Technology Untangled

The Cloud has become a backbone of the world economy over the last decade, powering everything from streaming services to mobile banking. It’s a fantastic resource, but as time goes on the limits of the Cloud are becoming clearer, from over-reliance issues to incompatibility with legacy hardware.

This week - part 2 of a 2 part special - we’re taking a look at the opportunities for getting the most out of the Cloud, and some of the alternative solutions available.

Show Notes

The Cloud has become a backbone of the world economy over the last decade, powering everything from streaming services to mobile banking. It’s a fantastic resource, but as time goes on the limits of the Cloud are becoming clearer, from over-reliance issues to incompatibility with legacy hardware.

This week - part 2 of a 2 part special - we’re taking a look at how organisations can leverage the power and flexibility of the Cloud, whilst also tackling some of its challenges and drawbacks. We'll be examining how skills gaps are pushing on-premise and Cloud computing ideologies further apart, and attempts to bring them back together. We'll also be looking at hybrid cloud models, which make the best possible use of Cloud-like user experiences with the benefits of on-premise computing. We’re speaking with HPE Chief Technologists Russell MacDonald and Adrian Lovell around digital transformation and the effects of the Cloud vs on-premises debate on the world of FinTech.

We’re also talking with Alex Hilton, CEO of the Cloud Industry Forum about cloud adoption in the UK, and Adriaan Bekker, Technical Director at Softwerx Ltd about the challenges of cloud migration and digital transformation.

The long show notes for this episode can be found here:

Creators & Guests

Michael Bird

What is Technology Untangled?

Why isn't talking tech as simple, quick, and agile as its innovations promise to be?

Technology Untangled is just that - a show that deciphers tech's rapid evolutions with one simple question in mind: what's really going to shape our future (and what's going to end up in the bargain bin with the floppy disc)?

Join your host Michael Bird as he untangles innovation through a series of interviews, stories, and analyses with some of the industry's brightest brains. No marketing speak, no unnecessary jargon. This is real tech talk from the people who know it inside and out.

Discover which tools and systems are revolutionising the way we do business, what's up next on the endless innovation agenda, and, most importantly, how you can future-proof and get ahead of the curve.

Michael Bird - Host (00:00):
This is the second in a two part special of Technology Untangled, in which, we take a look at some of the challenges of cloud computing and how we can work around them. In the last episode, we looked at the ways in which the cloud hasn't necessarily delivered on its promise of an always on cost effective, scalable solution to organizations computing needs. At least, not for everyone. If you haven't listened to that one, go back and have a listen first.

Russell MacDonald - HPE Chief Technologist (00:31):
There's some flawed economics here, because you can't realize those cashable savings until the last workload leaves the data center.

Adriaan Bekker - Technical Director, Softwerx Ltd (00:38):
And a good example would be relatively small company, we could easily move them to the cloud, but the piece of equipment that they needed to be able to talk to the cloud service cost over 2 million pounds to replace.

Michael Bird - Host (00:50):
What if, 75% of banks rely on the same service providers in the back-end, and that provider fails, and suddenly the financial system of the UK turns off. We're looking at a situation of basically financial meltdown that makes the 2008 crisis look like you just dropped your pocket money. This time around, we'll be looking at some of the solutions to these problems, from getting the right people in to help bridge the gap between cloud and on-premise computing, or just looking at solutions, which get the best out of cloud whilst also meaning, you don't have to throw away a 2 million quid microscope or particle accelerator or whatever other piece of equipment could possibly cost that much. You're listening to Technology Untangled, a show which looks at the rapid evolution of technology and unravels the way it's changing our world. I'm your host, Michael Bird.

Michael Bird - Host (02:03):
Now, we'll start this episode off by saying that in a load of ways, the cloud is brilliant. It's flexible, it's scalable, and putting your old data center somewhere else frees up office space so you can install an ice wrinkle, whatever else you need an enormous cold space for. If you're a startup or reasonably young business, the cloud is probably everything you need, but there can be a load of issues for more established firms who spent huge amounts on mainframes and other capital expenditure several years or even decades ago, which they now can't easily migrate off. The data isn't stored in a cloud-friendly way, it runs off legacy software and platforms, which won't work on the cloud. You get the idea.

