Why public cloud is becoming the ‘new normal’

Public, private or hybrid? Cloud is taking a new shape, driven by hyperscalers such as AWS and a suite of new technologies

30 April 2021Frank Strecker

Cloud transformation is in full swing

Cloud is the new normal, and more enterprises are adopting a ‘public cloud first’ policy. The perception has changed. The question is not “Why cloud?” anymore, today clients ask, “Why not cloud?” and “how quickly can cloud be implemented?”. Frank Strecker discusses how T-Systems’ partnership with AWS gives customers access to the technology that makes this happen.

Advancing the cloud business in collaboration with AWS

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T-Systems announced a new strategic collaboration with AWS in December 2020 – a key milestone in our partnership that we have been building on for several years. We have come to appreciate the high standards that AWS sets in its APN Program, ensuring partners are properly equipped to serve customers on the depth and breadth of AWS cloud services and the high level of customer focus Amazon is known for. This newly expanded partnership is based on a mutual understanding of how T-Systems and AWS aim to drive cloud business together, serving customers of all sizes in their cloud journey.

The perception has changed

It also confirms our commitment to the market observation that public cloud adoption is accelerating, as companies realign their priorities and flock to the cloud more quickly than ever. There is a growing acceptance that public and hybrid cloud will dominate the business growth dynamic in the foreseeable future. Cloud may have initially been just for developer-focused workloads, or the occasional experiment. But now, it’s the new normal.

In a round-table webinar to support the partnership, Darren Mowry (managing director EMEA at AWS) and Adel-Saleh (T-Systems CEO) discussed how much perceptions of cloud have changed in the last decade. Back in 2010, in my talks with prospective customers they usually had concerns around performance and security. They would ask, “Why cloud?” Now, the script has flipped. The prevailing attitude is, “Why would we do anything else?”

The correct strategy: public cloud first

At T-Systems, our 13 years of involvement with cloud gives us a firm grounding in its advantages. We even went through our own cloud transformation, gaining first-hand experience with the migration of our parent company, Deutsche Telekom. We came to the conclusion that a ‘public cloud first’ strategy is the correct one, and that if you protect your on-premise business at all costs, you are holding yourself back. That’s what enterprises are now discovering across all sectors and all regions. They are embracing a set of key reasons for cloud migration.

Three key reasons

The first is agility: in a flexible cloud environment, it is less costly to try new things. With less risk attached, companies can head down the path of experimentation and implement disruptive new concepts and applications.

Secondly, there’s the cost saving – the ability to switch a CapEx model for an OpEx one. Historically, you would be inclined to over-provision your IT capacity for business operations, ensuring you can handle periods of peak demand without risking outages. This meant you typically paid for more IT than you actually used. With public cloud’s built-in elasticity, you can match your expenditure to your needs without incurring gaps in capacity.

Thirdly, there’s the removal of ‘heavy lifting’ from highly skilled (and compensated) individuals in your organization. Freeing IT staff from time spent occupied with racking, stacking or other on-site maintenance means you can unleash the full potential of their talent.

Quick and thorough migration

With a global cloud partner like AWS, enterprises can deploy as quickly as possible and start to reap these benefits. AWS’s geographically concentrated ‘clusters’ offer timely, performant and fault-tolerant infrastructure within the boundaries of a single country – lessening the burden of data regulation compliance. And we can get it up and running quickly. We recently worked with a large chemicals company to move its systems away from its own data centers and into the cloud. We were able to deliver a full IT landscape analysis and cost-itemized migration strategy in less than eight weeks; from this start, the client was able to carry out a quick and thorough migration, saving costs by using cloud-native services.

Perfect match: cloud, data protection and compliance

Compliance with data protection requirements and security in the cloud? Sure it's possible, but there are quite a few things to consider!

The right platform with the right expertise

Tape stripes in many colours on orange background 

When you combine game-changing solutions with the knowledge and experience of how to use them, it paves the way for exciting things to happen. That’s why the partnership between AWS and T-Systems is so promising.

With AWS, you get an amazing technology base that is being continuously augmented and improved. Meanwhile, what T-Systems brings to the table is vast experience in migrating operations, particularly mission-critical ones. We have more than 2,000 cloud experts and are working on a training program with AWS to increase this number even further. Our Cloud Migration Framework is built to ensure business continuity, select the applications that can be fast-tracked to the cloud for an ‘easy win’, and migrate workloads in a highly structured, ‘factory-like’ way that speeds up the transformation and reduces the chance of errors.

By partnering with the right experts, you can ensure that the built-in capabilities of public cloud – scalability, redundancy, monitoring – are used to their full effect. Migrating with AWS and T-Systems means you don’t need to worry about losing support; instead, your support is enhanced as we maintain our closeness to you and your processes.  

Where is cloud going next? 

The market is growing fast. Driven by hyperscalers such as AWS, cloud computing has totally transformed in the last decade. From my point of view, the future looks like an intelligent hybrid ecosystem, giving enterprises a presence in the public cloud on top of a number of applications that are kept on-premise to comply with data regulations.

At re:Invent 2020, where AWS and T-Systems’ partnership was announced, AWS founder Andy Jassy talked about what customers really want: a hybrid offering that uses the same tools and APIs as their cloud services. It’s no surprise that AWS has been innovating at rapid pace in this area: using VMWare Cloud on AWS to move workloads, and deploying AWS Outposts, physical installations of native AWS cloud technology and services, fully integrated in the AWS but located on-site.

I am sure new technologies will continue to emerge, further adding to the cloud offering. One example is call center modernization – something that came to the fore during the COVID-19 pandemic, as contact center staff quickly moved to a home-working model. With Amazon Connect, enterprises were able to set up virtual call centers in a matter of days. Another example is a chain of hotels deploying contactless check-in using facial analysis. Supported by AI and machine learning, it allowed the hotels to be among the first to reopen safely after lockdown.

Data lakes meet edge computing

The other major aspect that will grow is analytics. It has never been easier to collect, store, analyze, and share data than it is today in the cloud – not just because of the cost advantage, but also because of how close it brings you to the analytics services. AWS’s service, Amazon S3, is the foundation of this for many enterprises. The next challenge is in making sure everyone in an enterprise can get to this data and pull it together in a way that allows interesting things to happen. Again, hybrid solutions are being developed for this: data lakes combined with edge computing allowing machines to process data where they are.

Cloud may be the new normal, but that doesn’t mean its transformation is complete. In fact, it will never stop. That holds true on an overall market level and an individual enterprise level. Once a client has migrated its applications to the cloud, it’s likely to feel the need to integrate its services – which is why we offer managed services as the final step in the Cloud Migration Framework. And so, the journey continues. Together with AWS – a partner that will always push the envelope and grow what is possible in the cloud – we’re hungry for success and enthusiastic to support businesses as they embark on that journey. 

About the author

Frank Strecker

Senior Vice President Global Cloud Computing, Big Data and Edge , T-Systems, Digital Solutions

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