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By Gary Thome
In April of this year, the number of HBO Now subscribers skyrocketed, fueled by the return of Game of Thrones for its final season. Those new HBO viewers will be temporary, according to historical data. That’s because the popular series has now ended, and viewers can easily drop the service they no longer want to use.
That’s the beauty of the as a service model – and one of the biggest reasons why it has become so popular. Consumers love flexibility in contracts and the opportunity to pay only for what they use, when they use it. IT as a Service (ITaaS) works the same way. It lets businesses treat all IT products and services as a commodity, providing exactly the right amount of hardware, software, and support they need, while only paying for what they use.
As more and more enterprises begin thinking about the value of ITaaS, thorough research of each option becomes increasingly important for the customer. As new offerings start to become available in the months ahead, it’s important to look for these five must haves to ensure long-term success for this innovative, consumption-based approach.
1. The right experience: a single portal for cloud-based services
The most visible aspect of ITaaS for the enterprise involves a single portal, which provides a comprehensive set of cloud services that users can access quickly and easily.
Ideally, the portal should provide access to a service catalog that includes infrastructure services, application services, and hybrid cloud services. For example, developers could enter the portal and select different types of services and licenses needed to code or test new applications. For the IT user, the portal provides a simple way to provision hybrid cloud and multi-cloud services along with management tools. For example, an IT user could select a cost analytics service to monitor expenses across their entire hybrid, multi-cloud estate.
Once a cloud service is provisioned in the portal, the operation of the service is handled for you. All day-to-day operations are constantly monitored, automated, and updated. IT personnel and developers can focus on delivering technology innovation that your business needs to stay competitive.
2. Access to multiple clouds for deployment flexibility
In today’s global businesses environment, any ITaaS offering should give users the flexibility to manage and store data anywhere. Organizations will deploy applications and data where it makes the most sense – public cloud, colocation, traditional on-premises – all through an as-a-service model.
As your enterprise grows and its needs change, you will also want the flexibility to move data and applications freely across clouds, between clouds, and across on-premises environments. Whether you want to modernize your on-premises back office systems, or you are moving a mission-critical application to be geographically closer to where you do business, flexibility is key.
HPE recently introduced a concept called cloudless computing, a new approach to computing resources that removes the boundaries separating clouds. Similar to how serverless computing abstracts away the differences between servers, cloudless will abstract away differences in various cloud platforms. Workloads, computing, and data are free to run where they need to, when they need to – without regard to boundaries.
3. Composability on premises
Because today’s typical enterprise wants the flexibility to deploy workloads using a variety of options (cloud, on-premises, private cloud, or colocation), cost-effective on-premises infrastructure is also important for an effective ITaaS experience. According to Gartner, by 2020 ninety percent of organizations will embrace hybrid cloud, strategically placing workloads to optimize cost, latency, and control.
When choosing on-premises infrastructure, the enterprise should look for infrastructure that ensures flexibility and cost-savings. Composable infrastructure enables businesses to quickly compose and recompose infrastructure based on needs of each individual workload or application. IT simply dials in the type of resources needed from fluid resources pools, which is easily managed with software-defined intelligence. All layers integrate with a unified API, allowing third-party partners to plug in their value throughout the workflow.
4. Consumption-based pricing for all of your IT infrastructure
One of the biggest benefits of a cloud computing experience is a consumption-based pricing model. Make sure this pricing model is available for all of your IT infrastructure – both in the public cloud and on premises.
Consumption-based pricing lets you only pay for what you use, avoiding the risk of over or under buying capacity. Pay-as-you go consumption solutions provide IT agility, allowing your business to scale IT resources up or down when needed. And as mentioned above, you can also choose to have your IT provider manage your on-site infrastructure, which gives you valuable expertise while freeing up your own IT staff.
5. Artificial intelligence and machine learning – the importance of predictive analytics
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) can improve and simplify how all of your infrastructure is managed and supported, which makes it the last must have for ITaaS. Imagine if every second, millions of sensor measurements captured the state of all of your systems everywhere – in the cloud and on-site.
Next, envision how IT operational data could be collected, analyzed, and used to support the ideal operating environment for every workload and application. AI and machine learning (ML) are essential for every ITaaS implementation to simplify operations and ensure predictive analytics solve problems before they occur.
ITaaS is a topic that is starting to trend for enterprises that want to improve IT operations, products, and services no matter where their IT infrastructure is located. Before making the switch to an as-a-service model, keep in mind the 5 must haves described above. These key components will help your enterprise achieve the full benefits of ITaaS, transforming your current IT into a cost-effective and simple consumption-based, fully-managed experience.
Gary Thome is the Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for the Software-Defined and Cloud Group at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). He is responsible for the technical and architectural directions of converged datacenter products and technologies. Over his extensive career in the computer industry, Gary has authored 50 patents. To read more articles from Gary, check out the HPE Shifting to Software-Defined blog.