Michael Bird - Host (02:46):
So, what can you do? What are the alternatives? Russell MacDonald is chief technologist at HPE covering hybrid cloud. And, he used to work for Cloud Hyperscaler Amazon Web Services. He was an early cloud adopter and knows the problems and solutions inside out. One of them is that lots more data is being generated at the edge. 75% of data is being generated outside of traditional data centers or public clouds, because of the huge rise in internet connected devices, including mobile phones and IOT sensors. He sees a shift away from centralizing all the computes in one cloud to more distributed solutions.

Russell MacDonald - HPE Chief Technologist (03:30):
What we're seeing is this massive explosion of data. Now in part, because of cloud services, in part, because of mobile, in part, because of internet of things. But now, the vast majority of data is being created outside of data centers and outside of the cloud. And it's actually happening at the edge. And certainly, what I'm seeing in my line of work is that for the last 10 years, people have been just focused on decentralization of IT towards the cloud. But actually the reality is, now that the data is at the edge. And so, we're now seeing this decentralization, we're getting into federation distributed compute.

Russell MacDonald - HPE Chief Technologist (04:11):
So, look at things like GAIA-X in Europe, which is a federation of clouds to circumvent some of the data sovereignty challenges. We've got Swarm Learning, which is an HPE technology that enables you to leave sensitive data where it is, in its sovereign locations, but still share the insights between partners in a secure way. And that's been used to do things like accelerate COVID vaccine research and other medical research, where obviously patient confidentiality is massively important. So I think, there is an evolution now, that infrastructure in the meantime hasn't stood still. So now, edge infrastructure can be cloud-enabled and on-premise infrastructure can be cloud-enabled.

Russell MacDonald - HPE Chief Technologist (04:56):
If you're in retail, then the systems you run in your stores, as well as the systems you run your data centers can all be using similar technology. And with all the data you're collecting at the edge in your stores, you can actually use AI and ML for inference at the edge. And rather than back haul a 100% of the data from the edge to the cloud, you'll need to bring back the insights. The information is actually valuable. And I think there's a lot of value now in doing that. And we're seeing quite a change, because there's so much data. We're talking about zetabytes of data, which is just almost an unimaginable number, but that means there's hundreds of exabytes of data per month being generated. It's just not feasible to keep moving this around the world.

Russell MacDonald - HPE Chief Technologist (05:40):
It's not just the data movement, but it's also things like performance and latency, data sovereignty, that we've already mentioned, are all reasons why it's best to keep the data of where it is, and do the insight close to where the data's generated, rather than moving lots of data around unnecessarily, and then having to manage the governance of that and the security of that.

Michael Bird - Host (06:02):
Edge to cloud is an evolution, but it doesn't really work for every organization all of the time. There's plenty of instances where the person generating the data doesn't need to do anything with it. Or, they are sitting next to the data center anyway. Or, post-COVID the person who needs that data is on the other side of the world. In those cases, there's another option, which is to accept that, certain things do work well on the cloud in your organizations. And certain things, well, just don't. Rather than fighting or losing battle to try and force the adoption of one technology in one way or another. Why not adopt both? The industry has made leaps and bounds in this field. Some of the early leaders in the cloud have seen the issues emerging, and have done a whole load of work in educating the world about the benefits and drawbacks of the cloud, and how to have a proper grown up conversation about what you want from it.

Michael Bird - Host (07:06):
Leading the charge is Alex Hilton, CEO of the Cloud Industry Forum, a group of cloud professionals and service providers who research and educate on issues surrounding the cloud. There's this phrase of the cloud dream, which I think was really prevalent a few years ago, when lots of organizations had thought of this concept of moving to the cloud, "Everything will be amazing. It'll be super easy, really cheap. Jobs are good." And so, how have organizations been sold the cloud dream? And, I guess, how did it end up being so hard to reach for many organizations?

Alex Hilton - CEO, Cloud Industry Forum (07:40):
Yeah, it's a bit Martin Luther King that, isn't it? This concept of where we're going to get to. I don't think everybody's been sold a dream so much. I think we're on a very good path and a very good journey with where we're going on the cloud now.

Michael Bird - Host (07:52):
I mean, are there organizations, or maybe industries that have struggled to adopt faster than others?

