The role open cloud plays in accelerating innovation (VB Live)


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There are three main components for cloud success: the right hardware, the best software stack, and the appropriate network choice. To learn why flexible, innovation-fostering open clouds are the answer, what’s needed to produce the best outcome, and more, join this VB Live event.

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During the pandemic, cloud has played a major role in helping companies navigate the technological challenges that came in rapid succession. And in response, those companies are realizing the need to accelerate their move to the cloud, pivoting from a long-term IT strategy to an urgent requirement, says Rick Villars, group vice president, worldwide research, at IDC.

“Cloud isn’t a substitute for hardware, or SaaS software — in reality, cloud is a foundation that enables people to consume any new technology, as rapidly as possible,” Villars says. “Rather than having to spend five years to move to the next architecture, whether that’s a new chip design or a new software design, cloud is used as a way to take advantage of that new processor, that new algorithm, that new data set immediately, and do that at scale.”

Having made that call, IT leaders are faced with some major choices.

“The key job of the IT organization in a cloud world is governance, because cloud brings with it so much automation of the delivery of resources,” Villars says. “Administration and classic management can waste time and add complexity, but setting the right rules for governance and making sure they’re being carried out, letting the cloud systems themselves do the work, you can be much faster.”

It means being that much more efficient, and gaining the benefits of scale — one of cloud computing’s most valuable benefits.

The second major consideration, whether you’re modernizing your applications or developing new applications, is that it all comes down to data, he says. That boils down to three essential considerations: ensuring you have complete control over the data that you have, ensuring you have the ability to make that data available wherever it’s needed, and paying constant attention to new data sources that can improve your business strategy and IT stack.

“We like to say that cloud is very data-driven — basically your justification for cloud investment comes down to how it helped you more effectively use your data,” he explains. “If you’re always keeping that in the back of your mind — thinking about any development or strategy in adopting this, and asking is this helping me achieve this goal — then you’re going to be in a real leadership position in making cloud part of your business.”

Implementing cloud strategy

When it comes to accelerating that shift to cloud, there are practical decisions that need to be made immediately.

“For those applications that have been a core part of the business, they’re facing three choices,” Villars says. “Do I modernize that application? Do I shift to a re-architected solution, developed in a way that’s more cloud-enabled and more cloud-linked? Or do I just do a simple lift and shift?”

In many cases, this kind of lift and shift can appear to be faster, though it doesn’t usually save a lot of money in the long term, primarily because of administrative hurdles, he says. But it does allow you to begin that first part of the transition, getting your data moved into the cloud, and allowing you to start strategizing about the longer term: how to modernize that application to leverage it as part of your future business needs.

Once you’ve addressed that urgent need to shift to the cloud, the other big question is how do you begin to use it to innovate?

“That’s absolutely where I want to start looking at cloud as a foundation for new application development, new services,” Villars says. “I want a platform that can grow over the next few years to let me accelerate my business transformation.”

And for that, open cloud offers the most comprehensive, flexible solution, he says. While public cloud environments offer the types of data, resources, and capacity necessary for innovation, organizations also want to have the option to take advantage of capabilities in another cloud, or keep the ability to develop solutions within their own environments that are strategic or have specific data control sovereignty issues to it. And an open environment layers across all these different cloud areas.

By leveraging more open technologies in terms of standard hardware foundation or as-a-service consumption models for these solutions, you accelerate that ability to use new technology as quickly as possible everywhere you need it.

“It’s not an either/or choice. It’s more ‘How do we ensure that we get the full advantage of this new and critical resource without sacrificing our ability to innovate and do innovation where we want to in the long term?’” he says. “Is this open option allowing me to get faster access, whether it’s a new processor, new memory, new algorithm, new data set? That’s where the value has to be as IT leaders think about using any of these technologies.”

Don’t miss out!

Register here for free!

Attendees will learn:

  • Why an ecosystem based on open standards can reduce costs and increase innovation
  • How to evaluate workloads
  • How a cloud based on open standards can easily be constructed
  • How open standards apply to hardware and software choices


  • Keith Tanski, Chief Technology Officer, Optum (UnitedHealth Group)
  • Rick Villars, Group Vice President, Worldwide Research, IDC
  • Stephen Watt, Distinguished Engineer, Red Hat
  • Michael McNerney, Vice President Marketing and Network Security, Supermicro
  • Joe Maglitta, Moderator, VentureBeat