Obtaining applications and services from the cloud is now also a matter of course in Germany – at least initially. In fact, many users have not got beyond the stage of first cloud experiences as a stage of expansion of earlier managed services. There are reservations regarding regulatory obstacles, data security and the migration of legacy applications. The COVID-19 pandemic has now forced companies to act quickly – while revealing the status of transformation like a burning glass. Industry experts came to this assessment at a “Hybrid IT” round table at the invitation of COMPUTERWOCHE.
Has the corona virus slowed down the enthusiasm for digitization? For Tobias Regenfuß, Executive Partner at Accenture, this is not the case: “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a particularly positive impact on the trend towards the cloud. According to the surveys that I know and the signals that I get from the market CIOs are investing more than less in the cloud. During the lockdown, it was seen how much the use of cloud technologies contributes to the resilience of the IT systems. This affects not only the workplace from the cloud, but also aspects of IT security and the ability to flexibly cushion load changes. ”
Dominic Schulz, Vice President Hybrid Cloud for the Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH) region at IBM, sees things similarly: “COVID-19 certainly accelerated digitization. Companies that had previously been reluctant to transform had to do so Shifting up several gears overnight, then topics such as the virtual desktop or high-speed data transfer were the big hits. It was interesting to see how suddenly huge amounts of data were traveling to completely different places – with all effects on stability and network bandwidth. “
- Tobias Regenfuss, Accenture
The Covid 19 pandemic has had a positive impact on the cloud trend. According to the surveys I know and the signals I receive from the market, the CIOs are investing more than less in the cloud. During the lockdown, one saw how strongly the use of cloud technologies contributes to the resilience of the IT systems – this affects not only the workplace from the cloud, but also aspects of IT security and the ability to flexibly cushion load changes.
- Marcus Borchert, adesso
We have seen that many companies struggled to equip their own employees in the home office so that they could work productively during the lockdown. At the same time, many strategic issues are initially put on hold. I would hope that in many places the realization has matured that the right answer to the Covid 19 pandemic is not less, but even more digitization.
- David Reher, Brockhaus
Basically, at least in the insurance industry, I don’t see that my own mainframe is available. The many programs for inventory management, some of which were developed in-house, and the subject of data security – take sensitive patient data as an example – clearly speak against this.
- Dominic Schulz, IBM
Covid-19 has certainly accelerated digitization. Companies that were still reluctant to transform had to shift up several gears almost overnight. Topics such as the virtual desktop or high-speed data transfer were the big hits. It was interesting to see how suddenly huge amounts of data were traveling to completely different places – with all effects on stability and network bandwidth.
- Jürgen Brombacher, matrix technology
I would subscribe to the fact that Office365, video conferences and collaboration platforms from the cloud have proven to be a hit in the wake of the pandemic. In my opinion, the situation is different for core applications and classic infrastructure topics. Many companies are simply not yet ready for the cloud, at least in the legacy environment.
- Heinz Bruhn, Rackspace
It should be allowed to point out that operating your own data center is also a significant CAPEX issue. The business aspects are becoming even more important in view of the current crisis. In this respect, I would not sign per se that the old legacy world and one’s own host must have a guarantee of existence forever. Rather, there will be a symbiosis between your own data center and the cloud world. The acceleration of digitalization leads to significantly more cloud native applications and software-as-a-service solutions for companies in order to generate the corresponding benefits.
- Peter Schmidt, syntax
Everything that was necessary ad-hoc to ensure the operation of the company largely from the home office was implemented with the highest priority. Much would not have been possible here at least at this speed without the public cloud.
The cloud may have made managing the lockdown much easier in most companies. This applies at least to the nationwide shift of operational processes to the home office, insofar as these did not concern classic manufacturing and the supply chain. Peter Schmidt, an expert on public cloud at Syntax, confirms this: “Everything that was necessary ad hoc to ensure that the company operates largely from the home office was implemented with the highest priority. Much would be here without the public cloud, at least in this one Speed was not feasible. ”
But office applications and video conferencing are different from porting core applications. Jürgen Brombacher, Senior Strategy Consultant at Matrix Technology, puts his finger in the wound: “I would sign that Office365, video conferencing and collaboration platforms from the cloud have proven to be a hit in the wake of the pandemic. I see it differently with core applications and with the classic infrastructure issues. Many companies are simply not yet ready for the cloud, at least in the legacy environment. “
IBM manager Schulz follows the same notch: “If you take a closer look at many companies that postulate a cloud-first strategy for themselves, some of them are still in the starting blocks. It often shows that IT infrastructures, applications and processes are not yet outsourced. ” There are also concerns about regulatory requirements and data protection.
