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Cloud Transformation in the Enterprise

By John Cupit, Director, Cloud & Data Center Services, Global Solution Expert Team, Huawei Technologies USA Inc.


John Cupit, Director, Cloud & Data Center Services, Global Solution Expert Team, Huawei Technologies USA Inc.

Not all roads lead to Nirvana.... I believe that most Enterprise CXOs today recognize the power of cloud technologies to transform the Enterprise and to create certain strategic imperatives moving forward. From my perspective, cloud services (if deployed properly) can shift IT from a “Support Platform” paradigm to a “Value Generating Platform” environment. The Value Generating  Platform leverages IT resources to  provide elastic services to unlock   constrained opportunities and create   new business models that surpass the well-known limitations of the Non- Cloud Model. It is this transformation, focusing on the creation of service catalogs, the rise of APIs in support of  new services and the creation of elastic infrastructure that begins to generate value and competitive differentiation for the Enterprise.   “The key to successful cloud adoption and migration is more about the chosen process guiding the journey as opposed to the cloud technologies that are selected for deployment”

But with the vendor FUD in the market about cloud computing   models, how does one truly know    the path to take? Too much focus is  often taken by the project team on the  technology wars and not on reaching   a complete understanding of the  existing infrastructure, application  dependencies and key business requirements.   

Furthermore, one of the most  misunderstood consequences of   moving to a cloud model is the fact   that the Enterprise will be abandoning   many of its organizational and operational practices that have  defined its mission in the context of   the traditional IT environment. As we   transform the infrastructure, how do  we transform the organization in order  to maximize the deployment of cloud    models?  

Through hundreds of migrations,  my personal experience as a Cloud   and Data Center Transformation   expert indicates that certain answers to  significant questions must be reached   before the Enterprise commences    the journey toward cloud services,  whether provided internally or over   the top:                               

1. How do I link the strategic initiatives  of the Enterprise to the IT objectives of    transformation? 2. What is the best way for my  organization to consume cloud   services?  3. Which cloud services should I source   externally versus build internally?   4. How will I migrate my applications    and data to the selected cloud  services?    5. How can I integrate the cloud  environment into my current   operational platform? 6. How will I manage my service   levels?       The lessons learned (painfully, I  will admit) is that the Enterprise must  utilize a methodology which drives   the collection of certain information  required to determine the most viable alternative for cloud transformation. I  have found the following methodology  to be very useful in this process.   Discovery Requirements Definition To identify all of the technical and  The key to successful cloud   adoption and migration   is more about the chosen   process guiding the journey   as opposed to the cloud    technologies that are    selected for deployment   business requirements for the cloud solution    • Discovery  Assessment of Current   State  How are services provided today? • Infrastructure Discovery What   technologies are currently utilized   within the environment? What is the   current BC/DR solution and what impact   will a cloud model have on that solution?  How much existing infrastructure does    the Enterprise wish to reuse? • Application Discovery Application   footprints, application dependencies and machine-to-machine application   flows (Web Tier-App Tier-DB Tier). This is also the  correct time to conduct an Application    Rationalization process to identify   applications that could be retired or  upgraded. • Analyze Solution Alternatives At   this point, enough information exists to have meaningful discussions  around cloud technologies and   models (Let the technology religion   wars begin!). Once the discovery and   characterization of the application mix   is completed the applications can then   be individually analyzed to ascertain   if they are candidates for retirement,  igration to cloud services and/or   Data Center optimization.  • For those applications which are   candidates for cloud services, it is   necessary to further analyze them by   Cloud model. This step requires a   detailed analysis of multiple factors    for the applications including the   following: • Platform requirements     • Storage requirements   • Bandwidth requirements     • Migration considerations    • Licensing   • Sunsetting of applications    • Costs to migrate legacy applications   to a virtualized environment • Solution Recommendation &  Roadmap Development Justification  and rationalization for the cloud  model selected for transformation.   This phase also creates the following   migration deliverables:    • Application Migration Method of   Procedures (MOP) The definition of the move groups and migration  waves based on the application  dependencies identified in the  discovery process.   • Data Migration MOP A MOP  focusing on the migration of data to the  recommended cloud model. • Migration Timeline  The creation of   a Migration Timeline supporting the  transformation to the new environment   The other huge error often made in  cloud migration projects is the failure to   define a Common Cloud Management   Platform before the final cloud models   are selected. The CCMP exposes   a set of business and operational   management focused services as  well as provisioning, orchestration,  federation and management services. This is where service catalogs can be developed to facilitate the use of APIs    to rapidly turn up new services in the   future.   Besides business and operational    management focused services, the   CCMP also includes User Interfaces serving the three main roles defined    within the CCMP  • A Service Consumer Portal to be  used by Cloud Service Consumers for   self-service delivery, provisioning &  management (the actual cloud service   instances are used via a cloud service  specific UI) • A Service Provider Portal serving   Cloud Service Provider internal users  & administrators for daily operations ;  and  • A Service Development Portal used   by Cloud Service Creators. CCMP functionality is accessible   via APIs exposed by the CCMP-  internal components. As the name  already implies, the CCMP is   structured as a platform. Based on the  platform nature, the CCMP exposes   a set of services which can (and  sometimes must) be used within the  context of a specific cloud service.   The management services exposed    by the CCMP to cloud service creators   are not to be confused with the cloud    services developed by cloud service    creators.  At this point, enough information   is in hand to facilitate the evaluation  of integration approaches as well as  a determination of how service levels  can be appropriately managed in   connection with the recommended   solution alternative.  In conclusion, cloud transformation   requires careful planning and a   roadmap which defines how cloud will  create a Value Generating Platform.  Transformation not only represents  a considerable investment from a    technology perspective, but it also  drives the development of new  processes and roles. As such, cloud  migration is an evolution it is not a  revolution. Infrastructure   and Application   discovery is the   key to identifying applications  which can be   transitioned to   cloud services,   particularly since    certain applications can function better in certain cloud   models. The integration of orchestra tion, management, provisioning and  federation into existing Enterprise IT   infrastructure becomes the key process   in terms of successfully operationalizing  cloud services. The process also helps to   define how the organization will change   in order to optimize the transformation.  I also feel that it is important   to mention the impact that SDN   and NFV may have in the future.  As with many new technologies,   there is not enough deployment  history in hand to provide firm   guidance. With the maturation   of SDN and NFV, and the desire    to utilize container technologies   as well as cloud brokerage    mechanisms, the analysis will    only become more difficult in the   future. All of these added layers  of abstraction and microcode   in effect trade less code complexity for more operational   complexity and I don’t think that the market has caught up yet   to truly understand the level of   operational complexity that they  will create.

Unfortunately, in the arena   of cloud transformation, there   is no one all-powerful solution or approach. There is no silver  bullet. Based on my personal   experience, the key to successful   cloud adoption and migration is  more about the chosen process   guiding the journey as opposed  to the cloud technologies that  are selected for deployment.