Organizations, world-wide, are racing to the cloud ( RightScale report ) because of perceived business benefits advocated by internal and external stakeholders.
Most organizations are realizing that a wholesale cloud migration could take years, cloud paralyze the business through inaction while some of the questions above are addressed, and the answer might not be accurate as cloud technologies and service offerings are ever-changing. In many cases the questions are aimed at a target which assumes migrating the entire organization's IT services catalog to native cloud…which simply isn't what we're seeing in practice. Consider what Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services says about hybrid cloud implementations:
"Nearly all enterprises that AWS works with today start out with a significant on-premises footprint and take a hybrid approach to cloud computing."
Coming as a follow up to 'Cloud First', a United States federal IT service delivery cloud strategy released in 2011, the Office of the Federal CIO has embarked upon a new strategy called Cloud Smart to provide a thoughtful framework to inform governing agencies on cloud adoption. However, like many things that originate from the public sector, the approach doesn't necessarily translate directly to the commercial space, but their conclusion for the strategy is spot-on regardless of organization or industry:
"By leveraging modern technologies and practices, agencies will be able to harness new capabilities and expand existing abilities to enable their mission and deliver services to the public faster."
The question a CIO ultimately does have to answer is: How do I leverage Cloud Smart to realize business benefits? The answer to that question is likely to be organizationally specific, but should encompass the People, Process, and Technology continuum to unlock innovation, spur culture change, and accelerate time to value.
There's simply an easier way to assess, migrate, and execute a move to a cloud environment: but it requires some specific understanding about how you operate today:
There are tools and methods a technology partner can deploy to quickly determine the answers to these questions and make recommendations based on need, technology, cost, and skills. Simple, agentless, tools are immediately deployed and within days produce workload specific performance, use case, process, and application level network patterns. This data is then used in various ways:
Understanding how to operationalize services on a new platform is equally important and has given rise to the hybrid cloud, which effectively virtualizes underlying on and off-premise cloud platforms into a single management plane. The goal of the hybrid cloud is to soften people and process impacts adversely affected by rapid technology changes while still allowing the flexibility to migrate virtualized applications across clouds. Additionally, the Hybrid cloud can also leverage native cloud services as part of the local service instance.
As the graphic above illustrates, we have found that almost every client profiles as a multi-cloud consumer and a majority also benefit from a hybrid cloud environment to enable workload mobility while unlocking native cloud service capabilities.
There are very few workloads across all industries which are truly unique and cannot operate in a cloud environment. However, determining the nature of the services, how they interoperate, and which provider can stack additional business benefits onto the value of that service is of utmost importance. Over time every IT shop will determine the mix of on and off-premise services which best suit their needs but the flexibility to move and adjust as needs and capabilities shift is an important component to every cloud strategy.