Digital transformation: Can’t sweat it? Don’t sweat it

Updated: November 18, 2019 5:51:06 AM

In tougher times, we tend to draw out the inevitable: the car that is usually replaced every two-or-three years, is held onto for five, or more; the home repairs get pushed off because we can manage without them. This is sweating an asset.

Digital transformation, Digital, industry news, technology news,  IT infrastructure, saarcThe more data you have in the cloud, the more difficult it becomes to exit.

By Balakrishnan Anantharaman

Cloud computing has become big business in India, with companies choosing short-term cost and convenience over long-term control. In the sharing economy, the concept of renting IT infrastructure – essential to power even the most basic functions in a business, like email, is still relatively new and has only been available during the economic good times. The model is simple, public cloud providers offer the ability for enterprises to “outsource” IT systems (and in some cases – departments) to a vast cloud network. By renting a public cloud, the client pays a set-up fee and then a core monthly subscription. Additional services come at a cost and may be temporary or permanent.
But as the threat of an economic slowdown looms, businesses may have cause to sweat, because the billions they are investing in cloud services don’t leave them with any assets to sweat for themselves.

You can’t sweat the cloud
In tougher times, we tend to draw out the inevitable: the car that is usually replaced every two-or-three years, is held onto for five, or more; the home repairs get pushed off because we can manage without them. This is sweating an asset.

Up in the cloud, it’s a different matter. What may have seemed a short term benefit may soon change: a monthly subscription from a public cloud provider may suddenly turn to bill shock after the realisation that it can’t be turned off on demand, and the bills are not paying towards a tangible asset you can fall back on. Turning the tap off completely is tricky too – public cloud contracts tend to have an element of Hotel California about them. The more data you have in the cloud, the more difficult it becomes to exit. And you can’t just cut ties to this data completely, you’re dependent on it; it’s running your emails, sales, financial software and whatever else you’ve handed over.

In what may be a trend that comes back to haunt India’s businesses, many are unconditionally reacting to cloud popularity. Research indicates more than 30% of new software investments by tech providers will shift from ‘cloud-first to cloud-only’ – making public cloud the only hotel in town.

How we got here
The insatiable appetite for cloud has come, in part, from businesses and technology professionals being frustrated with managing an increasingly complex IT infrastructure. For the IT departments, the constant firefighting,weekend upgrades and dealing with the expectations of management and staff has demoralised a function once prized within the organisation. And as for value or RoI, traditional hardware requires “refreshing” or replacing every three to five years, presenting a prime example of tied-up capital and inflexible hardware. Given the scale and scope of appliances and solutions – modern datacentres are less integrated and more “patched” together. With the cloud you get the latest upgrades and efficiencies – without the headache.

So, problem solved? Not really – because some of the same bright people that created the public cloud realised that same technology could be brought back into the enterprise, allowing them to minimise the pain and headaches associated with traditional infrastructure. Enter hyper converged infrastructure (HCI) and private cloud.

The writer is VP and MD, Sales, India and SAARC, Nutanix

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