The Cloud is a ‘How’ not a ‘Where’
There’s a big misconception in the business world today about what the cloud is and why it matters so much. Here’s an effort to provide some clarity.
Many people have a fuzzy image of the cloud as a new place where all their applications, network services, and other IT ‘stuff’ resides. In their minds, it’s a big server farm out there somewhere that is replacing the datacenter down the hall.
Sure, those big server farms do exist, but that’s not what’s important here. The whole key to the cloud, and why it’s so transformative, has nothing to do with location and everything to do with flexible capabilities. With cloud architectures, and companion technologies such as virtualized network services and SD-WAN, IT and NetOps teams can run their environments with far more agility and responsiveness than ever before.
This new flexibility is enabling organizations of all kinds to completely reinvent their business models and processes, putting digital capabilities at their core. The decades-old hardware-centric approach is finally giving way to a software-driven world. This fundamental change has come to be known as digital transformation.
Familiar and Surprising Successes
News stories about organizations making this change are increasingly common these days. There are big stories like Amazon acquiring Whole Foods and applying its online expertise to that grocery chain’s operations, and Walmart fighting back against Amazon by offering free two-day shipping. But some of the more telling digital transformation success stories aren’t as high-profile as Amazon and Walmart.
Take Kroger, for example. Kroger is the giant traditional (brick & mortar) grocery chain, right?
Wrong. By embracing digital transformation, the company is dramatically changing how it does business. Rather than gradually losing market share to more nimble competitors, Kroger is surviving and thriving in the online grocery market thanks to its many digital-centric initiatives. These include its Restock Kroger digital shopping initiative and its ClickList service, which lets customers shop online for home delivery or curbside pickup at their local store.
With these digital efforts Kroger recently reported a 66% increase in online sales. With growth like that, instead of fading away, the company has repositioned itself is a serious competitor to Amazon, Walmart and other major players in the online grocery market.
As one industry observer put it, "Kroger is evolving with its consumer instead of falling behind, and it has paid off." It’s digital transformation that has enabled the company’s impressive evolution.
Caveats and New Requirements
To successfully transition to the cloud, and to sustain operational success, there are a few caveats and new requirements. These all have to do with the immense complexity of these software-driven environments. With this new-found agility and flexibility, teams are developing and launching new applications faster than ever before. Dynamic provisioning of network resources to meet demand in real time means that applications, bandwidth, and other services get spun up and down in the blink of an eye. There’s also the tremendous increases in the volume and velocity of data these environments generate. There are the cloud infrastructures themselves -- heterogeneous, multi-vendor, cross-domain arrangements that also can change in a kaleidoscope fashion. Overlaid on top of all this is advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities that deliver even more competitive advantages.
In short, for their cloud initiatives and digital transformations to succeed, IT and NetOps teams need to keep their eyes on a lot more stuff, all of which is moving faster than ever.
That is why IT and NetOps teams need network and infrastructure monitoring capabilities that are as evolved as their new environments. They need monitoring and management capabilities that have the speed, scalability and flexibility required to keep up in this new world.
There’s no doubt about it. Digital transformation is happening all around us. The cloud has made this major shift possible.
Equally apparent is the fact that to sustain success with these initiatives, organizations need next-generation network and infrastructure monitoring. The cloud may be the overall ‘how’, but a lynchpin for success in these transitions is evolved network and infrastructure monitoring.