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UKCA Q&A: Clive Spanswick, ScienceLogic

We chat to ScienceLogic's vice president of EMEA about the firm's involvement with this year's UK Cloud Awards

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What does cloud mean to you and what benefits do you think it brings to businesses?

The Cloud may be the generic term but businesses recognize that there is no longer a single cloud. Most businesses today are adopting a multi-cloud approach that employs multiple public and private clouds and even blends them with internal legacy infrastructure for a true hybrid approach to computing.

Cloud gives businesses tremendous flexibility as they embark on new digital transformation initiatives. By offloading much of the effort needed to build and maintain in-house infrastructure to support their business applications, Cloud enables businesses to bring those new applications to market rapidly and makes it possible to ‘fail fast’ so they can quickly learn what works and what doesn’t. This adds great agility as businesses respond to changing market conditions.

Do you think the UK cloud industry has an advantage over other geographies? Are we excelling? 

Yes - the UK appears to be leading EMEA in public cloud adoption.  With the opening of the 50th AWS Availability Zone in London in 2018 and continued expansion of Microsoft Azure services, getting to cloud has never been easier to access, even in a post GDPR world.

What else do you think needs to be done to champion innovation in the UK cloud industry?

The UK cloud industry still struggles with skills and experience which continue to be key inhibitors of adoption & maturity in the market.

Businesses need to invest more in their people – this is not just about the technical skills training but in the thinking and mindsets required within the business to fully embrace the cultural change needed to take full advantage of the agility promised by the move to cloud.

Can you provide a bit more detail for those not familiar with your company?

ScienceLogic is a leader in IT Operations Management, providing modern IT operations with actionable insights to predict and resolve problems faster in a digital, ephemeral world. Its solution sees everything across cloud and distributed architectures, contextualizes data through relationship mapping, and acts on this insight through integration and automation. Trusted by thousands of organizations, ScienceLogic’s technology is proven for scale by the world’s largest service providers and optimised for the needs of large enterprises.

Why have you decided to get involved with the UK Cloud Awards 2019?

As a sponsor for the past three years, ScienceLogic is keenly interested in the development of the UK cloud business. Our UK business is growing rapidly in large part due to the impact of new cloud services in the UK.

What key trends/challenges are you seeing with your customers around cloud?

As mentioned previously, we see a large portion of our customers now pursuing multi-cloud - not a single cloud approach. This multi-cloud adoption model poses unique operational challenges for businesses and our advanced monitoring platform helps them get control of cloud-based infrastructure that is increasingly diverse and highly ephemeral. At the same time our customers are rapidly employing container-based computing in the cloud, leading to widespread Kubernetes adoption. The dynamic nature of containers and micro-services is a major management challenge that traditional monitoring tools don’t address.

Beyond the complex technologies themselves, the speed of decision-making required in IT operations is now beyond the ability of human operators to keep pace. It is this that drives the need for machine speed and gives rise to demand for much greater levels of automation in IT operations. 

How is your company helping customers address these challenges?

ScienceLogic helps customers manage these complex and dynamic technologies in production across multi-cloud environments, while also helping monitor and manage hybrid and traditional technologies. This is a major challenge for most monitoring tools as they don’t support newer technologies and cannot be easily upgraded. Traditional tools also lack the necessary automation capability that helps IT Operations teams keep up with the pace of change in IT.  

How do you think the cloud landscape has evolved in the past five years?

The cloud landscape has changed significantly over the past five years. We have seen vastly increased adoption rates as cloud becomes truly mainstream, which initially provided potential cost savings and increased flexibility for businesses to eliminate the inertia of internal compute infrastructure.   In addition, the services offered by the cloud hyperscalers have now become much richer and even more innovative, and containers and microservices-based computing have changed the nature of applications.

What do you think has driven this shift?

Innovation from the hyperscalers in their service offerings and the advent of containers and Kubernetes have combined to enable the groundswell of DevOps to reach critical mass and deliver real business benefits.  As a result, cloud technology is now an important underpinning of business-critical digital transformation initiatives.   

What other trends and patterns do you see around cloud computing and related technologies?

I see two trends this year, The first is the full emergence of the ‘hybrid multi-cloud first’ strategy. Multi-cloud will be the default for new workloads, with greater consideration towards a hybrid model particularly if the applications attract GDPR attention.

Secondly the rise of serverless. According to Ross Winser, senior research director at Gartner, "More than 20 percent of global organisations will have deployed serverless computing technologies by 2020, which is an increase from less than five percent today."

What role do you see cloud playing in business life a year or five years from now?

Five years from now, the cloud will be as mainstream as the internet is today, although not to the complete exclusion of legacy technologies or of private cloud in the data centre. Cloud technology will be viewed as a critical element of business, not just IT, as IT permeates business life in even more aspects than it does today.   

How can we prepare for such change(s)?

Education, education, education. IT practitioners and executives alike should become much more knowledgeable about the cloud services that can enable new business applications and can serve as solutions to business problems, especially in areas of customer service. 

Looking further along the line, how do you see cloud shaping the way we live and work in the future?

Further ahead we will see significant inroads being made by AI as a cloud-delivered technology that will help eliminate routine manual work through automation and which will improve the cost model behind many traditional business services. 

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