Alex Hilton - CEO, Cloud Industry Forum (08:00):
In our research, we do look at vertical sectors. And actually on the whole, we see a pretty common linear approach to all the industries. There are exceptions having said that. Certainly, in the public sector that's been a challenging area, because we've got to a point in the public sector where you'll remember some years ago, 10 years or so ago, the public sector were making statements about, "Everything's cloud. This is the direction of travel we're going in. This cloud first approach." And of course, that hasn't necessarily materialized. And you know what? That's probably the wrong approach, if we're honest. It's not cloud for the sake of cloud, because everybody's telling you, "It's cheaper. It's more effective." And folks like me sit here and say, "Well, it's agility, scalability, flexibility, all of those nice things in there." It's got to be what's right for your business.

Alex Hilton - CEO, Cloud Industry Forum (08:46):
And every business is different, and every business has different challenges. We can group them together in certain areas and the fundamentals of every business is you want to sell more and you want to cut costs, and that's how businesses survive and thrive. I think there's lots and lots of opportunities where technology can really play its part. And, I don't just talk about cloud, okay? Because cloud, I see that frankly as the platform, it's the base, it's the enabler to drive and deliver solutions.

Michael Bird - Host (09:16):
One word you're going to hear a lot when it comes to the future of data storage and compute is hybrid. It just means having some of your stuff on the cloud and some of your stuff not on the cloud. And there's a few ways you could be hybrid, but it just boils down to this. You can be consciously hybrid, meaning you've planned everything out and you know exactly what needs to go on the cloud, what can't, and why. On the other hand, you can be unconsciously hybrid and have part of your stuff on the cloud and part of it off the cloud by accident. Either because you have legacy data or hardware that you just can't migrate, or because you've just not really had the time or resources to have an end-to-end strategy. The latter option though, well, it's bad news. Here's Russell McDonald to explain why.

Russell MacDonald - HPE Chief Technologist (10:07):
But if we go back to, "Well, why are so many workloads still not in the cloud?" It's because they're not cloud-friendly workloads. It's not a binary decision. It's not either or. It's not on-premise good cloud is bad. Certainly not. We do deploy customer workloads into public clouds. We manage customer workloads in public clouds. It's about when we know and when we face the reality that public cloud is not the panacea for all IT requirements, then you have to take a more holistic approach. And, we work across the whole landscape. We work at the edge, we work in data centers, we work in the cloud, we've got that rich experience of, we've been doing infrastructure for decades, we can actually have that informed conversation with our customers about how we meet all of their needs, not just 50% or 70% of their needs.

Michael Bird - Host (11:01):
So, it sounds like it boils down to data and where your data lives.

Russell MacDonald - HPE Chief Technologist (11:05):
Absolutely. But at the end of the day, what infrastructure's there to do is to support the data that your business generates and the conversations we're having now with customers are about, let's understand where is data created? Where is it utilized? Where is it processed? Where do you get the insights from? What technologies do you need? And I think that's a really important conversation. Sometimes it's a bit of an "aha" moment for customers because they've never really considered it from that perspective.

Michael Bird - Host (11:33):
Being consciously hybrid can be an excellent choice though. Even where you have very traditional data streams and ways of working butting up against the new shiny worlds of digital transformation. It's something that's become a big opportunity in the financial services industry as HPE chief technologist Adrian Lovell explained. I spoke to him about whether the rise in cloud-based FinTech startups have given traditional high street banks a run for their money.

Adrian Lovell - HPE Chief Technologist (12:04):
I think it has, but not in the ways that we immediately expected. So, we expect the FinTechs to push huge technology changes and choice differences from the established firms. But what it really did is just changed the expectation of the consumer as to what a good service looks like. And therefore, the requirement to care more about your customers, the design principles of user interface and the UI side of technology has massively changed. So, you're seeing firms spend a lot more money hiring designers and people with a more user interface based background, rather than simply core back-end platform developers. So, it's mixed, but the world has changed in the last couple of years as we all know.

Adrian Lovell - HPE Chief Technologist (12:51):
And, yeah, who would've thought the working environment of most financial institutions has changed drastically with it. And that's where we're finding a lot of technology choices being made, is being able to give new developers who are maybe only three or four years into their career, the freedom and the ability to use any technology they want while still being able to control and regulate it in a way that doesn't put the financial system underneath at risk.

