“To reduce complexity in a multi-cloud journey, enterprises should use a data-driven, phased approach for moving application workloads to enable them to make appropriate cloud decisions for hybrid/multi-cloud environments,” says Kash Shaikh, President and CEO, Virtana, in an exclusive interview with EnterpriseTalk.
ET Bureau: Why do most enterprises struggle in their cloud migration process?
Kash Shaikh: The COVID pandemic accelerated the need for digital transformation for many companies. In my view, it accelerated the pace and progress of that transformation by 5-10 years. Companies were forced to adapt to remote work, remote education, and digital touch-points that required less human involvement.
Also, businesses are not sufficiently prepared to implement cloud roadmaps due to migration and skills-related challenges. According to IDC 2020 research, less than 20% of applications have migrated to a public cloud to date. 30% of medium-to-large organizations responding to IDC’s META CIO Survey 2020 highlighted migration as a key challenge; while 39% cited a lack of skills as an obstacle hindering their rollout of cloud strategies.
By the end of 2021, the digital transformation pace will accelerate by 2x, as companies face the need to adapt to a post-COVID-19, digital-driven world. Global cloud spending will grow several times faster than overall IT spending throughout this period.
ET Bureau: What steps can enterprises take to simplify their cloud complexity?
Kash Shaikh: The most important step to managing complexity is to fully understand what is on-premises, before any migration takes place. A ‘know before you go’ approach avoids repatriation issues that negatively impact cost and performance.
A survey of IT decision-makers in the United States and the UK, commissioned by Virtana and fielded by Arlington Research in November 2020, confirmed that of enterprises that moved workloads from on-site data centers to one or more public clouds, 72% subsequently moved some of them back. The top reasons cited were the applications should not have been moved to a public cloud in the first place (41%), technical issues associated with public cloud provisioning (36%), degradation of performance (29%), and unexpected cloud costs (20%).
To reduce complexity in a multi-cloud journey, enterprises should use a data-driven, phased approach for moving application workloads to enable them to make appropriate cloud decisions for hybrid/multi-cloud environments.
ET Bureau: How can enterprises deliver data-driven observability to their customers?
Kash Shaikh: Cloud is complicated but the most powerful way to simplify that complexity is by making informed decisions with high fidelity data. This will ensure that the suitable applications are ready to move to the right clouds and that legacy applications stay on-premises if they are not optimized for the cloud.
It requires research to select the right partner or platform that has observability into on-premises environments, and that can leverage AIOps and machine learning to place applications in the right spot at optimal performance and price.
ET Bureau: How can enterprises effectively manage and optimize the cloud costs based on their resources, risk tolerance and performance requirements?
Kash Shaikh: As noted, the first step is to ‘know before you go’ before anything is migrated or moved. Technology tools that are cloud agnostic can leverage machine learning to continually optimize workloads and applications to manage cost and risk.
ET Bureau: In the emergence of the evolving cyberattacks, how can enterprises secure their applications in various cloud environments?
Kash Shaikh: First of all, in general, cloud environments are no less or more secure than on-premises. The most important step for Enterprise Companies is to recruit a knowledgeable Chief Security Officer (CSO) to be empowered and responsible for security across all clouds, whether private or public. CSO will manage security, compliance, regulations, data sovereignty, frameworks, tools, and more – across all clouds.
Public clouds employ a shared responsibility model. Depending on the cloud migration strategy (SaaS, PaaS or IaaS), enterprises will still be responsible for managing operating systems patches, firewalls, SOC-2 and/or CSA compliance. For SaaS, CSOs must have a robust checklist to validate and understand the “data access risk”.
SaaS providers are not immune to the ever-increasing and sophistication of cyber-criminal attacks. CSOs must understand and ensure that the identity management systems and data security is continually validated for SaaS, PaaS or IaaS. Cloud service providers will handle a range of security concerns from physical building security through the hypervisor and internal software. Yet, due to the unfortunate reality of today’s cyberattacks, CSOs must have in place routine security assessments and procedures ranging from periodic penetration tests through identifying applications’ flaws.
Kash Shaikh is President, Chief Executive Officer, and member Board of Directors at Virtana. He has more than 25 years of experience in the data center and the cloud industry. Kash has a track record of improving results in small and large fortune 100 public companies by making necessary strategic calls to drive profitable organic and inorganic growth. Prior to Virtana, Shaikh was Global Vice President and General Manager of Solutions business at Dell Technologies, which included technology partner alliances. Kash holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from NED University, a master’s in Electrical Engineering from Wichita State University, and an MBA from Boise State University.