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As we look forward to the new year and the new decade, it’s time for business leaders to identify how they want to drive their organization into the future. What new technologies, tools, processes—and, quite frankly, people—do you need to better serve your clients, stakeholders, employees, and community?
For 8 in 10 organizations, digital transformation has been a focus within the past five years. Meanwhile, 84% see innovation as key to success. So it’s likely either transformation or innovation will reach your whiteboard as a top initiative in 2020. But what do these terms really mean in practice? Aren’t they kind of synonymous? Well, not really. Once you dig into the meat of digital transformation, you realize it could lead to innovation. And if you can truly innovate, chances are you’ll need to transform your digital operations to follow through.
Where should you focus your efforts? That depends on the state of your IT and application teams along with your overall mission.
Two major enterprise computing platforms are reaching their end of life this week. Tomorrow (January 14th), in fact. While this may seem like a last-minute blog entry, we know there are plenty of you out there still running Windows 7 on corporate desktops and Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2 in your data centers.
Microsoft itself estimated that 60% of its Windows Server install base was still running 2008 back in August. Some of those instances may have been upgraded or migrated to cloud VMs, but we’re betting many of them remain. Unofficial estimates peg the number of Windows 7 machines worldwide at around 200 million.
Change can be hard, especially when your systems seem to be working properly and upgrading appears to be a complex and time-consuming endeavor. But operating systems that have reached End of Support open the door for vulnerabilities, bugs, and incompatibility with newer infrastructure. They also make it more difficult to deploy and support newer software that can improve employee efficiency and empower the business to drive revenue in new areas and to compete with others in the industry. With Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 End of Support upon us, what are your options?
As you dig into DevOps methodology, you’re likely to encounter the term “shift left” and the slightly less common “shift right.” What exactly are we shifting here?
The two terms are sides of the same coin. They refer to when you will test your application or piece of technology – is it during development or once your solution has already entered production? Of course, for true DevOps success, the answer is both! Continuous improvement involves testing at all phases of the application lifecycle.
Let’s take a closer look at the ideology behind “shift left” and its counterpart as well as how they affect the development cycle (which can also be applied beyond app development itself and used when designing and deploying most IT systems).
It’s been over a month since I attended the Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo in Orlando and I’ve spent that time really chewing on some of the great sessions and thought leadership presented at the show. Modern IT practices remain a moving target so plugging into the analyst machine every once in a while helps me get a bigger picture beyond even our day to day at Green House Data (which can be pretty diverse itself, with big pushes on DevOps and digital transformation while we balance our existing data center, cloud, and managed services pillars).
It was interesting hearing Gartner start to shift their message from “cloud is the only option” to “cloud is an option.” As cloud adoption strategies have matured we have seen this attitude shift as well, with more organizations looking multi-cloud while maintaining some on-prem systems. One presentation on public cloud costs compared to on-prem data centers really helped drive this home. The bottom line is that the cloud is not automatically cheaper or even necessarily more efficient depending on the application or purpose of the deployment.
Other major topics included how to find digital talent, as the management of human capital and IT teams continues to evolve alongside the industry, as well as one of my favorite presentations, “Are You Maximizing Your Security Operations Center,” which had a ton of great information around security.
With the symposium still fresh in mind, here is my list of where enterprise IT operations are heading in 2020 and beyond.
Green House Data was onsite last week at Microsoft Ignite. We had some incredible conversations at our booth about Azure, PowerApps, application modernization, DevOps, Windows Server end of support, and more. Of course, while we were working the floor, Microsoft made a bevy of product announcements around core products and services that are sure to shake up your IT world! I’m super excited about these new developments, so here are my top takeaways from the show.
It happens to everyone at some point. Your budget gets slashed; the economy tanks; you’re suddenly in the red thanks to cloud sprawl. Whatever the cause, you’ll likely face a mandatory cost cutting initiative at some point in your IT career.
While cost cutting is a reality, it is fundamentally different from ongoing cost optimization. You should be practicing cost optimization as part of your regular duties, reviewing spend and ensuring the technology, hardware, software, and services in use across your organization are serving their business need and appropriately configured in scope and performance.
By formulating and practicing a cost optimization protocol, you’ll be prepared should the day for cost cutting ever come, while also gathering evidence for the impact IT has on the overall bottom line.
If your organization is large enough to have an information security manager or an entire security team, then it’s likely that any security issue or task will be pushed in their direction. That’s why you hired them, isn’t it?
Security is a specialized area of IT and it requires specific skills for a holistic approach. It is also a moving target with many components and attack vectors across your technology stack. A dedicated security team or individual, whether in-house or contracted, can therefore be valuable. But security must be a shared responsibility among every user, no matter their role.
There’s an inherent problem here and its name is Diffusion of Responsibility. When everyone has a stake in security and there are dedicated managers to boot, users could be more likely to engage in risky behavior. After all, it’s taken care of! That’s why we hired that security guy.
It might feel like DevOps is eating the world, but there’s still room for other innovations within and adjacent to IT operations. One such example is the DataOps movement. The general inspiration behind DataOps is similar to DevOps in that is strives to provide higher quality deliverables from shorter cycles by leveraging technology and specific methodologies around it.
DataOps does not boil down to DevOps principles applied to data analytics, however. While both approaches may embrace automation, continuous improvement, and strong communication between departments, DataOps is less of an infinite cycle and more of an injection of agility into a one-way data pipeline.
Let’s explore the roles, strategies, and technologies at play in a DataOps approach to analytics.
A fundamental building block for your successful adoption of cloud services is the organizational hierarchy, a mode of organizing your cloud services, resources, and virtual machines in such a way that you ensure cloud governance and can better resolve billing within your organization.
Cloud governance is the answer to common questions like:
• “How do I keep my data compliant with industry regulations?”
• “How can I implement chargeback within my organization so I know which departments are consuming cloud services and account for that usage?”
• “How can I mandate security and access measures across our cloud environment?”
By implementing a flexible set of controls and overall organizational hierarchy within Azure, you can enable adoption of the cloud services your business units require and avoid shadow cloud use. A well-designed enterprise cloud environment can accommodate modern agile practices alongside traditional workloads.
Here’s how to structure your organizational hierarchy within Azure so you can set governance requirements and encourage speed of delivery for your individual departments and business units.