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- Google Meet
Google Meet enables web-based video and conference calls. In the free version available from May, the service allows conferences with up to 100 participants with a maximum duration of 60 minutes – but this restriction will only come into effect from October 2020. Like most Google services, Meet is designed for Google Chrome and other Chromium-based browsers and works here without plugins. Mobile applications for Android and iOS are also available.
- Facebook Messenger Rooms
With Messenger Rooms, users can set up a conference room directly from Messenger or Facebook and invite up to 20 – later 50 – participants to a video call – even if they do not have a Facebook account. There is no time limit. Participation is possible via smartphone or PC via the browser and, according to Facebook, does not require
any downloads. However, users of the Messenger app have access to various AR effects (e.g. rabbit ears) and new AI-supported functions such as immersive 360-degree backgrounds and atmospheric lighting.
As the most well-known VoIP service, Sype also offers a range of video chat and video conference functions. Microsoft has replaced Skype for Business with the Teams platform.
The successor to Lync and Skype for Business is not a standalone product, but part of the Microsoft Office 365 Suite. However, Teams is available free of charge and is suitable for small businesses with up to 300 members. Guest access as well as individual and group video calls, screen sharing are also on board.
- Google Duo
Google Duo is designed as a free video telephony tool primarily for home users. The maximum number of participants in the Android and iOS app has only recently been increased from eight to twelve people and is expected to increase further according to Google. Duo is available as a web application for PC, Mac and Chromebook as well as a mobile app for Android and iOS devices.
- Jitsi Meet
Jitsi Meet is an easy-to-use solution for video conferencing that still offers many functions. The free solution is based on the open WebRTC standard and can be used on the PC directly and without registration in the browser (Chrome). Apps (Android, iOS) are available for smartphones and tablets.
The Norwegian service Whereby (formerly appear.in) is free of charge for video conferences with up to four participants. . The solution is WebRTC-based, which means that guests can easily connect via the browser without registration. Apps for Android and iOS are optionally available.
After registration, the free Tinychat offers the opportunity to quickly and easily open a new video conference. All you have to do is create a new “room” and send the generated URL to the conference participants.
Lifesize offers free licenses to companies affected by the coronavirus epidemic for a period of six months. Meetings and call duration are unlimited – the Lifesize solution is available for desktops as well as for mobile devices.
Zoom positions itself as one of the leading providers of video conferencing. The tool is primarily characterized by its ease of use and an attractive freemium offer: video conferences with up to 100 participants are already possible with the free version.
LogMeIn completely redesigned its video conference software GoToMeeting at the end of 2019 and implemented new functions. Among other things, the solution now works in the browser via WebRTC as well as via desktop and mobile apps. The subscription plans start at 10.75 euros per month and host for the professional version.
Cisco will continue to offer WebEx free of charge as part of the corona virus pandemic. Unlimited meetings with up to 100 participants, HD video, audio dial-in, personal conference room, screen sharing on desktop and mobile devices, as well as 1GB cloud storage and recordings are included.
But why are topics like migration, security and compliance still relevant after more than a decade of cloud computing? One reason is likely that the migration of essential workloads to the cloud is still considered too complex and too expensive. This is especially against the background that in various industries, especially banks and insurance companies, old mainframe applications have been the backbone of most business-critical transactions, often in the form of silos that have grown over decades.
Brombacher puts it this way: “I have a very heterogeneous attitude, especially in the banking and insurance environment. On the one hand, I see great interest in the topics of hybrid and public cloud. On the other hand, there are still great concerns about security and regulatory requirements. Despite the newly adopted Only a few companies are currently comfortable with outsourcing parts of their legacy applications and core systems. They shy away from the effort, the supposed costs and especially the auditing. ”
David Reher, consultant at Brockhaus AG, makes a similar judgment: “Basically, at least in the insurance industry, I don’t see that my own mainframe is available. The many programs for inventory management, some of which I developed myself, and the subject of data security – for example sensitive patient data – speak clearly against it here. “
Legacy applications are still slowing down the transformation – at a time when everything technologically points towards agile methods, microservices and container technology. After all, it is no longer a question of whether, but how the cloud migration can be realized. IT decision-makers are considering how they can implement new platforms, automation, well-orchestrated hybrid cloud scenarios and fundamental application modernization.
