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Qualisystems 2016 Prediction: Private Cloud usage and DevOps will make big inroads into the Fortune 1000 – but not through IT


Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2016.  Read them in this 8th Annual series exclusive.

Contributed by Joan Wrabetz, CTO of Qualisystems

Private Cloud usage and DevOps will make big inroads into the Fortune 1000 – but not through IT

DevOps will continue to drive new development and testing models, but it is not clear if it will influence production deployment and operations yet.

We are seeing a real commitment to DevOps among Fortune 1000 companies.  We expect to see an acceleration of this shift in 2016.  The shift to DevOps is putting developers in control over operations people.  This is driving the tools toward more developer-friendly interfaces and away from the "simple" operations button.  While this is great in engaging many developers, it might be hindering actual deployment into production. 

What we are NOT seeing is a breakthrough in how production IT works.  Most of the DevOps activities that we see stop short of continuous deployment into production.  We see a few gaps that are the inhibitors that must be addressed in order for full production deployment:

  • DevOps tools need to be more enterprise grade and production-ready.  While they might be great for development and test use, they are not capable of handling large scale use that would be required for automated deployment into production.
  • DevOps needs to start looking beyond process and also look at how to "replicate" the production environment for development and testing so that there is little or no change when deploying into production.  The DevOps tool chain needs to have tools in the mix that can do "sandboxing" - create a replica of the production environment - including network, security, and hybrid cloud infrastructure if that is being used in production.  If all of the development, testing, and QA is done in a sandbox that is a high-fidelity replica of the production environment, then the risk of deployment will go down significantly.
  • Automation needs to move beyond "infrastructure as code".  In order to fully implement the DevOps process, the tools need to enable automation of all parts of the process, not just the infrastructure.  Automation needs to be an enabler of the DevOps process as a whole and this includes automating processes, applications and infrastructure.

I hope to see movement on the inhibitors in 2016, but I wouldn't go so far as to predict it!

Shadow IT will continue to grow as organizations turn many of their lines of business into "as a service" offerings.   Production IT continues to be out of touch with the needs of business users.  We are seeing a continuous flow of innovative programs in enterprises outside of IT.  In 2015, we really started to see projects driven by line of business groups in our customers that are as sophisticated or more sophisticated than what is done in their own IT organizations.   Some examples include:
  • Sales and marketing organizations are innovating around the customer journey by turning demos and Proof of Concepts into cloud-based "as-a-service" offerings.  This saves companies millions to hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in capital equipment in the field while also enabling order of magnitude more demos.
  • Semi-public "Ecosystem clouds" are also growing among our customers as they build closer relationships with their third party partners by offering a cloud for partners to develop, test, and certify their products.  Companies like Cisco offer this kind of cloud-based "as-a-service" offering for their hundreds of thousands of ISV partners ( 
Most of these projects are driven outside of the IT group.  Lines of business can directly measure the return on their investment with these kinds of offerings and they have no difficulty justifying the investment.

Why is this possible?  Because the tools are now available to quickly turn many operations into a cloud-based "as a service" offering, whether done in a public cloud or in the context of a purpose-built private cloud.  We predict strong growth for these kinds of projects in 2016 with no end in sight and little effective centralization into IT.


About the Author

Joan Wrabetz is the chief technology officer for QualiSystems. Prior to her current role, she was the VP and CTO for the emerging product division of EMC. Joan has more than 20 years of executive management experience at public and privately held technology companies. She has been an executive at a number of startup technology companies, a partner with BlueStream Ventures, and served on the board of directors or advisory board of many early-stage technology companies. She was the founder and CEO of Aumni Data, a developer of big data analytics technology. She was the CEO of Tricord Systems (acquired by Adaptec), one of the first companies to introduce a commercial product based on distributed file system technology. Earlier, Ms. Wrabetz was the VP and general manager for SAN operations at StorageTek. Prior to joining StorageTek, Ms. Wrabetz was the founder and CEO of Aggregate Computing, a grid computing software company, acquired by Platinum Technologies. Prior to Aggregate, Ms. Wrabetz held management and senior technical positions at Control Data Corporation and SRI International.

Ms. Wrabetz holds an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley, an MSEE from Stanford University, and BSEE from Yale University. She has taught as an adjunct faculty member at the University of St. Thomas, St. Mary's University, and at the Carlson School of Business at the University of Minnesota. She holds patents in load balancing, distributed systems and machine learning classification and analytics.

Published Wednesday, October 28, 2015 6:31 AM by David Marshall
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