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Marks & Spencer bridges gap between old and new IT with hybrid cloud

Matthew Finnegan | March 21, 2017
The retailer's applications are currently spread across on-premise data centers and public cloud vendors Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

Larkin said: "For a long while everybody thought that if you put everything in one place, you know where it is and it is secure. But in order to do changes and to adapt that in any way, you are always thinking about the application and the infrastructure as a whole."

NSX allows IT staff to put security controls not just around individual applications, Larkin explained, but applications and data ecosystems.

"They are all there together, they can talk to each other, but they are a lot more componentised and things can be more transient than they were before," he said. "That is inherently more secure, it is more flexible as well, by breaking down that monolith of where we are keeping our data."

This means that different applications can be treated differently depending on the need. "So if it is customer data we know we are going to be giving that a lot more rigour than a dev and test workload," he said.

 

Containers

Going forward, Larkin said that Marks and Spencer is looking at containerisation as a way of modernising application delivery. However there will no rush to adopt the technology while both the tools and skills mature.

"We are heading down the containers route, but it is not like it is going to be completely overnight 'everything is containers now'. It is only new things that are going to be looking at that," he said.

"We have applications that are 10 years old and it is going to be a long time before we [replace them]. It is just a learning journey to say the technology is more mature, the skill sets are more mature and the process is well matured. We see the value, but are we going to put the crown jewels onto containers? Not yet, but maybe in a few years."

 

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