Editor's Note: The following is a guest post from Isaac Christoffersen, Cloud Services Architect at Vizuri.

Today's businesses move at a breakneck speed, and IT departments across the globe are under great pressure when it comes to delivering new technology. Organizations are responding by upgrading and modernizing their IT solutions to adapt to the current pace, scale, and economic climate amidst the fear of being destroyed by the competition. Hybrid cloud services and automation technologies are the new salvoes in any IT-enabled business. As these new tools become core components, the risk of siloing critical information is making it harder to implement a cloud solution that is in alignment with the business and that responds to its demands.

Traditional IT Still Plays an Important Role

With decades of business intelligence stashed away in mainframes, CRMs systems, enterprise database servers, and other traditional IT systems, obsoleting these existing IT systems is simply not possible. Many of these systems embody the processes and information that make up the “soul” of the business. Providing on-ramps to cloud architectures that integrate these traditional and mission-critical systems is the best way to move forward and to future-proof IT departments. Today's rip-and-replace and lift-and-refit implementation strategies are too costly and the risk of falling behind the competition during the time it takes to implement these strategies is too great.

Not too long ago, Gartner started a conversation around bimodal IT and how traditional IT (mode 1) and new agile IT (mode 2) approaches are essentially like oil and water. Keeping these two groups separate is sometimes the recommended approach, but it is too extreme. Certainly traditional IT prefers the stability and typically prefers the lower risk approach to implementing change, but some of the most mission-critical information is stored away in these systems. Rather than isolating or obsoleting these systems and the teams that manage them, we need a platform that encourages experimentation and collaboration while also evolving IT.

Future-Proofing and Evolving IT

Fortunately, with new cloud platforms such as OpenShift Enterprise replacing the need for "lift and shift" project plans, businesses are increasingly accelerating their IT modernization and delivery efforts. Agent-less architectures and declarative methodologies that are embraced by tools like Ansible ease the process of pushing out new configurations and updates. These cloud-enabling solutions are the cornerstones for allowing IT be responsive to evolving business demands.

Future-proofing an organization's IT infrastructure is now possible to do in incremental fashion while leveraging a flexible foundation. Traditional IT systems, such as CRMs and Enterprise database servers, can be modeled as external services in OpenShift Enterprise. This modeling makes it possible to treat these systems as first class systems while empowering developers to innovate at an accelerated pace. Plus because of the loosely coupled architectural approach with OpenShift services, if these external services relocate or eventually become internal services, updates can be made with ease.

Today's Platforms for Tomorrow's Solutions

Embracing cloud services is the first step towards organizations achieving IT agility. However, these services and the platforms that consume them also need to religiously practice a lean consumption dogma. One must put a premium on minimizing the time and effort required for delivering what the business representatives and developers want when and where they want it. Processes must put a focus on eliminating waste in resource consumption and unnecessary steps. These processes must also focus on increasing productivity, operational speed, and feedback loops.

Standards-based application platforms that have automation baked into their DNA are the only way that IT operations are going to be able to keep up with the demands. Micro-services architectures, polyglot applications, and globally-distributed solutions will continue to be in demand. Developers will always need a platform to experiment and deploy changes incrementally. And operations teams will always require a platform that values stability and uptime. By embracing standard technologies, automation, and open APIs, OpenShift defines the modern IT Engine that allows organizations to evolve their IT systems. Traditional IT is once again treated as first-class citizens, and agile IT approaches are encouraged as we look to accelerate the delivery tomorrow's applications.

Envisioning the Responsive Cloud

The promise of adopting cloud services is that they will make an organization more agile and receptive to ever-changing market forces. The reality is that mission-critical, traditional IT investments can become anchors unless truly integrated. Certainly, one school of thought would be to cut the anchor loose, but that risks losing the soul of the business. Fortunately, with the cloud and automation technologies such as OpenShift Enterprise, organizations can aggregate traditional IT investments and encourage agile IT approaches.

Cloud technologies should adapt to your business and continually work to ensure that every aspect of that business works together. Streamlining processes and eliminating the unnecessary and redundant tasks of operations teams will position teams to be more receptive to evolving needs of an organization. Businesses should be able to move faster and offer the goods and services to customers that they desire when they want them. In other words, embrace a vision of a responsive cloud where technology is responsive to changing needs and businesses can accelerate delivery of the delivery of the right goods and services to their customers.

About the Author

Isaac Christoffersen has over 15 years of experience in system integration and software solutions development for non-profit, commercial, and government clients. He is a technology innovator and has a proven track record implementing innovative, pragmatic technology solutions to address real world challenges.

As a Cloud Services Architect at Vizuri, Isaac helps clients integrate cloud and open source technologies to realize the vision of a responsive, hybrid cloud operating environment. He delivers solutions that allow clients to accelerate their cloud adoption across three core solution areas - hybrid cloud, cloud application platforms, and cloud automation.


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