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No Network, No Cloud Ep. 3: Three Futures of Digital Infrastructure

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In this episode of the Digital Decode, Rich Hillard, Enterprise Architect at Presidio, and Larry Grant, VP, Field CTO Cloud Solutions, share their insights into the future of workload automation and the potential routes companies can take to find success through cloud-based solutions. 

As digital processes continue to grow in automation, security protocols must adapt faster than ever. One faulty pipeline can leave cloud databases susceptible to bad actors. 

Join us as we discuss:

  • distributed decentralized identities
  • ledger databases
  • online workspace security

Automation Pipeline

With the COVID pandemic behind us, we can now look back and see how the challenges we endured actually benefitted our businesses. Larry Grant and Rich Hillard share how the cloud is more important now than ever before and what role they play in it all.

Larry tells us that at Presidio, they focus on seven categories that they call The Seven R’s:

  • Retire
  • Retain
  • Repurchase
  • Relocate
  • Rehost
  • Refactoring
  • Resilience

These R’s are how they decide what applications should be moved to the cloud and what they do with them afterward. 

The first three (retire, retain, and repurchase) are pretty simple – the idea is that some applications must be retired because they don’t need them anymore. The ones they do need will be retained. And then the ones that are retained but need some updating are the ones they will repurchase.

It’s impossible to move every single application over to the cloud, which is why the R’s are so important. At Presidio, they study the SAAS offerings and find new, modern ways to implement some of their older technology.

“Not all workloads migrate to the cloud the same way. We need to consider each workload when determining how to best handle it.” — Larry Grant

Larry says they ask themselves how to move certain apps to the cloud. In some cases, they need to be relocated. It might already be on VMware, but they’ll need to put it on VMware closer to the cloud. This allows them to get the application closer to the data as they start to migrate more and more native workloads over.

There’s a good amount of operational burden when expecting teams to learn all this new cloud technology. But leaving it on VMware helps teams start learning the public cloud without getting overwhelmed or experiencing burnout.

Now, for the stuff that isn’t needed, the process of rehosting begins. Many times it’s decided that porting it over to re-host is the simplest thing to do. No architectural changes happen, no re-coding is needed. The change is in the way it’s deployed.

Refactoring, on the other hand, is doing a full rewrite of the application. Larry and Rich are leveraging new concepts with designs for them to be more event-driven, plus added serverless solutions. 

This is the ideal end state that Presidio wants to achieve with most of their homegrown applications. 

Unfortunately, it’s the longest journey and can be difficult to justify the cost and time. But proper adoption of cloud-native solutions pays off in the end: Consumers get the best price-performance when the applications are properly redesigned. 

And that makes it all resilient.

Moving to the Cloud

The question of the day is, did the pandemic accelerate cloud adoption? (You bet.) 

And is this growth sustainable? (We’d like to think so.) 

The most apparent challenge brought on by the pandemic was the need to facilitate remote working, Rich explains. Suddenly, teams could no longer meet and collaborate in person and cloud technologies were more essential than ever. 

With everyone suddenly needing to work from home, there was a massive and immediate demand for laptops and other office supplies, which created supply-chain rollout challenges. 

Beyond that, many organizations were forced to come up with alternative cloud-based solutions to accommodate the new work-from-home life. Virtual desktops and communication platforms were needed practically overnight.

Adding to that, the worldwide demand for skilled tech workers dramatically increased and organizations were looking for ways to automate workflows wherever possible.

“Early adopters of cloud figured out a long time ago that everything can be automated, for the sake of speed, consistency, and efficiency.” — Rich Hillard


Thankfully, when you realize that everything you need or want to do can be captured as code (around the world) you can gain immense value from cloud adoption.

Businesses are still facing uncertainty as many are moving to cloud adoption, but the benefits of scale, power, agility and innovation outweigh the growing pains. 

Emerging Tech and Security

How do we keep what we have on the cloud safe? What are the risks involved, security-wise? 

Companies and people using the cloud must leverage everything the Cloud Service Provider has to offer, which includes security best practices. There will be firewall management, key insert management, and identity and access management roles. 

Security has to be at the forefront of all of this. 

“Ensuring your data is protected, encrypted, and backed up safely, are just the start of some of the best practices when we’re looking at security in the cloud.” — Larry Grant. 

Integrating the security components and providing that cloud ‘guardrail’ from the start is extremely important.

Society is ready to incorporate all that the cloud has to offer into our lives. We just have to make sure we can keep up with it as it is rapidly evolving. 

As users continue to pursue the digital cloud journey, however, they will no doubt appreciate all of the many perks it has to offer.

To hear more interviews like this one, subscribe to The Digital Decode Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your preferred podcast platform.


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