• News

Cloud Management for the Modern Workload

Q&A with Premkumar Balasubramanian

The road to the data-driven enterprise is not for the faint of heart. The continuous waves of data pounding into ever-complex hybrid multicloud environments only compound the ongoing challenges of management, governance, security, skills, and rising costs, to name a few. But Hitachi Vantara has developed a path forward that combines cloud-ready infrastructure, cloud consulting and managed services to optimize applications for resiliency and performance, and automated dataops innovations. This holistic approach establishes a protected digital core that stretches from the data center, through the cloud, to the edge. The result is continuous access and availability to the right data at the right time for analysis and insights to accelerate data-driven decision making. Insights Managing Editor, Michael Zimmerman caught up with Premkumar Balasubramanian, Senior Vice President and CTO, Digital Solutions at Hitachi Vantara to better understand the CloudOps pillar of the strategy.

Q1. What role does cloud operations play in a data-driven enterprise that people may not understand or consider?
Premkumar Balasubramanian

To understand how the role of cloud operations is evolving and changing to fit a modern data-driven enterprise, it’s important to understand the state of the enterprise across its applications, infrastructure and data. Today nine in 10 organizations leverage multiple public cloud providers, with 71% leveraging at least three, according to ESG.

In an effort to embrace greater agility in such expanding ecosystems, more complex architectures have evolved in the form of microservices, event-driven, and serverless. In addition, application and data architectures, infrastructure and development methodologies have also become more modern. Meanwhile, however, “operations” have been stuck in the traditional world with silos of applications, data, and infrastructure. This has led to significant challenges for enterprises in maintaining and operating cloud workloads in the most cost-efficient manner, with high levels of reliability and availability.

With the number of services and the amount of data growing exponentially, ensuring that the cloud ecosystem is running the workloads not just efficiently, but exceptionally, is critical. Hence the need to modernize cloud ops. In other words, modern application and data architectures need a more modern way of operating them in production.

Our new Hitachi Application Reliability Centers (HARC) for managing cloud operations is the most advanced manifestation of CloudOps that exists in the market today. Powered by Hitachi Application Reliability Services, it provides an integrated and seamless cloud workload management built on the principles of Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) and underpinned by automation, AI operations, FinOps and resilience engineering.

HARC enables a turnkey solution for enterprises to leverage the modern operating model. It is a purpose-built virtual and physical facility that integrates certified SRE practitioners, best practices, frameworks and tools to deliver the most modern cloud operations yet.

Q2. How can CloudOps be leveraged to support cloud environments?

According to researchers the top challenges of operating a hybrid cloud revolve around multicloud management complexities, the skills shortage, the risk of higher costs, and a lack of governance and security. These challenges only grow as enterprises expand. And as more companies deploy modern workloads on their private, public, and hybrid clouds, they are realizing they cannot scale by capacity. Some attempt to so by deploying more people to the problem. But to do it effectively, organizations must embrace a philosophy of scale-by-capability, through things like SRE, automation and AI operations.

Compound that with the fact that most enterprises today are managing an average of up to six different clouds, it is an imperative to embrace a more modern cloud operation. Such shifts caused every enterprise in 2021 to struggle with application modernization and data integration across their cloud silos, according to IDC1 . The firm predicted that companies would turn to new strategies for connecting and managing them. Enter: CloudOps. Too often, however, CloudOps is thought of as “a series of actions” one must take after workloads have moved to the cloud, usually with software defined infrastructure and/or with hybrid and distributed cloud environments. We believe it’s time to blur the lines between the design, build, deploy, run, and operate lifecycle and integrate operations into the engineering lifecycle; much in the same way that design, development, testing and deployment have been integrated in the name of DevOps. Hence, we strongly urge enterprises to start thinking about leveraging cloud operations in a more modern way by adopting SRE principles, heavy automation, and resilience engineering.

Q3. What is Hitachi Vantara doing about it?

We recognize that every enterprise is different and at different stages in their digital transformations. That’s why our approach to CloudOps through our new Application Reliability Services is flexible. We want to build and manage “your cloud, your way” for reliable, always-on, anywhere business. Our new services provide fully automated management of all workloads running in the cloud (hybrid, multicloud, distributed) – handling everything from remote management to monitoring to help improve performance, resilience, availability, agility and flexibility – and to lower costs. This includes touchless, autonomous monitoring, reporting and incident remediation, all of which improves reliability, resiliency, and efficiency. But we didn’t stop there. Our new Hitachi Application Reliability Centers (HARC), located around the globe, leverage the suite of our autonomous management platforms, certified practitioners, engineering best practices and AIOps to enable organizations to embrace an engineering-led operations for running an always-on business.

Q4. How do these CloudOps innovations work with the other new solutions and services from Hitachi Vantara?

Our vision for modernizing the digital core is a holistic one that’s designed from systems to services to help companies better process data and workloads anywhere across their enterprise. Doing this provides for greater availability and access to data and insights. The new Application Reliability Services for Cloud Operations leverages our cloud acceleration platform to automate incident identification, incident routing and incident prevention. Nyquist, our unique AI investigation engine, helps in anomaly detection, root causing and auto-remediation. All of these integrate and work seamlessly with the new offerings we launched, be it our cloud-ready infrastructure suite or our enhanced data operations suite of products, to provide a completely frictionless experience across on-prem, public, hybrid and distributed clouds.

Q5. What’s the main message behind today’s Hitachi Application Reliability Services news?

We understand that most of our customers are somewhere along the modernization and cloud adoption journey. We truly believe adopting a modern operating model is essential to running modern applications reliably and efficiently. While development methodologies have evolved significantly to embrace a DevOps construct and enabling faster time to market, operating these workloads has been stuck in the past. Hitachi Application Reliability Services and our investments in 24/7, 365 days Hitachi Application Reliability Centers to help manage your cloud workloads are the most evolved version of cloud operations yet that combine a product-oriented approach, engineering resilience and reliability into applications and integrates operations with the product engineering lifecycle. This integration demonstrates our commitment to end-to-end lifecycle cloud management enabling customers to design, build, observe, operate, and manage their workloads seamlessly across any cloud environment. The bottom line is to redefine cloud operations in a way as never before to enable customers continue to leverage their products to create value and free human intellect towards high value engineering activities.

IDC annual Futurescape: Worldwide Cloud 2021 predictions: https://www.itnews.asia/news/the-efficacy-of-the-cloud-will-be-further-tested-in-2021-says-idc-560070