It's Time for a Smarter Approach to the Cloud

At Pivot3, we recently released the latest innovations in the our hyperconverged platform which include an Intelligence Engine, an industry first for making intelligent, automated choices about the use of cloud as a component of infrastructure. It’s remarkable for a number of reasons, not only for its functionality but for what it represents for the future of the datacenter.

I get to talk to CIO’s and other senior IT leaders pretty regularly, and I never miss an opportunity to ask them about their experience with, and plans for, the Cloud. Invariably they start by telling me their problems. The key issues I hear over and over again, stated various ways, are as follows:

  • My business is bringing me new requests at a faster pace. Seems like every business unit is depending on IT for their very existence now. It’s hard to keep up. My budget’s not growing at the rate of demand.
  • The amount of data our business is generating is growing exponentially. I have to store all this someplace. See prior point about my budget!
  • My current infrastructure is a mess of prior generations, different standards, different vendors and proprietary gear. It takes a lot of IT know-how to integrate it all, and to keep it all running. This complexity prevents me from reconfiguring it or adding to it fast enough to accommodate the prior 2 problems.
  • The unique IT skills I need to keep my physical plant running and to reconfigure it for new requirements are pretty specific and they’re in high demand. It’s getting harder for me to attract and retain the IT people I need to keep pace with this digital transformation.
  • My internal customers can’t wait for me to adapt so they try to outsource things to vendors or solutions in the cloud. “Shadow IT” like this takes the management out of the hands of the IT professionals, so I have no control over cost, compliance, IT policy and a number of other important aspects of IT management.

Obviously, the Cloud has a lot of potential and adoption is growing every day for workloads that are suitable to transition off premises. But the promise of the Cloud reducing complexity and cost hasn’t really materialized, at least for some mission-critical workloads. Too often I hear stories of customers receiving their 2nd or 3rd month’s bill for cloud services and getting a surprise; whether it’s orphaned VMs, unanticipated requirements for higher service levels to support SLAs, or simply poor decision making about which service to use, cost overruns are common with the cloud. There are so many cloud options and choices to be made to constantly optimize cloud usage that most organizations can’t keep up. What results is less-than-optimal use of a potentially great component of their overall infrastructure.

How Pivot3 is Simplifying Cloud Complexity with Intelligence and Automation 

This is why I think the latest developments from our amazing engineering team at Pivot3 are coming at the perfect time for the market. Customers I’m talking to are looking to use the Cloud to support thousands, or potentially tens of thousands of VMs. It’s not feasible for people to manually reconfigure and re-provision IT compute, storage, networking and memory resources constantly in real-time to ensure that all the most critical business services meet their SLAs. Automation is going to be necessary if we’re to make effective use of the Cloud at any kind of scale.

For years, we’ve been working on automation that simplifies the management of these resources in the datacenter. This intelligent policy engine allows line-of-business stakeholders to declare how important a workload is and have the system self-regulate to make sure its SLAs are met. More important workloads will receive the resources they need to meet their committed performance or response times, potentially at the expense of lower-priority workloads that would otherwise be using those resources. The engine dynamically provisions the resources to the critical workloads that need them, then provisions them back to lower priority workloads when it can free them up. While other vendors are still asking IT to set thresholds on resources that can be used by any given workload, Pivot3 has been allowing customers to economize by only buying to the peak capacity requirements of their most critical workloads. The cost savings from this approach are enormous.

Now we’re extending this same capability to the cloud, which will allow customers to be confident that they’re using the right platform to host applications, that they’ve provisioned enough resources to meet their SLAs and that they aren’t wasting money by over-provisioning. Instead of worrying about how to make sure that business services meet the needs of the business, IT can now focus on optimizing spend and utilization, and making capital or operational expenditures when they’re actually needed. The Intelligence Engine will also coordinate with your on-premises resources to determine the optimal mix of hardware and configuration to meet IT needs.

As the popularity of the Cloud grows, the need for automation and intelligence is only going to become more acute. It’s exciting to be at the forefront of this innovation and even more fun to see what amazing things our customers are accomplishing with our solutions!

About the Author

Bruce Milne

Bruce is a visionary technology executive who brings over 20 years of marketing and products experience to Pivot3 as Chief Marketing Officer. Over the course of his career, he has helped innovative software companies establish their vision and execute their go-to-market strategy. Prior to joining Pivot3, Bruce played an instrumental role in the success of companies such as Socialware, Hyperformix, and OpenText (formerly Vignette). An avid outdoorsman, Bruce volunteers as a scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America, which provides him the opportunity to pursue his interests in boating, sailing and camping while giving something back to the community.

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