Michael Bird - Host (13:22):
It sounds like, as you just said, the answer to that question is hybrid seems the less risky option. And to some extent, the most financially viable option, because there's a lot less money on the line there.

Adrian Lovell - HPE Chief Technologist (13:37):
To some extent, yes. But again, it's going to depend on the size of the firm. If you are a massive tier one firm, the chances are, running your own data centers is a very, very cost effective way. Whereas, if you are a small building society, as we call them in the UK, or a little regional bank offering local banking services, running your own data centers is probably prohibitively expensive based on your relatively small customer base, and relatively small revenue, and things like that. So, it's a different answer to everybody, but I think it is well-decided across the board now that you need an element of both.

Adrian Lovell - HPE Chief Technologist (14:13):
It's just, the answer of what's appropriate and what's not is different for every... It's not just every business, but every individual use case, of every individual application, of every individual business process within every company. And the answer's different every time.

Michael Bird - Host (14:30):
Young, startup digital only banks and apps spring up on the cloud offering better mobile access and a much better user experience. It's something that the old banks can't really keep up with, because their computer systems aren't really designed to be customer facing, quite the opposite. So, what do the banks do? Do they branch out and create hybrid models where they have a fully cloud enabled bank, and then a separate legacy one? It gives them an opportunity to start from scratch without having to replace or retire their infrastructure, or go through a million, I imagine, incredibly painful regulatory and technical hoops to get their customer data and services fully onto the cloud.

Adrian Lovell - HPE Chief Technologist (15:27):
There are lots of good reasons why some of the old bank... Old banks is probably unfair, but the established firms struggle to match the user experience of the new startups. And it is infrastructure related, because you can hire the best UI developers in the world. But if the data is slow, or hard to get at, or cumbersome, or spread between silos in an organization, you have no hope. So, if your data architecture underpinning your organization is 30, 40 years old, which it is for most of these banks, because technology has been at the core of the financial system for decades now, to take existing customer data and move it to a completely new data architecture is not only difficult, but it's incredibly risky, because if you mess that up and turn off all your customers, that's going to be a very bad day for a lot of people. Not only will the customers not be able to do anything, because you've messed up their data, but you likely as a financial institution will get fined so heavily you probably won't exist anymore. It's a very big problem.

Adrian Lovell - HPE Chief Technologist (16:34):
And some firms are building parallel new banks to sit alongside their old, rather than trying to migrate. A new enter into the UK market, but a very long-term bank, probably one of the oldest in the world is Chase. So, part of JP Morgan Chase, one of the biggest banks of the world, if not the biggest bank in the world, they have just entered the UK retail market with a FinTech like, cloud native built bank. And, it is not built on any of the legacy old infrastructure around client data and things like that. It's net new. And that's a really great example of an established, longstanding firm doing something in parallel new. And that is using hybrid technologies with a mix of public and private on-premises, off-premises cloud, but delivering the user experience, while still maintaining the legacy of the existing firm. And that's the example of somebody doing it really well.

Michael Bird - Host (17:28):
There's another aspect to hybrid too. It can offer access to data when the unexpected happens, which can be as complex as major international hacks, or just as simple as a construction worker cutting a cable by mistake with a digger.

Adriaan Bekker - Technical Director, Softwerx Ltd (17:46):
I'm Adriaan Bekker, I work for Softwerx Limited. We are specializing in Microsoft security and cloud infrastructure. I work with organizations ranging from 250 seats right up to large enterprises with 10, 20,000 staff worldwide.

Michael Bird - Host (18:04):
Adriaan has been advising clients on IT infrastructure and cloud projects for around 20 years. So, what does he think are the pitfalls of the cloud? And, when can planning a hybrid system for your organization potentially help out?

Adriaan Bekker - Technical Director, Softwerx Ltd (18:20):
It all comes down to the due diligence, understanding where the data is, how the applications work, what those SLAs are, and what risks you're adopting. So, for example, if I could cancel the service, how do we actually get our data out of the system? What happens when it goes down? What happens if that company stops trading? We are seeing more organizations thinking about what we do. And I'll give an example. We have organizations that, yes, they're leveraging the cloud backups, but for example, they take a second copy to completely independent backup provider, that's completely different. And, you would think those organizations would never fail, but they want to have that reassurance that they know where it is. And I always have the joke that says, "Yes, you can move it to the cloud. You can then back it to up to another cloud. And then, if you really want to, you can put it back on frame. Just keep moving the decimal point." And it's how much you want to adopt the risk, versus how much you trust the providers.

