Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Robert Reeves, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Trevor Parsons, Michael Jannery

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Virtualization

Cloud Expo: Article

Next Generation Datacenters: From Legacy to the Cloud

Part 3 of 5 – The Strategy – Step 2 Alignments

This is part 3 of the continuing article "From Legacy to the Cloud: Next Generation Datacenters"

Restating the obvious - Business and IT have planned, designed and operated business systems in a silo-oriented manner with disconnected decisions and actions as to how the business needs to executes and systems are created, implemented and actually operate.

In the first two articles in this series I provided details as to the problems with legacy datacenter models & started laying out a proven method to attack the legacy problems by implementing a day in the life approach to get the truth of what is happening from the business to the datacenter and/or what decisions and actions have been taken to cause the day in the life to not execute as expected.

This article will focus on the ALIGNMENT Step of the four-step strategy for attacking legacy IT will be described.

Insight - ‘day in the life' understanding of both business and IT in terms of execution, historical decisions and actions and objective understanding of the actual situation as it exists today.

Alignment - creating a common language, taxonomy and system creation model to produce repeatable results.

Control - specific actions, tooling, process and approach to ensure the appropriate change occurs and re-occurs successfully.

Sustainment - mechanisms and processes instituted in a repeatable discipline to ensure consistent results and avoid falling back into the legacy traps.

 

Step 2 - Alignment

Recap from Step 1

In Step 1, we gathered day in the life information on an end-to-end basis.  We hit on the key linkages of a business value chain tied to an IT supply chain. By profiling, mapping, modeling and correlating in an objective data driven manner - we now have assembled the input data to our alignment-processing step.  In particular, we hit on four key actions of data collection that will not only serve in the transformation process but must become part of a sustainment process to ensure continual alignment between business and IT going forward.

The four key data principles are:

  • "Know how you make money"
  • "Know what fulfills your money making process"
  • "Know your IT supply chain components & usage"
  • "Know who & how you operate your IT supply chain"

Creating Alignment

Organizations who have been successful in migrating legacy datacenter infrastructures to next generation cloud like models have employed and adopted a critical strategy of "Systems Thinking".

Wikipedia Definition- Systems Thinking has been defined as an approach to problem solving, by viewing "problems" as parts of an overall system. In organizations, systems consist of people, structures and processes that work together to make an organization healthy or unhealthy. Systems thinking is not one thing but a set of habits or practices within a framework that is based on the belief that the component parts of a system can best understood in the context of relationships with each other and with other systems, rather than in isolation.

If we go back to the problem I covered in the first blog - most organizations (who are the ones with extreme legacy infrastructure problems) have not planned, design or created their specific applications and infrastructure systems with a strategic "System-Thinking" approach.  Systems Thinking is ‘the' key or missing component to creating a successful formula that ensures alignment between Business and IT on the journey to the next generation datacenter in the cloud. That formula is defined below.

Alignment Formula - Insight Data Points + Systems Thinking + 80/20 Rule + Capability Oriented Taxonomy.

Formula Explained

Insight Data Points - create the inputs and boundaries for decision-making. These data inputs are qualification & quantification of: Business Drivers X Business Behaviors x Key Performance Indicators by Business Function x Business Value Chain x Workload Qualities x Business Events x IT Supply Chain Qualities & Behaviors.

Systems Thinking - is the framework for the design decision-making process. Holistic end to end, top to bottom design thought process from business user to IT Rack on specific floor space with specific power distribution, cabling and cooling strategy translating to stated quality of execution required - i.e. Performance, cost, agility, availability, fungability, etc...

80/20 Rule - a critical method to get around scope creep and paralysis/analysis. With proper Insight data gathering that captures business behaviors profiled and trended correlated with IT supply chain behaviors (again think day in the life) there becomes a portfolio profile where 20% of the business functions consume close to 80% of the IT supply chain on a normalized basis.  Typically these are client functions, revenue functions, regulatory functions and business risk related functions.   Attack anything new in these functions with next generation strategy.  Quarantine any legacy that is not fitting this profile and modernize any existing systems that fit the profile.

Capabilities Oriented Taxonomy - build it, buy it, borrow it - but establish a common taxonomy that Business and IT must think and speak.  What are the business capabilities that generate revenue, the require IT supply chain capabilities to capture data, analyze or process the data, share information or content, update information or content and store the various information or content in a day in the life? This is critical to keep everyone aligned and create an environment of collaborative innovation.  (Hint - borrow from Six Sigma, LEAN, SOA, EA, ISO, etc... that takes you from user to datacenter facilities.  If you don't have a repository nearing 1000 discrete categories you probably have an incomplete taxonomy.)

