Twice per year, a number of Gartner for Technical Professionals (GTP) analysts are involved in a fascinating research project that we call Contextual Research.
We identify a highly interesting technology to our clients, and go interviewing a number of early adopters worldwide. We anonymize, atomize, analyze, and re-aggregate information captured during the interviews in the attempt to extrapolate adoption trends, common challenges, and best practices.
In first quarter of this year, I had the privilege of leading a contextual research project on cloud orchestration. A very talented team of colleagues and I met 15 end user large organizations and cloud service providers across North America and Europe with significant experience in private and public cloud automation.
These organizations customize the self-service provisioning process offered out of the box by their cloud management platforms (CMPs) through automation workflows that cross multiple IT silos, orchestrating the deployment and configuration of infrastructure resources, VMs, guest operating systems, middleware and, in some cases, full applications.
Some of the organizations we interviewed stumbled along the way but ultimately succeded, others failed (an invaluable experience that gave us precious guidance) and are rethinking their original approach. In all cases, unsurprisingly, we found out that orchestrating a cloud environment beyond out of the box capabilities is extremely complex and is worth the effort only to a certain point for most organizations.
Here’s a quote from one of our participants highlighting how complex orchestrating a cloud can be:
In theory everything should work with everything. In practice, a backward compatibility issue on a component generates this domino effect where everything fails.
I will present our findings, including clients’ best practices, on stage at the Gartner Catalyst conference in late July in San Diego with the following presentation:
This session takes a deep look at lessons learned from enterprises and cloud service providers that participated in Gartner’s cloud orchestration contextual research project at the beginning of 2013. The session highlights the challenges participating organizations faced in their quest to orchestrate private and public cloud environments, which technical solutions they implemented, what they would have done differently, and what the real benefits and pitfalls are with respect to automation in a cloud world.