Adriaan Bekker - Technical Director, Softwerx Ltd (19:21):
But at the end of the day, we are seeing organizations becoming more reliant on these hyper scaled companies. And if their services goes down, you just have to watch the news, watch the BBC, and they love putting up the article that says, "X, Y, and Z was down. Nobody could log on for eight hours." And that aspect is becoming more for risk. And that's where I bring back my comments to the initially, where an organization says, "What resilience can I have in place? For example, if our Microsoft, Google, Amazon does go down, is there a way we can continue functioning? Can we build that resilience in? Can we make sure there's a different way we can operate at least while those issues are resolved."

Adriaan Bekker - Technical Director, Softwerx Ltd (20:06):
And you've got to remember, these are not new issues. If you think about it, people talk about on-premise, it's less risky. Well, how secure is that building where you're hosting your data on, where else is that being copied to? How often do you test your disaster recovery? It's those type of questions comes back. And actually when you compare it, your risk in the cloud is less than what it's normally on-premise. But, you still got to go through the same due diligence. It's your responsibility for the security. It's your responsibility to have the physical resilience for your day-to-day operations? Yes, it's their responsibility to provide you the infrastructure and keep the connections running, but they are not responsible for your internet connections in your buildings. So, where does it physically run through? Are you sure that nobody's digging up the road with that single connection that you have to the internet, and then being surprised that you can't continue working?

Adriaan Bekker - Technical Director, Softwerx Ltd (21:01):
And it's being able to look at that whole risk. If I go back five years... And let's use email, yes, we know that the email providers do go down, but I can tell you, the on-premise system went down a lot more, had loads more fun and games. And actually, if you compare the SLAs and the uptime today versus five years ago, you'll find that actually the cloud's resilience significantly better, even though they do have the occasional blip.

Michael Bird - Host (21:28):
So, planning for outages with a variety of services has the potential to spread risk, as well as offering flexibility. But, there's a problem with all of this. Well, a couple of problems, actually. One of them is cost. You see, mixing on-premise computing and cloud computing comes with a dizzying mixture of capital and service costs. And, that can be tricky to account for, because there's upfront and monthly spending. But behind that, there's a bigger issue. It's us humans, or at least that special breed of humans who work with technology, because as Russell McDonald explains, the on-premise cloud gap isn't just about technology, like a good sporting rivalry, it's about the fans. Or, more accurately IT specialists who work with hardware and digital transformation specialists who work in the cloud.

Russell MacDonald - HPE Chief Technologist (22:28):
So, we published a white paper called Bridging the Chasm. And, Bridging the Chasm refers to the polarization of those operating model concepts. You've got a lot of traditional IT in enterprises, because enterprises come with baggage to this digital transformation arena, unlike startups. So, you've got decades of investment in legacy technology, people, processes, and skills, which all work in a particular way. And that's one side of this Grand Canyon, this chasm that you're on. What you're trying to do is, get your organization more towards this cloud-enabled, agile, scalable, flexible, fast moving digital organization on the other side of the chasm. And the problem is that you can widen that chasm by not having a consciously hybrid approach.

Russell MacDonald - HPE Chief Technologist (23:15):
So if you don't see these two things as joined up and if you don't try and build a bridge between them, they're just going to get further apart, because the older stuff's going to get older, the newer stuff's going to get newer, and you're going to end up with things like skills gaps. You've got the overhead of managing two separate operating models. You've got the overhead of managing different teams of people with different skills who are not complimentary, who are not working together. You've got DevOps versus ops. You've maybe got legacy development, versus modern development.

Michael Bird - Host (23:43):
It's something Adriaan Bekker has noticed too. In particular, the fact that digital transformation can sometimes be left in the hands of people who are used to dealing with the on-premise side of things, but don't really have much desire or experience in agile, iterative development as part of a business strategy.

