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By Erik Vogel
All sorts of products are now available as a service, and consumers are getting more and more accustomed to buying them in this way – from music and movies to office space and cars. We expect to be able to purchase them as a subscription, ideally paying only for what we use. And because we don’t actually own these products, the hassle of maintaining them goes away. In our personal lives, I for one am more than happy to leave that headache to someone else.
The same is now true in our professional lives, led by cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS). Businesses are getting comfortable giving up ownership of IT products (using a CapEx model) and purchasing them as a service (using an OpEx model). Commonly called IT as a Service (ITaaS), this method of purchasing IT provides an enterprise with exactly the amount of hardware, software, and support needed for an agreed upon monthly fee, service level, and IT consumption. Proponents of ITaaS point to a number of benefits: minimal upfront investment, expenses that mirror usage, scalability, expert management and support, and regular updates of all hardware.
Today’s datacenter is getting more complex
Because of the popularity of ITaaS, the datacenter of the past is dramatically changing – both physically and conceptually. Today’s physical datacenters are growing at a slower rate than in the past. Better network connectivity, higher capacity storage, and denser compute capabilities provide increased efficiency with fewer hardware components. Of course, workloads that are shifting out of the datacenter to public cloud or colocation facilities are further reducing the demand on the traditional datacenter facility.
This shift means the traditional four walls and a ceiling no longer contain the datacenter. The logical datacenter construct now extends to cloud providers, colocation facilities, edge devices, and edge computing. Today’s datacenter exists without clear boundaries, creating growing complexity. The new hybrid computing environment is now much harder to operate as performance, reliability, compliance, and security are all more difficult to manage.
ITaaS enables a simpler digital transformation
This new datacenter reality combined with the trend of purchasing everything as a service will lead to ITaaS becoming mainstream in a few short years. ITaaS extracts out the complexity of a datacenter, radically simplifying a hybrid IT environment.
When a business chooses ITaaS, the service provider handles all the infrastructure complexity. From purchasing the hardware and standing it up, to quality checks and deploying an operating system, monitoring, and management tools—all of these responsibilities have shifted to the service provider. The internal IT operations team no longer supports the equipment. Instead, they purchase everything they need from the ITaaS provider, giving them what they need, when they need it.
The shifting roles of IT operations
As businesses transition to ITaaS, the role of IT will also shift; IT operations will become a strategic sourcer for services within the organization. Selecting IT service providers involves more than just looking for the lowest cost. IT operations must be intimately involved in making smart IT decisions for the business. This involves research and planning to determine what is key intellectual property for the business. These workloads will most likely be kept onsite in a smaller, more efficient datacenter.
IT operations may recommend workloads not key to the business be sourced to someone else. For example, a financial firm would probably choose to keep their proprietary trading platform in-house, yet source email applications out to a service provider. Integrating all aspects of IT in different places (on premises, off premises, private cloud, public cloud) now becomes a key role for IT operations.
An expert partner is vital for making a smooth transformation
As a business transforms to an ITaaS model, it shouldn’t try to go it alone. In today’s complex, rapidly emerging technology environment, no one can be an expert on everything. It’s impossible to understand all options in terms of cloud options, on-premises solutions, colocation availability, etc. Look for experts to help with this difficult transformation.
In a hybrid IT and ITaaS environment, everything is different – technology, people, processes, economics – and an expert partner can help make sense of it all. Consult industry experts who are experienced, knowledgeable, and offer solutions that will help the business transition to ITaaS and the datacenter of the future.
For example, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is an experienced partner who has committed to offer their entire portfolio as a service by 2022. And within HPE, two consulting groups are available to provide businesses with the knowledge they need to make a smooth transformation. HPE PointNext is a global consulting service group who will work with the IT team to enhance learning, find solutions to hybrid and multi-cloud challenges, and accelerate a successful digital transformation to ITaaS.
Another HPE offering, HPE GreenLake hybrid cloud, is a consumption-based ITaaS model that lets businesses operate faster by providing managed services capabilities across their hybrid estate. HPE also offers HPE Right Mix Advisor, an industry-first solution that recommends which workloads and applications are ideal to move to public clouds or keep in private clouds. It also advises how to migrate those workloads to achieve the right mix of hybrid cloud according to specific business needs.
Risk of inaction or of moving too slowly
Change is difficult, especially when it involves doing things in a completely different way than we are accustomed to. Both consumers and business can clearly see that many products are moving to a service model. This trend is having a big impact on the datacenter – from how it operates to the people who work in it.
The risk of inaction or not moving fast enough to accommodate this growing trend in the datacenter is real. It’s time to take some preliminary steps to ensure your business is not left behind. HPE provides the expertise and technology solutions needed to help you transform quickly and seamlessly to an as a service model.
Erik Vogel, Vice President Customer Success, Hybrid Cloud Software and Services, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is responsible for following industry trends, understanding clients’ needs, identifying areas of opportunity, and investing to create innovative solutions. Erik directly supports M&A activities, works closely with partner alliance teams, and is actively involved in analyst and media relations. Erik’s teams have developed solutions aimed at modernizing legacy enterprise applications, migrating to cloud, developing private clouds, and implementing container solutions. His teams are also developing software tools for cloud migrations that integrate custom and partner based solutions.