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Our client is a leading specialty retailer for the boating and outdoor industry offering boating, fishing, and sailing products. Their 240 stores located in 38 states, Puerto Rico and Canada are a leading resource for paddlesports enthusiasts, cruisers, sailors, and anglers.
Business & Technical Challenges
In the midst of the pandemic, our client wanted to strengthen brand recognition and connect with current and prospective customers. They wanted a modern community platform (that they owned) where customers could connect, discuss new products, and share information. The new community platform must:
- Align with the client’s marketing and social activities
- Integrate the client’s community forums on the new platform
- Generate opportunities for new revenue streams and growth
Cloud transition has matured significantly in the past 12-15 years. Now, there is a paradigm shift from legacy on-premise IT business services to a cloud-first and technology-driven agile workplace.
A multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud approach is being recognized and followed by enterprises and cloud evangelists alike as a critical pillar of the digital transformation technology ecosystem. It is practically impossible for one platform, one provider, and one type of cloud to serve all needs in today’s business world. Identifying the right solution for the right workload approach has become the de-facto approach in many enterprises.
Furthermore, operating workloads with more than one cloud provider also paves the way for a Cloud Agnostic approach. Being cloud-agnostic means you can switch workloads to a different public cloud provider when the need arises, with minimal disruption to your business. Some would say cloud agnostic is the way to go, while others might disagree.
Here are the pros and cons of a cloud-agnostic approach and strategies enterprises should consider for becoming cloud agnostic in 2021.
Cloud Agnostic: PROS
From avoiding vendor lock-in, leverage to negotiate on price, and best-of-breed capabilities to the ability to mix, match, and combine the best options, the promise of a multi-cloud environment is too good to ignore. A multi-cloud approach is increasingly recognized by enterprises and cloud evangelists alike as a key pillar of the digital transformation technology ecosystem. Here are some of the advantages of this approach:
- Redundancy, resiliency, and reliability: Having systems in place across various clouds mean various solutions to a range of challenges and problems.
- Zero vendor lock-in: Cloud agnostic companies can diversify their portfolio and become more resilient to failure or disaster and changes in the business IT landscape.
- More customization options: a cloud-agnostic and multi-cloud strategy lets you tweak and adjust your cloud roadmap the way you see fit. You will not have to miss out on a feature that is exclusive to a single cloud provider because you’re locked into a relationship with a different provider.
Cloud Agnostic: CONS
As businesses continue to diversify and intensify their digital transformation efforts, the multi-cloud reality is bound to expand further. While multi-cloud infrastructure is becoming more popular, users of multi-cloud environments encounter obstacles, including integration, data migration and data recovery, workload mapping, and security and compliance issues.
Here are some of the disadvantages of using multi-cloud environments:
- Complexity with Integration: Being cloud-agnostic sounds excellent on paper, but the realities of its implementation usually are much more difficult without the right support. If the right service and solution providers are not chosen, the enterprise may incur unexpected complexity and cost when creating a cloud strategy with portability built-in from the ground up.
- Working to the lowest common denominator: When you have a specific feature requirement, there is a small risk that the dependent feature works only on one cloud platform. Even if Microsoft Azure or AWS has a new feature or service to offer for your business, you may still be reluctant to use it unless there is a guarantee that you can replicate or implement the same in Google Cloud. For some companies this may not be a real drawback, but it is certainly something to be aware of and consider.
Thus, multi-cloud environments offer many pros, but also some significant cons. As a result, managing multiple clouds is now a top priority for CIOs and IT leaders: a recent Gartner report indicates managing multiple and hybrid clouds is now considered a mission-critical business in cloud deployments.
A cloud-agnostic, cloud-native solution serves as a one-stop shop for all needs on multi-cloud. The cloud agnostic solution providers help enterprises through the entire journey of multi-cloud right from selection, integration, implementation to visualize & manage, enabling them to scale-up their overall business and operational efficiency. Cloud agnostic providers can closely measure every cloud asset or service’s performance and offerings, irrespective of the provider or technology.
