to the optimal cloud
There are many different reasons for a company to choose the cloud. But how to chart your course through the countless choices and pitfalls? The Cloud Acceleration Team at Schuberg Philis offers help in selecting, organizing and managing the optimal cloud landscape. Technology Officer Tommy Maintz, Mission Critical Engineer Remi Bergsma and Program Director Stefan Holdermans talk about our unique approach and services.
Companies have many reasons for moving into the cloud. “Initially the need to implement changes faster was the main motivator,” says Tommy Maintz. “The cloud lets you further automate the application landscape, which had benefits for the operational side of IT. Nowadays what’s most important is that the cloud lets companies access their data more easily. Which in turn lets them discover new insights and create new forms of value.”
IT systems used to be all about stability, robustness and auditability. But today, according to Stefan Holdermans, the speed, adaptability, agility, and availability of data are just as mission-critical. “Financial benefits also come into play, like a shift from capital investments towards operational costs, and pay-per-use. This has broadened the scope of our mission-critical services. A bank, for example, has to be able to offer digital mortgages very quickly. If you can’t, that’s a competitive handicap.”
A few years ago, most of our customers weren’t ready yet to embrace the public cloud, especially for mission-critical data. But now everyone prefers the cloud, without exception. In many cases companies will choose to use the public cloud, unless there are significant reasons to host a cloud on-premises. In other cases a combination of public and private clouds offers the best balance.
“The choice is dictated by the customer’s wishes, needs, and requirements,” says Remi Bergsma. “The great thing is that we can implement any setup: the public cloud combined with our stable basic services, optimally adjusted for hosting legacy applications. Thanks to this broad spectrum, in addition to using their current environment, customers can experiment in the cloud—for example, with new marketing initiatives or other activities. Our role is to make sure that everything is always connected. This gives customers time to consider what services they really want to keep on-premises, for example because it delivers a competitive advantage or simply because there’s no alternative.”
The choices Schuberg Philis makes depend greatly on the type of workload or project, with the public cloud often offering important benefits. Tommy Maintz: “Examples are: scalable ways of implementing a specific functionality, serverless computing, or the processing of large amounts of data. More and more companies are realizing that for such workloads, the public cloud is the only option. Possibly in a hybrid setup with the existing non-cloud-based IT landscape.”
“For technical reasons, many applications aren’t suitable for the public cloud,” adds Stefan Holdermans. “Or the migration might simply not offer any benefits. Fortunately, we can run such functionality perfectly from our own servers, which still gives customers the scalability and economic benefits of a private cloud.” Remi Bergsma lists governmental organizations and asset managers as examples.
What matters is having DevOps teams work on the applications: releasing, experimenting, making data available.
The three experts see the move towards the public cloud as a natural evolution that also offered new perspectives on the Schuberg Philis DNA of guaranteed uptime and stability. “It requires a new way of thinking,” says Stefan. “Being relevant for customers continues to be our primary goal. How can we help companies with their most important problems? Such challenges used to be limited to a small range of relatively stable applications. With big padlocked fences erected around them to safeguard stability.”
But today’s IT landscapes have become much more dynamic and larger in scale. “At Enexis, we support 200 applications, and for a new customer there are even more than a thousand—many of which are not under our own control. What matters is having DevOps teams work on the applications: releasing, experimenting, making data available. Our role is to help lay the foundations.” Remi says, “IT is all about change, and change is fundamentally what we do.”
To support our customers in these endeavors, we have set up the Cloud Acceleration Team. It helps them transition to an ecosystem with major cloud providers like Amazon, Microsoft and Google. “By investing in partnerships, we can channel and centralize our customers’ relations with these parties,” Stefan explains. “To do this, we establish ongoing contacts between the engineers involved, so that they can share best practices. And then we work to materialize those learnings as reusable building blocks.”
Schuberg Philis has a long track record of working with the public cloud for companies like PostNL, Enexis, Jumbo, HEINEKEN, and financial players like Franx. “Thanks to our extensive experience, we know what works and what doesn’t. We can recognize patterns and reflect on them internally as well as with customers. At the moment, the Cloud Acceleration Team focuses on bringing together as many generic customer needs as possible, and then reusing them. As we capture more and more of them in code, we can start to automate things and help our customers accelerate.”
Only some of the existing workloads run in the public cloud, which means there is still great potential for large-scale application migrations. Schuberg Philis can prove its worth by offering customers intelligent support in this process, and also by making informed choices on what should stay on-premises.
“Our customer’s needs are shifting towards the functional domain,” says Tommy Maintz. “Our focus used to be on solid hosting, but our customers now have to respond to continuously changing demands from the business and from consumers. That’s why we’ll have to develop new disciplines like data science, data engineering, business analytics, consultancy, as well as developing APIs and other assets.”
With all these connected propositions, Schuberg Philis has become a true full-stack company—from the Diesel generators in our own data center to the boardroom. Remi Bergsma: “What makes it especially rewarding is that it all helps to support our customers as they go through their own transitions.”
Mission Critical Engineer