Adriaan Bekker - Technical Director, Softwerx Ltd (24:04):
I have been engaged with organizations where people have been part of the organizations, done IT the same way for 30 years, and the cloud scares them. Because, "Hold on..." Like we just referred earlier, "Every day's a school day, and you're expecting me to relearn my whole job at my age." For example, is some of the questions I sometimes get. We go, "Well, I don't really understand how it works and how I'm going to form part of that." So, it's that ability to change and adopt a change, but not sure I'm allowed to say that, but that has been the case in some of the organizations I've worked with where they go, "Now we can adopt the cloud. Now that X, Y, and Z has retired." Which has been quite an interesting conversation at times.

Michael Bird - Host (24:52):
It's a real problem. The world is desperately short of IT professionals generally, and people who are specialists in both on-premise and cloud computing are frankly rare. There are a lot of jobs going, and unfortunately not enough applicants. Over 200,000 new cloud computing jobs are posted every month in the U.S. and the UK with many of these going unfilled and millions of vacancies overall. That's not least, because it's a field, which seems to be absolutely male-dominated. Women account for just 14% of IT and digital transformation professionals, which is a frankly shockingly low number. We did approach a few groups advocating for women in technology to appear in the show, but unfortunately none of them were available to talk. Even if you can get people into the jobs though, an unwillingness or inability by individuals to adapt outside of their specialism and even between providers can be a real problem for a business, as Russell explains.

Russell MacDonald - HPE Chief Technologist (26:02):
I think almost everybody's on some digital transformation journey. And, almost every customer's trying to extract as much value of data as possible. And so, those skills are really in high demand across the board. Customers want to hire people directly. Companies like HPE want to hire those people. The hyperscalers want to hire those people. And, there is a gap in terms of not enough people to go around, essentially. But I think there's also an element of the skills gap which relates to the chasm, which is if you've got a bunch of people today who are managing your legacy workloads, traditional workloads in a data center, maybe doing software development in house and operations management in house, they're doing that in traditional ways.

Russell MacDonald - HPE Chief Technologist (26:47):
And so, then when you decide to embrace the cloud to pursue your digital ambition, all of the technologies are different. There are literally no transferable skills, right? And the way that one cloud provider operates is completely different from the way another cloud operator operates. They have similar terminology and they have similar concepts. All the API calls are different. All of the services are called different things. All of the economic models are slightly different. That's really challenging for customers that are concerned maybe about vendor concentration, for example, "I don't want to put all my eggs in one basket. I want to keep an open mind. Or maybe I want to use different cloud services from different providers. And maybe I want to balance my on-premise workloads with some cloud. Maybe I want to put my customer facing workloads in the cloud, but I want to keep my back office crown jewels on-premise where I can control it." For example. Now we're dealing with completely different skill sets, how do you retain and attract people to help you maintain those legacy workloads?

Russell MacDonald - HPE Chief Technologist (27:52):
And I think for me, it's back to, instead of widening the chasm and keeping those legacy workloads, using legacy tech, try and modernize them as much as possible, bring as much of that cloud native computing as you can to that on-premise environment. When I was growing up in IT, everything was done manually. If you needed to service patch, that meant somebody came in at the weekend, and they logged onto that physical server, and they got a CD or a disc, and did the patching. That's how it was done. It was very labor intensive, it was very error prone. And, to a certain extent, that's still how a lot of servers are patched in that legacy world. What the cloud's taught us is that, when you're managing workloads at scale, you automate, automate, automate. And if you want to embrace that DevOps culture, then everything should be automated as much as possible. And this improves quality, it improves agility and flexibility. I think the flaw is that people assume you can only do that in the cloud.

Michael Bird - Host (28:55):
The thing is though, when hybrid works and people get, it can be great. And, it's not just about technology, it's about a way of thinking. Hybrid can be about bringing agile, iterative ways of development and finding solutions to traditional IT, where systems were built to either do one job right now, or planned to do the job that's predicted years or even decades in advance. With a digital transformation lens on though, that means you can iterate your entire digital presence, both on-premise and in the cloud to constantly adapt to the changing needs of your organization. There's nothing really stopping you doing that, other than the mindset of the humans who run each system.

Russell MacDonald - HPE Chief Technologist (29:41):
The interesting thing that's happened in the last 10 years, in particular, is that on-premises infrastructure has benefited from all that learning from cloud native compute. It's not like on-premises infrastructure has stood still. I think a lot of customers view it as being old fashioned, "If it's on-premise it's old fashioned, and we have to get rid of it." But actually, you can do software definition on-premise. You can do automation on-premise. You can consume IT as a service on-premise. You can do really sophisticated AI analytics on-premise. And, for a lot of customers, there are very good reasons why you would also want to do those things on-premise. So, that idea that, public cloud is not the only cloud, and that cloud computing technology can exist in many different environments, hybrid clouds, private clouds, community clouds.

