A company's path to the cloud often begins with an exploratory pilot project to relocate computing capacity to gain initial experience in operating solutions based on cloud technologies. However, the definition and implementation of a cloud strategy always requires a customer-specific approach, which can vary greatly depending on the starting point or target expectations; a "one-size-fits-all" does not work in our experience.
New business requirements are increasingly driving IT-departments to provide innovative IT applications and platforms for digitalization at short notice and ready for operation. To achieve this, the overall architecture must follow so-called "Guiding Principles". Cloud platforms, in particular, have steadily increased their status as a simple and scalable option in recent years and have established themselves as a viable alternative based on the "Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)" and "Platform as a Service (PaaS)" service models. Classical operating models in an in-house data center are thus continuing to lose importance.
As outlined, the reasons for a partial or complete move to the cloud are manifold and cannot be limited to aspects such as cost savings, speed, flexibility, the pressure to innovate, or peak utilization. New and digital business models, the growing need for future-proof IT security and globalization with the desire for local availability of all applications are also driving companies to the cloud.
Particularly in the sensitive IoT environment, sensor data can be centrally collected and evaluated for continuous 24/7 analysis without opening and/or endangering the company's infrastructure.
However, avoiding potential hardware investments in the "own" data center room or acquisitions and company (part) sales as well as the associated redesign of the IT infrastructure and architecture (keywords carve-in/out) also support these decisions.
Various studies by research companies show that by 2021 one third of Data Center (DC) activities will be operated by cloud providers. Large companies are already drastically reducing or eliminating their private data centers today, so in the coming years' many companies will have to manage their own DC and cloud environments - and the hybrid cloud will become the norm.
It is already possible to run these same business scenarios in the cloud - and it is a proven reality. However, a simple 1:1 transfer of the previous business model is often not possible "at the push of a button", or in perspective is simply too expensive. It is therefore important to adapt and align the existing operating model to the possibilities of the cloud. Only then will it prove to be a tool that gives the company the flexibility it hopes for from its IT environment.
With the Cloud Adoption Framework, AdEx has created a framework that accompanies our customers on their journey to and through the (hybrid) cloud: In addition to a "Strategy Process" based on the business objectives, this framework also includes a "Cloud Readiness Assessment" of the readiness or capability of existing applications.
In the area of "Governance & Management," we deal with the establishment of adequate processes, guidelines and standards for the secure transfer of the cloud migration.
Strategy workshops in the run-up to the migration, to plan and coordinate the migration goals for all parties involved, facilitate the change and help to verify IT technical and functional as well as commercial effects on the existing business model. Based on this, an appropriate architecture concept is agreed on the bases of an analysis of the technical conditions and the strategic and operational path to the cloud is planned in detail.
The journey into the cloud always depends on the individual business goals of the customer, which are therefore also the basis for the cloud strategy. The use of highly scalable cloud solutions therefore also requires a clear vision and, above all, an anchoring in the management's understanding to be truly successful in the long term.
Based on an analysis of the existing system landscape (workloads), an evaluation of the criticality of systems and the technologies used, the potential for a shift to the cloud is determined. To be successful later, it is essential to always have the target vision in mind. To ensure this, not only the technical aspects must be considered, but also the necessary transformations within the organization and its processes, as well as the principles and guidelines that are essential for operating cloud solutions must be defined. The aspects of "security" and "compliance" are of particular importance since governance structures that monitor the continuous development of the cloud platform are still needed to ensure its sustainable anchoring.
A balanced roadmap, which includes measures for achieving the target status, forms the basis for implementation. It is particularly important to maintain a balance between the "old world" (operation in the company's own data center) and the "new world" (operation in the cloud) so that operational and organizational stability can be ensured at all times.
Before the starting signal for implementation, it is often necessary to prove the commercial sense of the project using a business case. In addition to the classic price comparison of different providers, the specific optimization possibilities within the cloud, as well as the avoidance of operating costs and other aspects, must be considered.
Today, implementation is usually carried out within the framework of an agile, iterative process. Several systems are selected from the number of systems that are suitable for migration or new development along with a catalog of criteria, which are to be migrated or implemented as part of a new requirement. For each system (workload), the migration method or implementation architecture that is best in the specific case is considered in detail. Then an environment is created in the cloud that is to serve as the future operating platform - a so-called landing zone. It is common practice to create the necessary infrastructure based on reusable scripts ("Infrastructure as a Code") or templates, thus achieving maximum security based on the currently valid security and compliance rules.
The implementation is continuously accompanied by a Cloud Core Team, which manages and operatively controls the existing Cloud Services and at the same time develops and monitors the existing governance guidelines and structures. The transformation of the processes and organization is being driven forward in Change Management.
Have you already created a cloud strategy for your organization? And have you also examined all aspects to ensure that the various components of your future architecture are compatible with each other and thus form the basis for further growth?