Recently I had the pleasure to interview Gerald Seaman of Intel about new service delivery models for IT—private cloud in particular. This was a great discussion, the kind I particularly like, because it put cloud in context. All too frequently we talk about cloud as a given. We just assume you are deploying cloud (whether as a service hosted by a provider, or on your own premises), and take the discussion from there.
But my chat with Gerry was happily more profound than that. First, Gerry was at pains to point out that if IT didn’t have cloud, it would have to invent it: because he has never seen, in multiple decades in the industry, such challenges to the organization. Performance demands from users are very high, data is exploding, and the new generation of workers and IT professionals seek speed, social, and mobile to an extreme degree.
Cloud helps address these demands by the way it automates IT resource deployment at the hands of users. But that brings me to Gerry’s second point, which was that cloud necessitates and generates cultural change in IT. It’s a shift in the operational focus of IT, from keeping systems running to deploying their services quickly and automatically where they’re needed. And it’s a shift in the role of IT towards strategy. The new generation just assumes this, but the older generations are the ones who are making it real, with good communications, good listening, and a real drive to tangibly succeed.
So that’s a great step back we can take, out of cloud, in two directions: why we need it, and what its consequences are, not so much technologically as strategically and culturally. And, in turn, it helps us understand the main topic of my conversation with Gerry—private cloud. Because when you think about the “old guard” of IT and the new guard, and the changing demands of IT’s customers (now external to the organization as much as internal), you see how necessary the controlled and secure private infrastructure is.
This isn’t about on-premises private cloud only. We know that ultimately the IT infrastructure upon which our organizations run (and achieve their goals) will be hybrid in every sense of the word. But to maintain all the service levels we have promised, not just with respect to performance and ROI but to security and governance as well, while making ourselves more responsive, multi-platform, and efficient, we need that level of control that private cloud brings.
So when you are specifying or deploying private cloud environments—either to create yourself, or to acquire and deliver as a service—you can keep in mind Gerry’s words. He helped me remember why we’re here at all: to team up with our users and become their strategic asset and partner while still holding the torch, as essential as ever, of reliability, security, and accountability.
You can watch my full interview with Gerry (registration required).
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