Here are some of the key strategies for enterprises seeking a cloud-agnostic approach in 2021:
- Managed Databases: a major strategy for being cloud agnostic is to use managed database services. Nowadays, most public cloud offerings include managed database installs, maintains, management, and access to a database. The major public clouds such as AWS, Google, and Microsoft Azure all offer defined possibilities and services for migrating databases between providers.
- Use Containerization: Container technologies such as Docker and Kubernetes are invaluable to the modern cloud. Essentially, a container as a software unit can package the source code together with its libraries, runtimes, and dependencies, which, in turn, allows the application to be ported from one cloud environment to another without any conflict.
- Automation: Regular tasks, such as application deployment and performance management, logging, and monitoring, to name a few, are very time-consuming and involved in a diverse multi-cloud environment. But this is also the key to becoming cloud-neutral and agnostic. Automation of these tasks can help.
- Security through a single pane of glass: Data and applications in a multi-cloud scenario are distributed across a range of platforms, technology stacks, and hardware components both physical (legacy, on-premises IT) and virtualized (DC or Cloud). As security policies are different and specific to every system and organization, uniformly applying policies is challenging. A single dashboard view can address the key concern of mismatched security policies and uncertainty in enforcement associated with the multi-cloud scenario.
- Simplified Migration techniques: Migration of on-premise workloads to a cloud platform is a complicated and time-consuming process that requires multiple skill sets and resources. In a multi-cloud environment, the migration needs to be across different cloud platforms or infrastructure (public, private, virtual private), which adds further complexity. Simplified migration techniques exist to address these issues.
- Agile/Rapid Development and Deployment: An agnostic cloud management solution can be a game-changer for companies that work using Agile approaches or who otherwise move rapidly. It helps enterprises re-use policies and services across the entire multi-cloud environment, simplifying and standardizing the deployment process and offering consistency in performance and security.
- Use of Open standards: Use of open standards, infrastructure provisioning tools, and configuration management tools are vital to being cloud-agnostic.
- Quality of the service provider: Ignoring multi-cloud is no longer an option. Adopting an enterprise-grade vendor-agnostic cloud solution provider can be a critical right step towards tapping into the benefits of multi-cloud mitigating the challenges and risks. The strategy is to opt for the right provider with a strong partnership with all leading cloud service providers for maximum benefits and services. Ideally, the service provider should be capable of managing multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud scenarios using a single dashboard. It must allow an enterprise to run all workloads on various clouds, including public clouds, hosted private clouds, and on-premises servers, while managing them through a “single pane of glass”.
Infogains’ value delivery framework enables enterprise and software businesses to identify market differentiation strategies, unlock new potential through experience-led design thinking, and accelerate cloud-first digital platform and software engineering. At Infogain, we have been helping enterprises implement cloud-agnostic strategies, optimizing ROI, introducing better security, superior performance, and above all, protection in the event of a disaster or failure scenario.
NetApp’s Insight 2020, an annual invitation-only event was held from October 26-29. At this year’s digital conference, NetApp partners heard from cloud industry experts including George Kurian, CEO of NetApp, his twin brother Thomas Kurian of Google Cloud, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, IBM’s Arvind Krishna and AWS’ Bill Vass. This year’s virtual conference featured previews of NetApp’s new services, all aimed at addressing data challenges in the cloud. There were also in-depth pieces of training and virtual networking sessions.
“We’re exploiting what we’re really good at in new ways,” said George Kurian of NetApp’s new and updated services, “bringing the performance, efficiency and availability of the mission-critical enterprise to the leading public clouds and bringing the simplicity and flexibility of the public cloud to the enterprise.”
Here are the new products and services announced at the event:
- Spot made the biggest splash. It’s described as a “storageless” as-a-service system that enables developers to focus only on applications instead of storage to handle the processing of data. “Much like optimizing compute and containers, Spot optimizes the allocation of storage resources dynamically based on how the application is actually consuming them,” Ronen Schwartz, SVP and GM of NetApp, explained. The optimized storage is NetApp Cloud Volumes storage, which is used through APIs without a need for the customer to configure the storage. Spot deploys automated DevOps and FinOps components, real-time monitoring and advanced analytics to offer data-driven solutions that optimize cloud infrastructure. Spot determines and deploys the ideal mix of computing resources needed to ensure availability and scaling capacity. By automating the optimization of resources, the CloudOps team doesn’t have to be in a constant cycle of manual changes and the Dev teams can work faster without the constraint of insufficient infrastructure.
