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LogicMonitor 2016 Predictions: 2016 - The Year Nothing Much Changed

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

Contributed by Steve Francis, Founder and Chief Product Officer at LogicMonitor

2016: The Year Nothing Much Changed

Not sexy, but likely true. In 2016 we will see incremental shift towards the cloud, with most enterprises still dipping their toes in the cloud. Sure, there are big exceptions - companies like Netflix (which, incidentally, still has a lot of network gear connecting its shipping warehouses for physical DVDs), and General Electric, who are in the process of moving "the vast bulk" (but not all) of about 9000 applications from their datacenters to different public cloud providers.

Why shouldn't all enterprises jump feet first into the cloud?

Well, switching the engines on an enterprise, midflight, and changing the engines from custom-built, hand polished hardware to a variety of rapidly provisioned devices from a different manufacturer is no easy thing. Look at the linked article about G.E., and look how thoughtfully they are going through the process to ensure security and governance requirements are met.

Moving an application in isolation may be technically doable - but what applications in an enterprise live in isolation?  There are auditing systems, security systems, access control systems, backup and disaster recovery...

And then there are application architecture considerations. An application designed to run on high end clustered servers with RAID, shared storage, large fiber-channel attached SANs, will probably require quite a lot of re-architecting to achieve the same level of performance and availability in the cloud as on dedicated, controlled hardware. That is not to say it cannot be done - and indeed, once re-architected, availability may be better, if service is replicated across different availability zones. But to get there will require a lot of work - and often involves learning different development technologies, such as lambda-architecture design models.

Another issue that may be slowing some deployments is the pace of change in the cloud.  Amazon, for example, rolled out a plethora of new services this year alone, including support for containers.  Containers are great for easing deployment, isolating processes for security reasons, and a variety of other reasons - there are compelling reasons to investigate and adopt containers. But if you thought you had virtual machine sprawl, you can have far worse container sprawl unless you give a lot of thought to the management of container lifecycle.

So what should enterprises do?

Create a plan. The public cloud is going to be some part of the future of IT - even if only to expand into once existing datacenter facilities reach capacity. (The investment to move a subset of applications to the cloud could, while non-trivial, will be far cheaper than a new datacenter). Decide which applications are candidates for moving to the cloud - ideally ones being created from scratch, that can take advantage of cloud-services and be engineered to withstand the inherent ceding-of-control of underlying hardware that clouds impose.  Find tools that can work across both cloud and private datacenters, to provide continuous visibility, management and security regardless of where applications are deployed (such as LogicMonitor for monitoring). And start learning. Exactly what enterprises are already doing.

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About the Author

Steve Francis is the founder and CPO of LogicMonitor. He has been in the IT industry for over 20 years. Having been responsible for data center operations for organizations as diverse as National Geographic, the University of California, Citrix Online and Valueclick, he brings a wealth of real world knowledge about effective data center monitoring.

Published Thursday, November 12, 2015 6:33 AM by David Marshall
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