Sometimes it seems like people in IT are just kids opening presents on Christmas Day who will only be satisfied if they can play with their gift as soon as it comes out of the box.
Two of this year’s biggest toys are Big Data and Mobility, and everyone wants to have a go with them right away. One solution that has been raised in getting started with Big Data and Mobility sooner is, “Can we leverage the cloud to invite Big Data and Mobility into the organization?”
The short answer: yes. Sysco CTO & EVP Wayne Shurts says it’s not a stretch. “The purpose of the cloud is to provide enhanced capabilities and elasticity that you can’t do easily in house,” he said. “Big Data and mobility are simply two use cases that fit that mold.
But this is easier said than done. Taking advantages of cloud capabilities like elasticity will require some tweaking, some technical and non-technical pre-requisites and some soul searching into your purposes for Big Data and Mobility. And overall, it’s a new skill, Shurts says. Don’t take for granted that everything will work right out of the box.
“Cloud providers will absolutely tell you about the wonderful possibilities, which are true in a vacuum, however they don’t know your infrastructure, they don’t know your network design, and they don’t know about your data transport capabilities, and those things in particular are some of the challenges that we ran into early on,” Shurts said.
Shurts says some of the key questions you need to ask upfront involve your network capacity and your transactional performance, and all of it will depend on whether you are transporting raw data or using transformed data, whether the cloud is the final destination for the data you’ve planned to move and what cloud platform you’re attempting to do all this on. But of course, you have to ensure that your business is mature enough in order to be able to run at full speed.
“A key that we found is to really define what you are trying to do business wise, don’t so much listen to the sales brochure that you get from the Cloud provider but think through exactly what you are trying to do Mobility and Big Data wise and see if what they are providing is a fit for you,” Shurts said.
In a way, this is a cautionary tale. Make sure you’ve read the instructions and asked all the necessary questions before someone loses an eye. But Shurts says this is an exciting toy worth playing with, and as long as you’re not just learning as you go, you’re working with a partner and you’re not over thinking it, the cloud and its possibilities can be the best Christmas gift of all. “Make a good bet, take a good risk, dip your toe in and start the work around getting something up on the cloud,” Shurts said. “The learning will be there and you will grow.”