Michael Bird - Host (30:33):
So, by bringing people together, as well as technology, you can make amazing things happen. Unfortunately though, there's not a push button solution for that. It takes years of systemic change. But, if we could make it happen, that could be truly transformational for business. The most important thing as Alex Hilton explains, is making sure you plan for it properly. It's one of the things the Cloud Industry Forum advocates for most strongly.

Alex Hilton - CEO, Cloud Industry Forum (31:06):
This comes back to having this digital transformation plan, you can call it a strategy, you can call it an implementation plan. It's a bit like the joy of personal development plans, which I'm sure everybody sighs and huffs about. You've got to have this personal development plan as an employee within a business, but actually it's got to be a living breathing thing. It doesn't have an end point. It continues in perpetuity, arguably, right? And, you might have certain goals that you want to achieve for a given project in a set amount of time and that's absolutely fine, but that digital transformation plan has to change, and adapt, and move on to the next thing, and so forth. Sometimes it might fail.

Alex Hilton - CEO, Cloud Industry Forum (31:38):
And digital transformation projects do fail. And we have this term, which I'm sure you're familiar with, of fail fast. Don't like the term particularly, but it's relevant, because what it does mean is you can spin up technology to test an environment, a platform, a solution, an app, whatever it might be, very quickly. And if it doesn't work, you turn it down again, or you turn it off, or you change its direction slightly. The benefit of that, clearly, is organizations haven't had to spend thousands, tens of thousands or more on big CapEx solutions to wheel in servers into their data centers to enable that service to run. If it doesn't work, move on. Now, nobody likes to fail, okay? So, there are negative connotations associated with that, but the principle around it really stands up.

Michael Bird - Host (32:27):
The cloud is great for many organizations. It will be a catch on solution to their digital and data needs. But for others, such as larger organizations, those with highly sensitive data, those with hardware and R&D manufacturing, or operations that aren't cloud-enabled, and simply some organizations who've spent millions on data centers in the past and can't get rid of them. There's still a way to enjoy the benefits of the cloud. And, that's by being consciously hybrid. Here's Russell to see us out.

Russell MacDonald - HPE Chief Technologist (32:59):
The whole consciously hybrid theme is that, if you modernize your organization's operating model, that's the recognition that some of these cloudy things can be done on-premise. And therefore, you can modernize your on-premise infrastructure. You can modernize some of these, what you might regard as, old systems, manage them in a more modern way that is complimentary to your digital ambitions in the cloud. And, that way you bridge that chasm, you bring the two closer together, and you're working out what's the right place to put workloads? What complements what? Where's the right place to process my data? And it's no longer a polarized debate about, "Right. We've got to get everything into the cloud. Oh my God, we can't get everything into the cloud. What do we do now?" It's more a, "What's the right place to do things."

Russell MacDonald - HPE Chief Technologist (33:50):
And, it also moves the organization as a whole to become more of a cloud-enabled organization. And, when I say cloud-enabled organization, I guess I'm using that with a small C, right? It's not public cloud-enabled, but you are using cloud native technology. So, all those things we would associate with cloud, the automation, the self-service, the provisioning, the management, the scalability, the agility, the flexibility, all of those things we can achieve on-premise with modern infrastructure, rather than putting all your eggs in one basket, which is public cloud. And then, having to deal with all the struggles that result from that.

Michael Bird - Host (34:31):
You've been listening to Technology Untangled. I'm your host, Michael Bird. And a huge thanks to Alex Hilton, Adriaan Bekker, Neil Williamson, Adrian Lovell, and Russell MacDonald for speaking to us. You can find more information on today's episode in the show notes. And be sure to hit subscribe on your podcasting app of choice, so you don't miss out when our next episode lands and to catch up on the last two series. Today's episode was written and produced by Sam Datta and me, Michael Bird. Sound design and editing was by Alex Bennett with production support from Harry Morton and Sophie Cutler. Technology Untangled is a lower street production for Hewlett Packard Enterprise.