automated, the resources freed up can be dedicated to transformation and innovation projects that will truly set businesses apart from the competition.

Backup to cloud

Tips for planning your backup to the cloud strategy

Backup to the cloud is a rapidly emerging data protection strategy and can remove management overheads, whilst also improving performance and efficiency. It is a big shift for many organisations however and there are a number of considerations that it is wise to address beforehand.

Firstly, it is crucial that you clearly understand your data retention requirements, whether they are required by regulation, for compliance purposes, or set by the business. It is a recommendation that you retain data backups onsite long enough to cover around 85% of the typical file restore requests that come in.

On the topic of compliance, it is also wise to look at regulatory requirements as a whole to make sure that your new backup strategy adequately addresses those. This could mean making sure that your data will be kept in a geographical location that is accepted, and not moved to a cloud location in a country that doesn’t comply with your local regulations. It could also mean that you need to look at the protection your data has whilst in transit, not just while it is at rest in storage. You should look at encryption to protect the data while it moves from location to location and in between.

Before starting your backup to cloud planning, it’s useful to update your DR plans, as this can help you identify any areas that your current backup strategy isn’t addressing, where your backup to cloud strategy could help. At the same time, run a gap analysis on your current backup strategy to see where improvements can be made with the new solution. For sustainability and budget purposes, it is a worthwhile exercise to identify any reusable elements of your current backup solution, that will work in your new backup infrastructure.

The next step is to consult with the key stakeholders within the business. They can help you understand what the business requirements of your backup strategy need to be and could include performance requirements, scalability and security. The IT Department might think that some performance degradation is acceptable, or even unnoticeable, or that it a recovery window of 24 hours would work for the business, while another business function, such as finance or sales, might believe that performance cannot be undermined at any cost, and that data must be instantly recoverable for a set period. It is only through consultation with each head of department, that you will understand the expectations and requirements and be able to build these into the solution’s scope (or not, if you deem it unattainable or unnecessary).

Whilst reviewing the expectations of the business, review your formal Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to make sure they are still appropriate and to ensure that your new backup strategy can meet the most up to date SLAs.

The stakeholder consultation may also uncover different requirements for different data sets, or applications, which is not uncommon. Finance data is likely to be governed by more regulations and could have longer retention periods than marketing or sales data for example. Most current backup strategies treat all data the same but a backup to cloud strategy could incorporate granular policies for different data sets, applications or departments.

The benefits of a disk-to-disk-to-cloud strategy are clear; rapid restores, almost instantaneous offsite vaulting, lower cost backup storage options and greater levels of security, but as with any major project, planning is essential if you are going to realise all the benefits and meet the needs and expectations of the business.

The 10 things you must consider for your cloud adoption strategy

Making the shift from on-premise technology infrastructure to a cloud-based architecture, specifically infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), is a significant decision and one that should be carefully considered for its impact across an organisation. When procuring infrastructure-as-a-service consider the following:

1. Cloud computing is different
Using IaaS is not just about the location of equipment. Cloud services are priced, bought and used differently, with an on-demand utility model that is designed to maximise spend, but needs a different approach to traditional technology infrastructure.

2. Early planning is essential
All key stakeholders across an organisation should be engaged in the decision to move to a cloud model. There will certainly be huge implications for finance, IT, operations, compliance, from board level down.

3. Flexibility
When planning an IaaS procurement, focus on performance at an application level as your requirement and allow the Cloud Service Provider (CSP) to make recommendations based on their experience and understanding of best practice. Prepare to be flexible and to adapt your expectations of the actual equipment and procedures, according to the advice given.

4. Separate cloud infrastructure and managed services
Keep procurements of IaaS and managed service labour separate if possible. It will make it easier to agree and monitor specific IaaS Service Level Agreements and terms and conditions.

5. Utility pricing
As mentioned, IaaS is priced using a utility model, or pay as you go model which allows you to make maximum efficiency gains. Customised billing and transparent pricing models allow you to continually evaluate and ascertain whether you are receiving best value for money and maximising usage.

6. Industry standards
Look out for CSPs with industry standard accreditations that you can trust. Cyber Essentials, ISO 27000, ISO 9000, SSAE, PCI, GDPR compliance are all good starting points and will save you time in re-evaluation.

7. Share responsibility
A CSP ensures that infrastructure is secure and controlled, but you ensure that you architect it correctly and use secure, controlled applications. Be aware of what is your responsibility and what is the responsibility of the CSP.

8. Ensure cloud data governance

Following on from cybersecurity and data protection, it is your responsibility to ensure cloud data governance controls are in place. Find out what identity and access controls are offered by the CSP and make provisions for additional data protection, encryption and validation tools.

9. Agree commercial item terms

Cloud computing is a commercial item and should be procured under appropriate terms and conditions. Ensure you utilise these to the best effect.

10. Define cloud evaluation criteria
In order to ascertain whether you have achieved your objectives and performance requirements, you should specify your cloud evaluation criteria at the outset. The National Institute of Standards and Technology outlines some benefits of cloud usage and is a good starting point for defining cloud evaluation criteria.