According to current surveys – including the latest IDG study “Managed Services 2020” – more and more companies are planning to outsource a significant part of their infrastructure and application landscape to the public cloud. Large corporations such as Deutsche Bahn and Volkswagen are seen as prominent pioneers here. In these companies, legacy applications migrate to the hyperscaler’s cloud environments, while new “cloud native” applications are also developed and operated.
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But for cloud migration to succeed, IT organizations cannot avoid ensuring adequate data quality and tidying up their application landscape. Above all, there is the need for a binding process and digital strategy. Jürgen Brombacher once again: “It makes little sense to bring everything to the cloud via lift & shift and then tidy up – in the hope that it will eventually become cheaper. This hope is deceptive and leads to the realization that the cloud does not It is a panacea and if there is a lack of preparation and a lack of strategy, everything tends to be more expensive. ”
He knows of no CIO, according to the Matrix Technology Manager, who would be willing to accept additional costs now and to be willing to make a very uncertain bet. So it is a matter of “designing your own transformation process in such a way that applications, platforms, processes and, above all, data and their use are made so transparent and categorized according to protection requirements that you can sensibly cluster your own IT and portion by portion into a private, public and / or can outsource hybrid cloud “.
Peter Schmidt from Syntax sees things similarly. “One should not conduct the discussion about the public cloud for its own sake, but always ask: what do I associate with it and what do I want with it? Do I only want to become smarter and more agile in some areas with new cloud-native applications? Or do I want to do so instead or in addition The answers are inevitably different in every company, but always require an existing cloud strategy and governance. Migration to the cloud is not just a process and technology topic, but primarily a strategy question and a leadership role. ”
For Heinz Bruhn, Solution Director at Rackspace, the user companies still have some preparatory measures to be taken for a successful path towards hybri
d IT. Regardless of this, the expert’s own data center is more of an outdated model. Bruhn: “It should be allowed to point out that the operation of your own data center is also a significant CAPEX issue. The economic aspects are becoming even more important in view of the current crisis. I would not therefore sign the old legacy per se -World and your own host must have a guarantee of existence forever. Rather, there will be a symbiosis between your own data center and the cloud world. The acceleration of digitalization leads to significantly more cloud-native applications and software-as-a for companies Service solutions to generate the corresponding benefits. “
- Robin Parr, Neos
“How strong the impact of Cloud-native is can also be seen in topics such as DevOps: While development and operation grow together as closely as possible in traditional environments, this separation no longer exists at Cloud-native:” Dev “and” Ops “are one and the same person there. “
- Heinz Bruhn, Rackspace
“Cloud-native means more freedom, which goes hand in hand with increased fears among companies – at the procedural, technological and last but not least at the organizational level. To address this, the willingness of the management needs the necessary changes at each of these levels to toast. ”
- Matthias Kranz, Red Hat
“In the discussion with customers, we often take a step back consciously and ask: Why should it be the cloud at all? Based on this question, it is then important to formulate a clear strategy and not simply to carry out” lift and shift “. This also applies, and above all, to the cultural level: especially in large companies, too rapid a migration leads to uncertainty and resistance. Only when the benefits become clear will the fears disappear. ”
- Rene Funk, Maturity
“DevOps is basically the right approach if it is implemented consistently by the organization – structurally and culturally. Comparisons with traditional methods show that the coordination between supply and demand runs faster, error rates decrease and the bottom line is the application TCO is reduced. “
- Marcus Flohr, Delphix
“We can think of processes and technologies as we want: If the right cultural basis is not there, we run into walls. But we can only create these conditions in a continuous process that affects the entire organization. A spin-off in the form of a Start-ups can often also be an obstacle to development because the innovations generated do not make it to the center of the company. ”
- Simon Fleischer, ConSol
“In the place of technical know-how, cloud-native environments are replaced by business know-how that emphasizes the benefits of technology. Above all, with regard to the shortage of skilled workers, opportunities also arise for many companies. You can wonder what knowledge they really need in the house. “
- Benjamin Treichel, Brockhaus
“The conscientious analysis of processes is an essential success criterion when transferring company infrastructures to the cloud. If the announcement” We are going to cloud now “comes from above, then only” lift and shift “comes out. Only when companies understand They make the leap that migration is a lengthy but worthwhile process, and security is still a major stumbling block.
