ESG's Mark Bowker and Doug Cahill discuss the concept of Distributed Cloud.
Doug: Hi, Doug Cahill here with Mark Bowker. As many of you probably know, ESG conducts an annual Technology Spending Intentions study. We've been running the survey for 13 years now. And, you know, Mark, we cover some of the meta-trends in IT, so sort of flies at higher altitude. Naturally, we've been tracking cloud computing for a number of years. I took note of two findings from our latest study that we conducted at the end of last year coming into 2021. First was the notable increase in adoption of infrastructure as a service in past platforms. Obviously, SaaS adoption has been deep and broad for a number of years now. But boy, a lot of organizations are clearly shifting infrastructure to IS and developing new modern applications on PaaS. The other key finding for me was that three-quarters of the respondents said that IT has gotten more complicated over the last two years, and I thought cloud computing sort of promised organizations to get out of the business of managing data centers, right? So what's going on here, Mark? Why has the world gotten more complicated and not simpler?
Mark: Yeah, you mean, Doug, the cloud isn't like the easy button you hit and it solves everything? You know, we've certainly seen great success, but that's absolutely true. Things have become more complex. There's special excitement around, "Hey, I want to absorb cloud innovation as fast as I can." Like that also has to couple with the reality of my investments inside the data center, and those aren't going away anytime soon. Just as there is no easy button, there is no magic switch that you flip inside your data center to turn it all off. And then what we see inside organizations, well, do we take an application-first approach, build the application through microservices, and then kind of hand it off to ITOps and say, "Good luck with that?" Or is it a infrastructure, let's take the infrastructure, look at our data, look at our data distribution, our models and then kind of figure out how we architect new applications to that? What we're seeing is four areas where there's really a gap. And guess what? Digital transformation strategies at different stages because of this, the IT and DevOps process, well, it's not as perfect as it could be. ITOps are not always professionals at being able to have that developer-ready infrastructure. So we're still seeing that play out. The tools, and telemetry, and automation, really trying to figure out how can I take existing investments that I may have had that no longer have visibility into new things that I'm doing. And then it's skill set, and certification, and just organizational dynamics. So, yes, the cloud solves some pretty amazing things, but, Doug, there's no easy button, and yes, we are seeing things become much more complex.
Doug: Yeah, no question. As we're consuming new technologies, we still have old tech that has a long tail. So how do we rationalize this world for IT leaders? I've heard you speak to the notion of the distributed cloud. So sort of an evolution of hybrid multi-clouds. How do we define the distributing clouds, and how does that sort of concept serve as a framework to move forward?
Mark: The answer is really this model of distributed cloud, which is a connected ecosystem of cloud services, developer-ready infrastructure, and legacy IT that provides a consistent operation for modern applications. And it really focuses on creating a foundation for modern applications, having consistency of operations of both on the developer and IT side. And it also focuses on organizationally aligning the security team, and operations team, and application builders all under one construct that says, distribute cloud ultimately as a vision that we have going forward that connects all these different services as well as existing investments and turn it into really their long-term modern application strategy.
Doug: That really frames up how organizations now are really technology companies so long as the businesses are getting more and more involved. So I would imagine and, you know, those cross-functional discussions around aligning application requirements with infrastructure that, that's really...that's a business discussion.
Mark: It really is a different line of businesses, whether it be HR organization looking to bring employees back to work, financial services to develop applications to really deliver new experience to their customers, healthcare looking to really think about ways to have telehealth or other ways to deliver to their patients. This kind of distributed cloud has gotten more attention because of the, I'll say, innovation that the line of business owners and those executives, those business executives are ultimately thinking of. So great observation, we absolutely see that.
Doug: Hey, Mark, just to wrap things up here, I know you have a series of research studies that you're launching this year. So watch the space, right? There's going to be a lot more insight based on peer-level research and findings that you're going to be sharing with the market over the course of the year.
Mark: Yeah, absolutely. Just be on the lookout for all our distributed cloud research that kind of looks at it from an application and an infrastructure perspective. And feel free to reach out to myself, Doug, or any of the analysts.