- The new NetApp SolidFire Enterprise SDS solution, providing an automated foundation for private clouds with NetApp Element software as standalone software-defined storage that can be deployed on any hardware.
- NetApp Virtual Desktop Management Service (VDMS), which is a new service based on NetApp’s recent purchase of Cloud Jumper and is powered by a hybrid cloud virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) design. The new solution allows automation of workspace deployment, unifies application management, and integrates with NetApp Cloud solutions.
Here are the updates announced at the event:
- Improved NetApp ONTAP software capabilities that offer greater consolidation, deeper cloud integration, and continuous data availability for protection of enterprise business applications that run in the cloud or on-premises.
- Updates to NetApp Keystone Flex Subscription, providing a faster path to a cloud-enabled data center with “pay-as-you-grow” subscriptions for a cloudlike experience on-premises. The Keystone Flex Subscription also offers public cloud integration available through the NetApp partner ecosystem.
- NetApp Cloud Manager is an autonomous cloud volume platform that provides a single experience to manage NetApp hybrid, multi-cloud storage, and data services across on-premises, Azure, AWS, and GCP storage. It delivers a native cloud experience for advanced data services: data sync, data backup, data tiering, file caching, and compliance. NetApp Virtual Desktop Management Service (VDMS) is a fully managed, cloud-based service with a validated hybrid cloud virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) design.
Infogain provides a variety of services to companies in the storage space.
Los Gatos, CA, November 4, 2020: Infogain, a leading provider of technology solutions and an expert in software platform engineering, was awarded a new contract with a Fortune 200 insurance and financial services firm. Headquartered in the United States, the company provides a wide range of insurance products, property and casualty insurance, group benefits, and mutual funds. Infogain will help the firm migrate from Oracle Knowledge Management (OKM) 8.6 to Oracle Knowledge Advanced in the cloud.
The client was using Oracle Knowledge 8.6 and wanted to renew its licenses. Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) proposed migrating to Oracle Knowledge Advanced (cloud version) with more advanced functionality and lower total cost of ownership.
Nishith Mathur, Infogain’s Chief Technology and Strategy Officer, stated, “We are excited to work with the client on this complex project, where our team can make great use of our past experience migrating Oracle’s on premise KM system to the cloud-based Knowledge Advanced platform. The client has ambitious goals, and we much appreciate the opportunity to help them achieve significant business impact.”
A Gold level partner of Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), Infogain has completed over 450,000 hours of knowledge management work delivered to Fortune 500 companies. Our services enhance productivity, boost cross-selling and upselling, and increase ROI while minimizing operating costs. Our pre-built migration templates and integration checklists accelerate and ensure high quality during the implementation process.
For more information about Infogain’s Knowledge Management services, including Oracle Digital Assistant and Intelligent Advisor, click here.
Infogain is a Silicon Valley headquartered company with software platform engineering and deep domain expertise in travel, retail, insurance, and high technology industries. We accelerate the delivery of digital customer engagement systems using digital technologies such as cloud, microservices, robotic process automation, and artificial intelligence to our clients.
Infogain delivers positive business outcomes for Fortune 500 companies and digital natives, using rapid prototyping and a solid foundation of DevSecOps-based software platform engineering that ensures high-quality and on-time delivery. A ChrysCapital portfolio company, Infogain has offices in California, Washington, Texas, London, Dubai, India, and Singapore, with delivery centers in Austin, Kraków, New Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, and Mumbai.
Infogain has developed a solution built on Google Cloud Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning capabilities to process documents intelligently with minimal human involvement — “Smart Document Processing (SDP).” SDP reduces costs, efforts, and risk by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and other cognitive capabilities to automate tasks such as document categorization and data extraction. You can then verify the extracted information automatically without human intervention.
Watch how Infogain’s SDP solution build on Google Cloud helps to reduce costs and provides faster processing, increased scalability, and accuracy.
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