- Dominic Lindner, ownCloud
“Especially in medium-sized companies, there is often a high level of uncertainty as to whether the high costs and expenses of integrating data into the cloud are worthwhile and where exactly it can be started. Here, with the help of clear use cases, the first approaches to using the cloud are important cost-effective to test. “
The path to hybrid IT is therefore not a trivial one and is usually a multi-stage process. The hybrid cloud could be an effective means to an end, container technology an important migration tool. With the help of Kubernetes, monolithic applications can be broken down, packaged and transported to other platforms. For many IT decision-makers and those responsible for infrastructure, this is the decisive lever for modernizing their own application landscape.
At the same time, the modernization of workloads is simplified because developers can redesign them in a service-oriented architecture and gradually add or replace them with distributed “containerized” applications. All of this takes place with the overarching goal of making your own IT more flexible, faster, more cost-effective and customer-oriented.
However, the question of how new complexity arises quickly arises. For Accenture Manager Regenfuss this does not necessarily have to be the case: “Whether the complexity of the transformation into a hybrid cloud world increases depends heavily on the respective company and the chosen approach. A clean enterprise architecture management is important here to set the right course on the basis of hard data. Where there is a lack of transparency with regard to infrastructure and data, there is now a lot of catching up to do and advice. Regardless of this, every company has to ask: Do I have the necessary resources and skills for a multi-cloud provider management? “
Basically, the Accenture man sees the hybrid cloud as an important intermediate step of a successful cloud migration by stating: “Companies that successfully implement the journey to the public cloud choose an intelligent approach, the scaled lift & shift programs with targeted modernization It makes no sense to immediately advise companies to re-program everything in cloud native, which is almost always too expensive – and you have to take a closer look at where the added value is. The hybrid cloud is still necessary because not everything can be in the public cloud or a business case can be represented. ”
IBMer Schulz agrees with him: “The hybrid cloud is an important intermediate step to usher in the migration to the cloud. This is also shown by studies that show that only around 20 percent of mission-critical applications have been moved to the cloud today. “
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From an IT management perspective, companies therefore need a uniform operating model for private and public clouds. Large providers such as VMware, HPE or Google address this need with powerful hybrid cloud management suites, which are intended to give users maximum flexibility and freedom of choice in the cloud. The overriding goal should be to prevent one from becoming dependent on the other: from the proprietary world of one’s own mainframe to that of the development environment of large hyperscalers. Rather, companies should be able to continue to use their private cloud internally and switch to the public cloud for certain applications or during seasonal peak loads. There is also the option of consolidating internal data centers and private clouds and gradually migrating more workloads to the public cloud.
For the medium-sized companies in particular, switching to the Public Coud should not be an option for the time being – both due to the economic situation as a result of the corona pandemic and due to their own IT history. There is often a close relationship with system houses and providers of managed services. Nevertheless, Rackspace manager Bruhn also observes interesting market trends here: “I perceive that the IT budgets are allocated in smaller tranches in order to quickly check the success of a hybrid cloud approach through proof of concepts. We therefore always see more often that smaller speedboat projects are now initiated, but always with a strategic background. ”
The customer would have to be offered the right organizational and technical solutions along the respective strategic planning in order to quickly achieve the desire
d level of modularity, scalability or automation, Bruhn continues.
Peter Schmidt also draws a heterogeneous picture of German medium-sized companies: “Many of our customers still operate their IT in their own basement and have never had any public cloud approaches. But we are always surprised by exactly these companies, who now tell us we now have a cloud-first strategy, where we often develop hybrid cloud scenarios on the way to becoming an all-in. The exciting question then is how much of the end-all vision is left remains.”
Finally, the question remains to what extent the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn have not slowed down the companies’ digitalization roadmaps. Many belts stood still, employees are on short-time work, IT budgets are at least under scrutiny. Many projects are currently stopped, the CIOs are on sight. Nevertheless, all industry experts agree on one point: There is no alternative to digitization.
Marcus Borchert, Managing Consultant at Adesso, puts it in a nutshell: “We saw that many companies struggled during the lockdown to equip their own employees in the home office in such a way that they could work productively. At the same time, many strategic issues are initially on I would hope that in many places, however, the realization has matured that the correct answer to the COVID 19 pandemic is not less, but even more digitalization. “
Information on the partner packages of the ‘Hybrid IT Management’ study