AI & Hybrid Multicloud Strategies

Enterprise digital infrastructure and artificial intelligence

Wow, so many clouds.

Multiple in fact! They sure look hybrid to me.

Hybrid multicloud strategy sounds like a marketing gimmick, and it probably is to some extent. “Mixed server usage” as a term is not likely as appealing?

Hybrid Cloud refers to the strategy of using any two types of Cloud or hosting infrastructure in a single organisation.”

On a more serious note it is vitally important for companies operating anything digital to consider this as it will be part of how they structure their costs — or responsibilities.

Due to more companies moving the memories on their servers onto external servers (the cloud) there is an increasing practice of signing up to enable available space on a subscription basis. This is mentioned by Techradar as the fear of binding up contracts:

“…as exciting as public clouds are, businesses that rely on them inevitably run into a paradox: more and more of their data fall hostage to one cloud. Fear of vendor lock-in has quickly become a widespread concern. A study recently published by Morning Consult shows that 86% of IT decision-makers say that vendor lock-in by a cloud provider is a key concern in their purchasing decision.”

As such considering this the report commissioned in August 2019, IBM commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate how organisations develop and implement their IT infrastructure strategies.

They described a new situation where organisations:

The private research was conduced by Forrester and was an online survey of 350 global enterprise IT decision makers across industries exploring this topic. In other words no overly credible or reliable, yet worth reading.

In short their key findings were that:

  1. The key to hybrid cloud is on-premises infrastructure.
  2. Infrastructure depends on the job to be done.
  3. Public cloud does not mean that companies have stopped investing in on-premises.
  4. Stopping refreshes and upgrades can be costly due to security vulnerabilities, compatibility issues and inability to meet expectations.

The commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting was released January 2020 called The Key To Enterprise Hybrid Multicloud Strategy The Importance Of On-Premises In An Increasingly Cloud-Forward World.

A few of their key insights included.

  • 50% of critical workloads will be run either on-premises or in an internal private cloud in two years.
  • 90% of organizations agree that on-premises infrastructure is a critical part of their hybrid cloud strategy.
  • The push to public cloud doesn’t mean organizations have stopped investing in on-premises. 8 out of 10 respondents predict their organizations will increase investment in IT infrastructure outside of public cloud in the next two years.

Strangely enough the report mention a growing cloud footprint, yet it does not mention carbon footprint of the cloud. This is a marketing report so this is not unsurprising.

One aspect they mention is that many receive pushback when they want to do their strategies differently.

“75% have received pushback while advocating for strategies outside of cloud environments.”

They recommend aligning cloud strategy and sourcing framework. To go against cloud vendor lock-in by designing for multicloud deployment and architectures wherever possible. Asking companies to consider other infrastructure investments and not to delay investment. They talk of considering subscription-based infrastructure refresh options to provide a more flexible future if their strategy changes.

Overall I enjoyed reading the short report by Forrester and thought it provided some interesting perspective, although I realised it was meant to help IBM to understand its market approach, and for customers to feel safe in taking a decision to purchase digital infrastructure with IBM.

Artificial Intelligence and the Hybrid Cloud

On June the 14th 2019 Gaurav Sharma wrote an article about AI and the hybrid cloud.

It spoke to the importance of those operating within AI to consider this change — the everyday services, the outages. The customer services has to be considered and ensuring the services are running smoothly is important.

He spoke of making the hybrid-cloud orchestration intelligent, because AI can be expensive and require a lot of though when it comes to the digital infrastructure involved in project.

  • Right workload fitment,
  • Cost analysis,
  • Real-time decision making
  • Policy optimisation

He says it is important to enable IT teams to focus on critical tasks rather than maintaining or only provisioning systems.

Another aspect was the changing regulations.

He did not mention AI or cloud as flags of convenience, however it can be thought of in this regard.

There is increasingly a regular monitoring of both active and passive artificial intelligence services.

Do you need to focus on the field of artificial intelligence in-house or buy it to some extent?

Google, IBM, Microsoft, and AWS work to create and deliver AI-as-a-service.

IBM has been on the forefront of this.

It will be interesting to see the changes occurring.

From Market Footprint to Climate Footprint?

One last word here in terms of hybrid cloud is what mix will achieve the best optimisation for climate friendly solutions.

Sadly I have not seen this spoken of to a great extent, yet it might be a topic for another time.

This is #500daysofAI and you are reading article 317. I am writing one new article about or related to artificial intelligence every day for 500 days. My focus for day 300–400 is about AI, hardware and the climate crisis.

AI Policy and Ethics at www.nora.ai. Student at University of Copenhagen MSc in Social Data Science. All views are my own. twitter.com/AlexMoltzau