BY Capgemini
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IT trends spotted and checked by experts

General Director of Cloud Infrastructure France (Capgemini and its subsidiary Sogeti)

Christophe Bonnard is Director General of Cloud Infrastructure France (Capgemini and its subsidiary Sogeti). He is a year 2000 Averroès graduate of ENA, France's prestigious National Public Administration...


The stratospheric rise of the cloud

5 Dec, 2016 12:25 pm

Trust in the cloud is growing. While there is notable continued growth in use of the private cloud, some companies are beginning to migrate towards using public cloud infrastructure. However, such a migration requires several key prerequisites to be in place.

To what extent have companies developed their cloud-related activities?

On the French market, adoption of the cloud is steadily progressing. During Syntec Numérique's most recent bi-annual study that was carried out by IDC, IT decision-makers were surveyed about the trends they expected to see regarding the evolution of their infrastructure. After cost reduction, the priorities they stated were the deployment of a private cloud (for 58% of those surveyed, representing a 12 point increase on last year) and the launching of new services in the public cloud (for 52% of those surveyed, representing a 6 point increase on last year).

There is not a single project that I work on which is not "cloud first" oriented or at least cloud compatible. The cloud is seen as an indispensable tool as part of a successful digital transformation strategy. Big data notably requires more flexible and scalable infrastructures, in order to deal with large volumes of data. By reducing costs, the cloud enables companies to direct their budgets towards financing innovative projects.  

The movement began two or three years ago with the creation of the first private clouds. The latter were all about generating environments in which production or testing could take place swiftly. Projects focusing on purely public clouds are rarer in France than in the UK or in Northern Europe. PostNL, the Dutch post office service has placed its entire application portfolio on the cloud, for example. The most popular trend remains the use of a hybrid public-private cloud, which allows users to have the best of both worlds

How can companies decide between the private cloud and the public cloud?

First of all it's all about defining the cloud strategy. Entering the cloud is not just a question of technology: cloud migration will have an impact on internal processes, but also on the range of skills required within the company's IT department. 

The following step includes reviewing your applications portfolio. Based on their stage of development and their profitability, some applications will be either scrapped, rewritten or translated, in order to make them cloud compatible, or indeed they may be replaced by native solutions in a SaaS (Software as a Service) form.

Next comes the question of sharing the workload out between the public and private cloud, and that choice depends on the material available. For example, a company with a large volume of virtual servers that have not yet been amortised will be more inclined to opt for the private cloud. 

Finally, studying the volume, variability and, above all, the criticality of data will narrow the choice down even further. Banks or "Vitally Important Operators" (OIV in French) as defined by the French law on military programming (LPM), are subject to regulatory conditions that limit them in terms of where they can store their data. A detailed analysis allows companies to divide information into sensitive data that must be stored in France from what could be stored abroad. 

The opening of datacentres in France in 2017 by Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure could remove the final hurdle, as the security hurdle has already been removed. The level of security of Amazon, Microsoft or other large cloud providers is no lower than that of private infrastructures - on the contrary, in fact. 

Capgemini is a partner of all of these cloud providers, thus rendering our advice impartial. We are also taking things forward to the next step, which is IT containerisation. Being freed from the applications environment, the concept of a virtual container allows companies to utilise cloud services offered by any provider, rather than depending on one in particular.

What is the role of the IT department in this cloud strategy?

Despite the appointment of a chief digital officer or the fact that an ever-increasing share of the digital technology budget is no longer under its control - 30 to 40% according to studies - the role of the IT department remains a key one. Indeed, IT departments ensures that businesses can benefit from IT production. 

After having overseen the conversion of servers into virtual form, the IT unit can suggest a host of cloud services. The IT department becomes almost a sales service, targeting specific domains. For example, it can set up a digital factory dedicated to marketing analysis. 

Finally, the IT department must continue to ensure that the existing IT services keep on functioning. This means maintaining and updating the current infrastructure, but carefully with regard to these legacy systems. All new developments and recent applications will be migrated to an infrastructure that allies both the public and private clouds, for clients who subscribe to this bimodal IT system for their organisations. 
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