Bold steps on the journey to the cloud

CBTS offers a fresh perspective on public cloud strategy

January 25, 2018
Brandon Bowman

Brandon Bowman is the Senior Director of Cloud Services for CBTS, where he leads a team that is helping customers develop and execute strategies that leverage the public cloud to drive specific business outcomes. Brandon has more than 20 years of experience working with large, global organizations in areas that include cyber security, server operations, and commercial software development.

Immediately prior to joining CBTS, Brandon held various leadership positions at General Electric for eight years. His responsibilities included platform hosting, access and identity management, cybersecurity, and server operations. Today, Brandon regularly meets with customers to better understand their cloud needs, and help them move from a traditional environment into a public cloud environment like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

At a high level, why are enterprise organizations embracing the public cloud?

First, organizations want to focus internal resources on their core business. Managing data centers is not a strategic priority for most companies. They want somebody else to manage that piece for them – hopefully at a lower cost, and with less commitment and burden to them as an organization.

Second, organizations want to minimize or eliminate large capital expenditures and long-term commitments to hardware. It is risky to spend $5 million on hardware based on what you think you’ll need in the future. That’s the old way of doing IT. Companies want a model where they only pay for what they consume.

Finally, businesses are focused on outcomes. They want their internal IT resources to focus on innovation. They want visibility into the relationship between the cost of applications and outcomes such as customer attraction, revenue, and cost savings. Private clouds give them the necessary flexibility, agility and speed to accomplish these goals.

Do you see common themes as you talk to customers about the cloud?

Customers will always have infrastructure that’s on-premises or in a private cloud. Let’s say you’re a jet engine manufacturer, and you’ve got servers on the shop floor that support applications like running a drill press. That scenario is not a good candidate for the public cloud.

What customers want are strategies that leverage the public cloud when it makes sense. Maybe you’re a financial institution and are analyzing Big Data for annuity projections. That project is a good candidate for the cloud, because you don’t need the same physical proximity and on-prem infrastructure that a manufacturer needs to build the jet engine.

Customers understand that their legacy infrastructure can be like owning a van if you only have one person to drive around – you are paying for more resources than you need. In a public cloud environment, you only pay for what you use.

How is CBTS helping customers develop a public cloud strategy?

We help customers assess what they have, develop a strategy for where they want to go, and define a roadmap for getting there.

Nobody snaps their fingers and says, ‘I’m closing all of my data centers tomorrow and moving everything to AWS.’ Customers will always have infrastructure that’s on-prem.

CBTS is agnostic in the sense that we can help customers run applications on-prem, in a data center, or in a public cloud, or we can help them do all of those things. And we can help customers move applications that had been on-prem into the cloud. That’s a huge networking challenge, and networking is of course a core competency at CBTS.

Why don’t large organizations handle this work themselves? Why are they partnering with CBTS?

Doing it yourself is like going into Home Depot and saying, ‘I want to build a house.’ Home Depot has everything you need to build a house, but no one person can do it themselves.

CBTS is like a general contractor for these public cloud environments. We have the ability to manage on-prem; we have the ability to manage in the cloud; we have the ability to manage the network in between; and we have other resources that can help with the applications that sit on top of everything.

The ongoing challenges are complex. It’s a decision tree. We help clients assess their environment, and then make recommendations based on everything from financial goals to desired outcomes and strategic initiatives.

Can you share an example of how CBTS is helping a customer navigate this space?

We have customer with 1,600 servers in two data centers. The CIO wanted to shut the data centers down and retained CBTS for the project. We are shutting down all of the customer’s hardware and infrastructure, and getting them out of the responsibility of having to run data centers. We will put everything they need to keep into AWS. And we’re doing it in a specific period of time.

Here are the outcomes: The customer closed its data centers; reduced the risk associated with owning data centers; rationalized its applications and reduced that number from 500 to 200; and is moving into a monthly consumption model with AWS.

That’s the spirit of what we want this practice to accomplish: Get the customer from traditional environments into more modern public cloud environments, and then be the customer’s infrastructure support team and help it reach its strategic goals.

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