virtualisation & cloud services like this creates as many challenges as simply picking one application and transforming it. Will this hybrid work together practically? Will the latencies between the cloud part and my DC’s work? Will the data sets in multiple places be able to be brought together to give the organisation that complete view they crave? Even if it does, who’s to say that your four ‘partners’ will all progress lock step as one happy family? The equipment vendors are not all wrong, however. They are responding to a predictable and highly foreseeable future where the current separation of cloud, network, data centre and even managed services converges (doesn’t have to ‘hyperconverge’ but I guess we have run out of superlatives) ie. comes together, so that instead of you integrating the elements someone has done it for you. Digital Enterprise Platform Combining the elements A simpler solution is to look for a platform where the integration has been done for you, combining the elements as one platform where you are focused on using it, not building it. The vendor community is excited about this prospect and is advocating ‘hyper-converged’ equipment that combines computing, storage and networking in one neat package. Whilst an admirable attempt at sustainability, it fails for many, as it doesn’t give you the ‘cloudy’ consumption model and even as an augmentation to cloud, as the more ridiculous notion of ‘fog’, it’s simply shifting the deck chairs. 20 So, a Digital Enterprise Platform is one that combines cloud and network, cloud and DC, DC and network and all works together so you simply have to consume it. It’s all very obvious really. Cloud invariably needs network – you have to connect to it – you might want multiple locations (Europe’s gnarly data laws, languages and taxes all help to make this so) with built-in private interconnects so YOU don’t have to overlay a network. The DC and cloud are close or in the same building so you don’t have to worry about ‘stretching’ applications. Some things you want to simply and literally roll into a DC and maintain as part of the estate, but get out of that DC lease into something more flexible. The DC surely is part of the network and so on. Layering over this and helping the transition is a layer of services that help transform and realign, so the whole things works simply. To take an example, let’s look at the Scabal Group which we work with. Scabal was founded in 1938 and is an exclusive provider of luxury menswear known for dressing everyone from movie stars and celebrities to heads of state. Scabal Group was relocating to a new office in Brussels and had the choice of moving its existing physical IT infrastructure to the new location or look for a more convenient and flexible outsourcing option. It decided on a hybrid solution for expedience, marrying together their physical infrastructure and newly flexible cloud resources as one contiguous platform. A fully integrated platform has considerable technical and application advantages but perhaps its most compelling attraction is simply the fact that it creates options and choices. Given that you have a mix of infrastructure types and platforms, free network and end-to-end assurance, all in the same platform with global reach, there is no need to time different infrastructure vendors contract termination dates, pay upfront for services and worry about ‘when’ you need to ‘lift and shift’. The speed of change these days often means that planning is more about how wrong you are going to be, rather than how right. The longer the horizon, the greater the risk. The Digital Enterprise Platform removes this planning risk, as you are not obligated to transform. You can simply consolidate and save money, or conversely you can only focus on transformation safe in the knowledge that you are consolidating continually and not creating silos.