Article by Harry Kingma, SUSE A/NZ sales director
Australian businesses are currently facing a maelstrom of increasing customer demands, disruptive competitive activity and technological hairpin turns. Speed is essential to survival and agility has become an organisational imperative. Against this backdrop, Australian organisations must navigate an ever-greater choice of technologies to support their transformation initiatives.
To better understand how businesses are responding to these challenges, SUSE commissioned independent research of more than 1400 IT decision-makers across the globe, including Australia, to explore these issues in more depth.
The study provides insights into what is driving the rapid growth and momentum of new technologies and strategies, and why these are vital to IT professionals looking to support their transformation initiatives as they seek to improve agility, reduce risk and decrease operational expenses.
The research identified five key areas that are critical for enterprises:
Cloud technology has matured to the extent that many businesses are adopting a cloud-first or even a cloud-only strategy. Growth is expected to continue for all types of cloud, especially hybrid (66% of respondents) and private cloud (55%), with 36% seeing public cloud growing.
More than 60% of respondents cited cost reduction as a reason for cloud adoption, with other reasons being to improve developer and programmer productivity (59%), consolidation of the data centre (58%), and improvement of overall business agility and innovation (57%). Private and hybrid models are preferred for business-critical workloads, with 89% of respondents stating they would like to shift from development in public cloud to production in their own private cloud.
Almost all (95%) of respondents believe software-defined infrastructure is the future of the data centre. These individuals see several business and technology advantages with SDI, including faster delivery of IT resources (65%), simplified data centre management (63%), and the enablement of modern IT approaches such as DevOps and hybrid cloud (51%).
Companies are prioritising a DevOps approach, with 86% of respondents seeing DevOps as part of their future IT strategy. Executing on DevOps successfully can be complex, but SDI can provide the flexible and modular cloud infrastructure ideally suited for a true DevOps approach.
More than a quarter (27%) of companies are currently using containers, with another 44% planning to utilise them in the next 12 months. Many see containers as an enabler for DevOps, as they help organisations better allocate resources, speed up the development of applications and improve reliability and cloud portability.
Nearly three-quarters (72%) of organisations are still concerned about the lack of available skill sets in the market when moving to cloud, with the same number concerned about the lack of skills within their own organisation. However, A/NZ businesses are less concerned about skills than the global average (62% in A/NZ).
Accordingly, IT leaders say it’s important to address and enhance skills in private cloud (97%), hybrid cloud (94%) and analytics (93%), along with emerging areas such as IoT (91%), DevOps (89%), containers (85%) and OpenStack (85%). More than half say the responsibility for developing new IT skills lies with employees rather than the organisation.
With many companies shifting toward private and hybrid cloud solutions, OpenStack is becoming increasingly popular. Of the companies surveyed, 23% have already deployed OpenStack (up from 15% in 2015). A total of 82% are using or plan to use OpenStack. Companies are turning to this open source private cloud technology because of its flexibility, integration opportunities and an opportunity to reduce overall costs.
Cloud technology has come a long way in the last 10 years. Cautious experimentation in cloud has for many Australian businesses evolved into cloud-first strategies underpinning IT transformation on a far larger scale. Agility is the watchword for competitive survival and success, and as organisations progress with digital transformation, they are realising that the human and technology sides of business are intertwined.
The growth of mobile and wireless devices, Internet of Things, big data and analytics, robotics and cognitive computing are a handful of the technology advancements impacting cloud usage and forcing a change in best practice.
Flexibility is everything for today’s digital businesses. Alongside developing their own professional skill set, Australian IT leaders must rethink and modernise their data centre to maximise agility. The next evolution in infrastructure and data centre automation is recognised by businesses to be SDI.
Alongside OpenStack momentum and the emergence of DevOps-first strategies and supporting container technologies, SDI heralds a new era for IT leaders looking for an agile and sustainable infrastructure to support transformation.