Many CIOs long ago abandoned notions of ‘lift-and-shift’ migrations to the cloud, instead opting for a hybrid approach that embraces cloud where possible while maintaining legacy systems on-premise.
Keeping pace with a business’s needs while relying on this mix of cloud services and on-premise IT remains challenging.
IT teams might not able to add on-premise storage arrays quickly. They may also find it hard to get clear and accurate projections from business units about their on-premise storage requirements years into the future, points out Matthew Hurford, vice president of solutions engineering at NetApp APAC.
“What kind of applications will they be deploying? Where are those applications going to run? What kind of data and data services are those applications going to need?”
Hurford recalls an Australian insurance company that approached Meridian IT for advice about how to avoid investing large sums to expand their legacy computing environment.
“They had an ageing fleet of assets and didn’t want to upgrade those on a capital expenditure [CAPEX] model,” he explains.
“They were moving to cloud and working out what makes sense to move when – and they didn’t want to pay for enough to cover four, five, or six years because it’s a lot of money to spend up front without really knowing what the future will bring.”
If heads of departments don’t have their IT needs met, they might ask others to meet them by using external, unapproved IT environments.
That’s a scenario NetApp and its partner, IT and managed services company Meridian IT Australia, are aiming to help IT departments avoid. They are doing that by addressing the way they procure, use and manage on premise storage.
“Purchasing a performance level”
The strategy endorsed by Meridian IT is to gives organisations the ability to pay only for the on-premise storage they use via cloud-like subscription service. This storage-as-a-service is called mStore Flex, and it’s powered by NetApp’s Keystone services.
Business application usage is modelled and a service catalogue is built to match, optimising the use of storage tiers to maximise performance and minimise costs. The ability to burst to public cloud via a data fabric is included.
Meridian IT Australia’s head of solutions and architecture, Robert Simione, explains: “You're just purchasing a performance level and an SLA, as opposed to purchasing bits and bytes and a complete array that you're only maybe going to use 20 percent of.”
“It's really looking at what type of service you need out of that particular device and delivering that service as an outcome,” Simione says.
Features such as capacity dashboards, integration with software such as ServiceNow, chargeback and showback, multitenancy and tenant management are also available.
Provisioned, execution and management can be offloaded to Meridian IT, reducing the time and skills required by organisations.
“We've been delivering as-a-service models for quite some time, for probably the last five years in a highly secure unregulated environment for government entities,” Simione explains. “We have that deep expertise to be able to deliver that now for commercial and enterprise customers.”
Breaking the cycle
IT decision-makers are being encouraged to broaden the way they think about these issues.
“I think it's more than just about spinning up VMs or increasing storage capacity,” Simione says. “Having the right platform will allow them to look at new workloads like cloud native apps [and practises like] DevOps.”
“It's key to understand what, what you're trying to achieve and put those services in place and create that pathway, so that you have the ability to grow when the business needs to grow.”
For the insurance company mentioned earlier, this approach has provided various benefits, as Hurford explains: “What we provided those folks was this ability to consume their on-premise environment as a service. They had a tech refresh, they’ve got all the newest equipment on-prem, and they pay dollar per gigabyte for all their assets.”
When the company starts to move its applications to the cloud, it can turn off the consumption of those on-premise services. “So now they've got flexibility. They've got away from those aging assets. They've got flexibility to consume things, and they've got also got the freedom to move to cloud when they want to,” Hurford comments.
Others are following suit, including legacy-heavy telecommunications companies and government agencies, Hurford says.
“These have been very CAPEX-driven organisations in the past, but moving into OPEX based models is going to be a very important way of consuming resources in the future.”
To learn more visit Meridian IT Australia.