Use this list before you start to plan your IaaS project and it will help you define a successful procurement strategy.

The questions you should ask when planning your tape-to-cloud migration

With the huge advances in public cloud security, efficiency and value for money, many organisations are now planning to move towards cloud backup strategies, which are less complex and more reliable than traditional tape backup solutions. But migrating your backup to cloud from tape can be a big project and does require careful scoping. There are some key questions to ask before embarking on a migration from tape to cloud, which will help you to understand the scale of the project.

Firstly, do you need to move all historical backups to the cloud, or could you start backing up new data to the cloud and gradually reduce on-premises tape dependency as data reaches end-of-life? This is a straightforward approach but depends on the business being comfortable with different RPO and RTOs for new versus aged data.

Next, what is the best way of migrating a large data set to the cloud initially? You can use on-premises network transport methods, or physical transport methods. High speed internet transfer would only be an option for smaller data sets, as can be time consuming.

You might need to consider that when you move data from tape to cloud, it could be prudent to perform any indexing, transcoding or repackaging that will make it easier to extract value from the data once in the cloud.

Do you know if your current backup vendor can natively support a cloud backup store, or are new feature licenses or major version updates required? Once you’ve migrated, can you restore to cloud virtual machines or will data restore to a physical machine?

Can you write data directly to the cloud and do your backup windows support that too? Should you use a traditional storage protocol such as a network file system (NFS)?

Do you need to change your workflows to suit the cloud environment, or will your cloud solution appear as a virtual tape library allowing you to keep the same processes and save time and management overhead?

Does your cloud backup provider give you the scalability and elasticity needed to make changes without disruption to the backup activity? Enterprise cloud providers should have the provisions, AWS offers Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute which can flex to keep processes consistent.

When accessing backup data will this be done in the cloud, or will it be pulled back and accessed on-premises? It could affect the services you purchase, from archives which are seldom accessed to a virtual tape library which holds frequently accessed, recent files.

Can you leverage the cloud to simplify widely distributed backup workflows?

Many cloud providers offer complementary services such as analytics, data lifecycle management or compliance features. Do you need these as part of your backup solution?

Could a cloud integrator help you to scope, implement and migrate your current backup environment across to the cloud?

Getting answers to these questions now will save immeasurable time during and after your move to the cloud and can help you to maximise your budget, by cutting out unnecessary services.

Realising the Value of Modernising Your Legacy Infrastructure

Techopedia defines a legacy system as an outdated system, language or application that is used instead of available upgraded systems. The term “legacy” is often used pejoratively, but the reality is that most organisations do have some legacy infrastructure. It can be problematic as it gets older, becoming incompatible with new and emerging apps and technology. When legacy hardware and software is out of support with unpatched security elements it is at greater risk of a cyber-attack. Costs to run legacy systems increase as services become more frequent and more things start to go wrong. Older systems that have bits added here and there become increasingly complex and they invariably take longer to configure and provision to accommodate new services. New services and apps take longer to go live and therefore bring benefits to the users and businesses suffer from being cumbersome, slow and often with insufficient capacity to grow with the business.

Most CIOs understand that they need to modernise their infrastructure if they are going to keep up with the demands of a modern business. Modern apps and workloads need fast, agile, secure and scalable infrastructure to run as efficiently as they are able.

But a modernisation project involves more than just refreshing hardware when it needs an upgrade, it requires serious consideration and planning, with a long-term strategy. A strategy that leads the business towards the cloud. When planning to refresh infrastructure, consider solutions that will meet current needs, either on premise, or in the cloud, but also be flexible enough to adapt to moving other apps and workloads to the cloud, plus a plan for building and developing new apps and services, in the cloud. The cloud is the way for businesses to scale and to provide the power, speed and agility that modern apps demand. Only by speeding up the time to production, reducing IT overheads and automating business processes will businesses be able to compete. By automating as much as possible, staff can focus on high value work and are better placed to give the business a competitive edge.

The journey to the cloud is the most important aspect of any modernisation strategy and in “The Creative CIO’s Agenda: Six Big Bets for Digital Transformation”, KPMG places the journey to the cloud at the top of the list of digital priorities for CIOs, in order for them to both defend against disruption and be disruptors themselves.

Oracle Solaris was developed for the cloud and can accelerate the adoption of workloads in the cloud, with fast and intelligent provisioning, virtualised networking, simplified administration and stringent security features. By upgrading to Oracle Solaris, businesses can be assured of total protection for data and applications, speedy performance and simpler data management. Choosing infrastructure that is designed for the cloud will mean that whether applications and workloads are ready now, or in the future, it is a simple and seamless process.

Read more in the Oracle SPARC Solaris for Dummies guide or help your applications perform at optimal levels by running a WTL enterprise Solaris and Linux healthcheck.

Useful Links

Tech Funnel Article – Top 10 Priorities of CIOs in 2018

The Creative CIOs Agenda – Six Big Bets for Digital Transformation