How Alexa enlightened me on the future for IT

It’s been my ongoing home automation process that really got me thinking about the parallels between this and Hybrid / Multicloud computing, which I think we can all generally accept is the future for IT. I know you’re probably thinking ‘that seems like a bit of a stretch’ but bear with me.

For my home automation I’ve chosen my control plane and it’s Alexa, I wanted one overarching control plane that I could control everything else from. Now I just make sure that anything that I buy is Alexa compatible which gives me the freedom to choose from a huge selection of different devices. I have Amazon Music, Sonos, Ring security cameras, LightwaveRF switches, TP link smart plugs, Wiz smart bulbs, Samsung Smart TV’s and Wiser for my hot water and central heating. (I’ve probably shared a little too much there on a public forum, if my hot water now comes on at midnight I know I’ve been hacked).

Alexa controls it all, even routines so that I can group multiple different devices and functions together with a single Alexa routine call.

What does this mean for all of these devices that I buy? Well, every one of them has an app and I have to download it, sign up for an account with it and then once I’ve linked it to Alexa I’m very rarely going to use it again. So how should these companies design their functionality for someone like me when I really don’t care about their app?

Start with the Alexa integration first!

It’s pretty unlikely that I’m going to use any clever feature or new capability through the app as I’ve chosen my control plane, but the more of these features you can make available through Alexa then the more likely I am to choose your product.

What does it mean for these companies as they want to expand their business? It’s about diversity, you are never going to be my app of choice so don’t focus on this. I want the devices that you provide to offer great features, and if I’m impressed by these then I’m going to consider you as I think about other elements of my home automation and of course a reasonable price, although I don’t necessarily mean the cheapest.

Also bear in mind that if I’ve already signed up for an account with you, downloaded your app and connected it to Alexa then I’d rather not have to do the same again for lots of different vendors. The more companies I setup accounts with the more concerned I have to be with security for example, so an incumbent vendor already has a slight advantage here.

Back to Hybrid / Multicloud computing then, the battle is definitely on for who is going to own the high level control planes and for the foreseeable future I think that most companies will have several. There’s unlikely to be a single control plane because there really isn’t one that does everything, but we are going to want as few as possible to at least try to maintain a level of simplicity, consistency, security and automation.

This is where you can’t be too literal with my comparison to home automation where it’s an order of magnitude simpler, but I think we are still going to apply a similar thought process. In this scenario it’s how do I control the most diverse set of capabilities for a diverse group of people with the least number of control planes so that I’m abstracted from the underlying complexity?

Now the gratuitous plug…

What role does NetApp play in this?

NetApp provide a number of different control planes that span on-premises and across all major cloud providers, these provide consistent services regardless of which cloud provider you choose to work with or which applications you choose to run.

  • Optimized Shared Storage for consistent Data Storage and Protection, Tiering and Mobility, Encryption and more
  • Data Analytics to provide Data Intelligence, Security, Analytics and Compliance
  • Infrastructure Analytics for Infrastructure Monitoring, Problem Resolution, Workload Placement, Show back and Charge back
  • Optimisation to enable the Continuous Optimisation of Applications and Storage for VM’s, Container’s Desktops & Enterprise Applications

All of the capabilities above come with a full set of open API’s so that you can orchestrate and automate using whichever higher level control plane or planes are the ones that make sense for your business.

Our role is to create layers of consistency across the public clouds so you can focus on the higher level orchestration and automation, whilst knowing that these layers underneath are all being taken care of and that you can interact with them in a single consistent way regardless of the cloud or clouds that you want to operate across.

If you’d like to read more about these layers then do check out some of my other posts

Storage and Services

Data Analytics

Optimisation

Anyway, back to Amazon to start working out the next part of my home automation.

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