This post is part 3 of a three-part series that explains how infrastructure analytics can be used to improve IT service delivery and reduce costs in a hybrid cloud environment. For a deeper dive, download the white paper “Data Insights and Control for the Service Provider Business Model.”

 

Over the past year, I’ve noticed a dramatic shift in how the IT teams at my enterprise customers approach the cloud. I find that just as many companies are now moving workloads out of the cloud as are moving workloads into the cloud. Some of these workloads have been running in the cloud for several years and are now being brought back in house. It turns out that when these customers made their decisions to move to the cloud, they didn’t fully understand the workloads’ suitability—or lack thereof—for a cloud environment.

 

Their experiences have reinforced a need for better answers to two important questions:

  • Will the cloud save us money?
  • Will the cloud improve our IT services?

These simple questions are the keys to an effective hybrid cloud strategy. Naturally, you want to be able to answer these questions before you move any workloads, and that’s where NetApp® OnCommand® Insight (OCI) comes in. OCI provides the data insights you need to perform a cloud readiness assessment for every workload so you can determine where it will run best.

 

As an example, one company I worked with was spending $6M running IT on the premises. OCI analytics told us that lifting and shifting everything into AWS would have resulted in costs of $10M, which would have blown a hole in the IT budget. We then used OCI to profile each on-premises workload in detail to understand two things:

  • What resources does each workload actually need (versus the resources it’s currently assigned)?
  • Where will each workload run best in terms of cost and service delivery?

This analysis enabled the customer to make informed decisions regarding both on-premises and cloud workloads. In some cases, the customer reduced costs simply by right-sizing the resources for a given workload. In others, moving a workload to the cloud was the best decision.

A Consistent Way to Analyze Workloads Across All Environments

OCI provides a unique ability to analyze workloads to determine whether you’re running each workload in the right way and for the right reasons. With OCI, you can profile all your workloads across different environments, including traditional IT stacks, OpenStack deployments, and hyperscale clouds such as AWS and Azure, providing an apples-to-apples comparison across the board.

Figure 1: VM cost comparison across environments.

Rather than trying to compare and make sense of data from multiple different toolsets, OCI gives you a single source of truth. When OCI reports on a virtual machine, you don’t have to think about whether it’s a VMware virtual machine, an OpenStack virtual machine, or an AWS virtual machine. With OCI, all data is normalized and consistent. OCI gives you the ability to look at all workloads in the same way and apply the same logic in terms of what business entity owns or uses that workload, the type of workload, and what thresholds apply to the workload. The result is a set of uniform decision criteria for which workloads belong on which platform so that it makes sense from both strategic and cost standpoints.

 

Whether you’re an internal service provider or an external one, the ability to gather and analyze data that enables intelligent decisions is a big differentiator that helps you to prove your strategic value.

 

External service providers are discovering that they can drop OCI into an existing environment to gather data so they can provide value-added strategic advice to build credibility with potential customers. This ability also allows these service providers to make certain that there won’t be any surprises when they onboard new customer workloads.

Transform Your Approach to IT

Your IT team might be making a journey to the cloud, from the cloud, or to a new type of infrastructure environment. As you plan for change, it’s important that you understand your workloads, identify the resources they will need, and determine the most appropriate platform for each.

 

Transforming IT into a service-led organization might mean moving some workloads to the cloud and moving others out of the cloud. In my experience, OCI is the best tool—if not the only one—to provide the data insights needed to assess whether an IT decision will return good value for the money, reduced costs, or both.

More Information

Discover how NetApp customers are benefiting from infrastructure analytics in these blog posts and by attending the NetApp Insight conference:

Joshua Moore

Joshua is a Principal Strategist in the Cloud and Software business unit at NetApp, specializing in OnCommand Insight (OCI) and in particular, use cases within Service Providers and Systems Integrators. He has a service provider background where he, prior to his tenure at NetApp, held architecture and service strategy roles within a large systems integrator.

His primary focus is on identifying where and how infrastructure analytics with OCI can help service providers better meet their service level objectives, cost constraints and business goals in the near term, and more effectively realize their hybrid cloud strategy in the long term.