John Abel, Vice President, Cloud and Technology, UK, Ireland and Israel, Oracle, discusses all things cloud, including the biggest challenges, and whether every firm should look to go cloud-first
In the run up to Computing's Cloud & Infrastructure Live 2018 event Computing caught up with John Abel, Vice President, Cloud and Technology, UK, Ireland and Israel at Oracle.
CTG: What's the biggest challenge for an enterprise looking to move wholesale into cloud today?
John Abel: At a time when the cloud is being viewed as a generational transformation in how businesses operate, organisations are facing questions about how they will transition to the cloud. Challenges can include the perceived complexity and cost of moving to the cloud, as well as concerns around data security.
Yet ongoing developments - such as the world's first automated cloud migration Oracle Soar to the Cloud - that allow organisations to save time, cut costs and stay focused on business, demonstrate how cloud vendors are addressing these misconceptions head-on. Indeed, autonomous is Oracle's answer to why cloud is best: our world-leading autonomous capabilities mean our cloud capabilities can protect from malicious activity and automatically encrypt all data while boasting 99.995 per cent availability, ensuring companies feel secure in the cloud at all times.
Are trust issues still holding some organisations back?
All eyes have been on security this year, especially with the GDPR finally coming into force in May. So, yes, a lot of organisations are still questioning whether cloud - putting their data outside of the four walls of the organisation - is the right solution for them in a more regulated landscape. But, actually, the autonomous capabilities that now come with a cloud infrastructure offer heightened security.
As systems become more complex, we need to rethink how we defend our information and recognise that humans can't keep up with the hacks, patching and maintenance required. It's a war out there. This is why we need autonomous. When added to a cloud environment, autonomous tech monitors for any anomalies to the norm - and then can act accordingly. Much like our human immune systems, autonomous systems can detect any form of a breach or hack and then immediately take action to mitigate against them. No human intervention is required, so the system is both quicker to defend itself and there's no risk of human error - which even the best of us are prone to.
What are the pros and cons of going cloud-first? Are there types of organisations which shouldn't look to do this?
The cloud has changed the way we work and the way we live. In a business sense, nearly all organisations use a form of cloud technology, but some are far more advanced in their use than others.
Of course, with any technology there will be pros and cons to any solution. One of the disadvantages of any cloud environment will always be downtime. Even the most technologically advanced solutions will still need time for human maintenance, just as physical systems do.
Though, this brings me nicely onto the pros of cloud with autonomous capabilities. With autonomous, this downtime goes down to less than two a half minutes per month.
Furthermore - another pro - with autonomous solutions, companies can lower costs by reducing administration expenditure by up to 80 per cent, and reduce runtime costs by up to 70 per cent. That's because our autonomous solutions flex to fit the needs of our customers; they only pay for whatever infrastructure they need at any given time.
It also rids employees - in IT as well as in business functions - of many redundant, boring chores that add no value to the company, freeing up their time to focus on more strategic tasks and, ultimately, making the company more innovative.
And then, of course, there are all the benefits we've known for a long time. Cloud means scalability and flexibility. Organisations can scale quickly, deploying new apps in minutes, helping them bring new propositions to market in a much quicker timeframe. This not only saves them a lot of money in development time, but helps keep pace with more agile, start-up style competitors.
What new skills are needed for an organisation looking to move more into the cloud?
Believe it or not, it's not necessarily technology skills. With cloud environments playing such an important role in the overall progression of the business, companies wanting to move further up the cloud ladder need people who are able to communicate, anticipate and innovate.
Not only are they in charge of thinking ahead, being the real agents of change within the organisation, but they need to explain to their business leaders exactly why this is necessary and will give them a first-mover advantage. Furthermore, when they've got buy-in from the top, they're going to need to explain to the wider business the benefits of the technology - and what's required of everyone to make the deployment an integrated success.
Is serverless the future for most organisations?
We certainly think so. We've moved from on-premise to hybrid to autonomous cloud and that's because the latter is providing companies with the agility they need to act fast over a constantly-changing business landscape.
That's why we offer a fully comprehensive end-to-end solution; everything from Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), through to platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS) - so organisations don't need to maintain their own servers any longer.
We work with organisations such as the Home Office, YellowDog and Lloyds Bank to help them realise the benefits of cloud technologies.
This article was sponsored by Oracle