To repeat a commonly used adage, today every company is a technology company. Regardless of whether you are making computer chips or paper pulp, you are using technology, software and IT infrastructure to bring your products to market. Essentially, your company’s digital systems have become a weapon of business to deliver differentiated products and services, making digital transformation an imperative in order to stay competitive.
The transition from traditional IT to cloud IT plays a significant role in these digital transformation efforts as it enables efficient use of resources and reduces costs and complexity. But the reality is that for all the potential benefits that cloud adoption brings, for many companies it hasn’t always delivered on its promise. Although the cloud has become the backbone of an organizations applications and systems, many organizations are discovering the shortcomings of a one-size-fits-all mindset toward cloud adoption.
An enterprise centric approach to cloud
The cloud has taken hold quickly. Only a decade ago, most enterprises were just beginning to scratch the surface of cloud adoption with sole focus on moving their applications to the public cloud. Many companies became single sourced on their cloud infrastructure and services.
As requirements have become more complex, organizations are beginning to realize that a one–size–fits–all and a single provider approach is no longer sufficient. Enterprises need the flexibility to leverage resources from the public clouds, private clouds, and edge data centers to make IT more effective, reduce costs, increase agility, navigate regulatory requirements and deliver better service to their customers. The increasing adoption of multicloud and hybrid cloud architectures for IT infrastructure is a recognition of this need.
However, for an enterprise, the cloud continues to be defined in terms of the provider of the public cloud or the technology adopted by the enterprise for their private or hybrid cloud. What is needed is an enterprise–centric vision for the cloud, as the distributed elastic pool of IT resources across public cloud providers, private clouds, and edge data centers that the enterprise has access to, within which they have the freedom to run applications wherever and whenever they want.
Kubernetes everywhere and the Enterprise Cloud
Containerization and Kubernetes are key to realizing this vision of the cloud. Kubernetes allows enterprises to define and build a consistent software–defined IT environment tailored for their specific needs, one that can run across multiple infrastructure silos and providers in private cloud, public cloud, and edge data centers.
Applications can run anywhere the Kubernetes–based IT environment is instantiated and applications no longer need to be tailored to run on a given infrastructure or cloud. Given this transformative capability, it’s no surprise that Kubernetes has quickly gained traction in the industry, with adoption increasing from 28 to 48% between 2018 and 2020 in enterprises, according to a survey by VMware.
IT agility requires data mobility
To realize the full potential of the cloud and have IT agility, application instances need to be mobile. Kubernetes and containers have made it easy to move application code between clouds and Kubernetes. But it has been much harder to make the underlying data mobile. A new approach is required – one that makes persistent volumes as mobile as application containers so that enterprises can fully benefit from their cloud investment.
Container native storage solutions enable consistent data and storage management across infrastructure silos and cloud providers. This by itself isn’t sufficient to provide data mobility. Data migration and data replication technologies that are used today to copy or move persistent volumes between clouds and Kubernetes clusters are operationally complex and time-consuming. They require upfront planning and often require significant downtime.
What’s needed is a new capability that allows persistent volumes to be moved as quickly as application containers – instant data mobility. Since moving all application data within a short period of time is not feasible and since moving data sets between clouds can be expensive, data mobility must allow the application to start working immediately, prioritize hot data over cold data, and implement strategies to minimize the amount of data that’s moved.
The events of last year accelerated digital transformation and cloud adoption. The shift to Kubernetes and container-native storage simplifies IT. New capabilities in container storage solutions related to data mobility will allow enterprises to optimize their IT investments while maximizing effectiveness. This opens the door for innovation and creates a competitive advantage. It’s a whole new future.