IT Life: Making Cloud The Norm

Kevin Beadon of Glasshouse Technologies wants to see IT departments act like service providers

Kevin Beadon has been managing data centre infrastucture for 25 years, and now he runs workspace and mobility at GlassHouse Technologies.  He foresees a time when the cloud is the norm, and all IT departments have to be service providers.

What has been your favourite project so far?
Over the many years I have spent in IT I have been involved in numerous data centre infrastructure and workspace technology projects; ranging from implementing mail systems, to rolling out desktops to thousands of people.

But the ones with the most impact are those that touch the users and these typically involve workspace. One of the most rewarding workspace projects we delivered recently resulted in fundamental changes to how users could perform their work, empowering them to make choices about where, when and what they used to perform their jobs.

office business phone apps work suit © violetkaipa ShutterstockChanging the perception of IT

It also changed the perception of IT to become that of a business enabler – in short it changed how the entire business worked.

What tech were you involved with ten years ago?
Windows migrations, Exchange 2003 and playing with server virtualisation.

What tech do you expect to be using in ten years’ time?
It’s my Bill Gates moment – currently cloud is a choice, in ten years’ time it will be de-facto. Over the next few years, we’ll see a much wider sphere of companies moving data and services to the cloud;. Indeed, for many businesses it will become standard practice.

Consumers will also be much more used to storing all their data in the cloud – from email, to social media, to photos and videos. The added flexibility and cost control that cloud offers will place a greater emphasis on the need for companies to ensure that all personal devices, apps and corporate tools used to access the cloud are interoperable. As a result, CIOs will need to reassess their BYOD strategies and implement practices that view their IT ecosystems as one singular entity.

Steve-Jobs-BW-obit-squareWho’s your tech hero?
Steve Jobs – reinventing technology from the user’s perspective.

Who’s your tech villain?
Steve Jobs – promoting a closed ecosystem around his own products and not letting anyone else in.

What’s your favourite technology ever made? Which do you use most?
My iPod, it allowed me to rediscover my record collection again and I use it every day.

What is your budget outlook going forward? Flat? Growing?
For many years workspace was all about reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the desktop through centralised IT management and standardisation. However, in recent years with the growth of consumer products in the workplace and demands from the business to support their needs, workspace has become an exciting arena.

It now provides two specific challenges: balancing the demands of reducing TCO, whilst at the same time providing users with greater choice. The result of this is innovative technology and growing business.

sonos wireless hi-fi hifiApart from your own, which company do you admire most and why?
Sonos [wireless hi-fi maker] – they have taken something that was traditionally the preserve of the technically minded and made it really simple. They are completely focused on quality and the user experience.

Making IT an enabler

What’s the greatest challenge for an IT company/department today?
If IT departments are to survive they must turn themselves into a service provider and become a true enabler to the business.

CEOs are increasingly becoming involved in IT, as the true scope and potential of how it can affect efficiency and workplace success is becoming clearer with every newspaper article on “the cloud revolution”.

We’re seeing IT departments investing heavily in both adapting internal infrastructure and adopting public infrastructure to be able to respond to requests on demand, while managing the inevitable issues of compliance and regulation through hybrid approaches. To realise the promise of the cloud, there is a clear call for the industry as a whole to help reduce complexity and provide better interoperability.

Ethernet cloud rental network © Brian A Jackson ShutterstockTo Cloud or not to Cloud?
It depends, as a business you have to look at each of your applications, work out its needs and then decide if cloud is the right choice. We see Cloud as the future, but adapting to it can cause issues for some companies, especially if migrating a lot of data or moving a critical service.

We’re increasingly seeing the rise of hybrid cloud models, which combine aspects of both public and private cloud systems in order to maximise their usability and accessibility, which should appeal to any companies or organisations that are still doubtful about the need for cloud.

We recently took part in a “Future of Cloud” survey, which showed that as security fears are continuing to subside, cloud adoption unsurprisingly continued to rise in 2013, with nearly 75 per cent of respondents now using some form of cloud platform in their business – it’s a pretty compelling argument for Cloud.

What did you want to be when you were a child?
From the age of 11, when I got my Sinclair ZX81, I knew I wanted to work with computers in some form.

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