Aidan McArdle serves as the VP of Technology for Cirrus Data, a leader in block data mobility technology and services. Prior to joining Cirrus Data, Aidan worked at Hewlett Packard Enterprises (HPE) for 17 years, focusing on enterprise storage, servers and operating systems.
In his role at Cirrus Data, Aidan leads a global team to solve complex problems with great technology, develops global services programs, and leads all aspects of pre-sales, product development, and partner management for major initiatives. Aidan also serves as EMEA Partner Enablement Director, helping partners and customers deliver success with their software.
M.R.: What is the most important cloud trend today and what makes it so important?
Aidan McArdle: Top of mind for organizations continues to be cloud adoption, but there is also a strong focus on FinOps or to put it simply – cost optimization, governance, and control. The IT landscape has been awash with layoffs for more than a year now and every enterprise is tightening purse strings as operating expenses (OPEX) comes under increased scrutiny from those paying the public cloud bills.
When storage was largely on-premises, production environments were almost always overprovisioned. It was all capital expenditures that were planned well in advance, and it wasn’t uncommon to have 30-40% utilization. In the cloud, the costs are monthly, and any capacity wasted is hitting their OPEX budgets. Cost control and optimization have become the norm for enterprises, which are striving to find more cost-effective ways to deliver their desired level of performance, reliability, and security.
M.R.: How is cloud computing today impacting CIOs and their enterprises?
Aiden: How to best benefit from the cloud will be (or at least should be) at the top of each CIO’s goals for 2023. It’s very hard to find an enterprise that has not seen a fallout from the post COVID slow down.
The race to the cloud and the need to accelerate digital transformation has delivered many lessons in the last three years. In the rush to flexibly scale and deliver agile applications, many created straightforward ‘Lift and Shift’ plans. The idea being the organization would be able to take the database or application running on-premises and move it to the cloud themselves with little effort. What we’ve seen is for those organizations that managed to get pieces of their workloads into the cloud themselves, they are struggling with huge cost overruns. Other organizations are stuck in delays trying to determine the best path forward.
With a renewed focus on optimization, control, and governance, we will see a positive impact. Costs should be controlled and likely reduced while teams gain a focus on the value of FinOps.
I‘ve had a number of really interesting conversations with businesses about the cost of cloud, repatriation and the shift back to on-premise. We have helped some organizations repatriate their workloads as they realize that for their environment using on-premises or a hybrid cloud strategy is ideal. And for others we have found they can meet their goals without a lot of post migration pain by analyzing their workloads and optimizing ahead of moving them to the cloud.
The focus and thought process has sparked several interesting debates at management meetings this year and hopefully resulted in a plan to gain control over the cloud spend at many enterprises.
M.R.: What else should organizations be thinking about when considering cloud best practices?
Aiden: I don’t believe any organization is too small to look at FinOps and cost optimization. The fundamentals can help set down best practices for organizations of all sizes. For companies that are evaluating a cloud strategy in 2023 or 2024, I always recommend including the migration as part of the strategic planning. Migration is often an afterthought, and this leads to challenges. When accurate planning is not in place to connect people, process, time, and budget to deliver on the intended outcomes you will always find problems, on the contrary though, when the migration is planned properly it is generally executed faster and with minimal impact to the business.
M.R. Rangaswami is the Co-Founder of Sandhill.com