Note - this is an iterative process where firms must crawl, walk, run in terms of defining and building out.  Key is to get classification, definition and behavior of speaking and thinking in this manner between Business and IT that is critical.

Tooling & Approach

This formula needs to be implemented in a structured and well-managed manner.  A transformation office should be established that incorporates Business and IT resources allocated/dedicated.

Getting started organizations need to create their library.  This library needs to incorporate the Day in the Life Modeling & Profiling, Inventory of Business Systems Deployment Attributes and Interdependencies Profiled.

Organizations need to establish a Portfolio Decision Matrix that maintains all decisions and actions agreed to business and IT when applying the Alignment Formula.

A Technology Product Catalogue needs to be created/refined in a manner that is capability oriented and gaps identified. This is the master artifact for which the IT Supply Chain will be transformed against/measured against/benchmarked against.

A roadmap needs to be created of current state to target state systems & supply chain evolution by capability.  When creating think of peeling an onion.  Each layer has a purpose.  In this case, each layer of the roadmap needs to communicate to each audience member.

Day in the Life Modeling needs to be translated into various Use Cases (Business functionality to technical enablement).  These use cases need to be mapped to patterns (business and data patterns to application and workload patterns). The patterns then need to map to capability deployment strategies (how logical patterns will manifest themselves into physical realities).  The key here is to use this modeling & translation effort as your CHANGE VEHICLE that ensures actions realize the alignment decisions made.

Next organizations must establish an engineering deployment model discipline.  Here the translated output defined in the day in the life modeling above needs to be incorporated into IT supply chain engineering deployment that is linked to automation assembly and discrete policies for enactment.

The final tooling and process component is a communication strategy that incorporates methods, frequencies and playbooks tuned to your specific organization learning culture. Here, you must figure out how to use concepts like town-halls, executive briefings, status/progress reports, decision arbitration board, and detailed playbooks (think yellow book guide for dummies) that outline the steps being taken, decisions made/to be made, achievements accomplished and why things are being done or not.

If you are still reading at this point - you are ready to transform!  The Next step that will be covered in the next article is to outline the processes and tooling is necessary to "control" and effect the change to your next generation datacenter.

More Stories By Tony Bishop

Blueprint4IT is authored by a longtime IT and Datacenter Technologist. Author of Next Generation Datacenters in Financial Services – Driving Extreme Efficiency and Effective Cost Savings. A former technology executive for both Morgan Stanley and Wachovia Securities.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
Over the past year, Datical has had amazing success with our flagship product, Datical DB. We’ve seen multiple visionary, sector-leading companies select Datical DB to drive their Application Schema changes. Now that the number has grown rapidly over the past year, we can begin to see patterns in why customers choose Datical DB. One of them turns out to be pretty emblematic of our other customers. So, let's examine the reasons why they chose to adopt Datical DB.
At 15th Cloud Expo, Shrikant Pattathil, Executive Vice President at Harbinger Systems, demos a video delivery platform that helps you do interactive videos. He discusses how Harbinger is accomplishing it in the cloud world, the problems they faced and the choices they made to get around these problems.
Want to enable self-service provisioning of application environments in minutes that mirror production? Can you automatically provide rich data with code-level detail back to the developers when issues occur in production? In his session at DevOps Summit, David Tesar, Microsoft Technical Evangelist on Microsoft Azure and DevOps, will discuss how to accomplish this and more utilizing technologies such as Microsoft Azure, Visual Studio online, and Application Insights in this demo-heavy session.
Log data provides the most granular view into what is happening across your systems, applications, and end users. Logs can show you where the issues are in real-time, and provide a historical trending view over time. Logs give you the whole picture. Logentries, a log management and analytics service built for the cloud, has announced a new integration with Slack, the team communication platform, to enable real-time system and application monitoring. Users of both services can now receive real-...
Entuity®, a provider of enterprise-class network management solutions, today announced that it solidifies its position as a market leader through global enterprise customer acquisitions and a refined channel strategy. In 2014, Entuity increased new license revenues in EMEA by over 75 percent, and LATAM by over 125 percent as customers embraced Entuity for its highly automated solution and unified architecture. Entuity’s refined channel strategy focuses on even deeper strategic alignment with ke...
CloudBees, Inc., has announced a $23.5 million financing round, led by longtime CloudBees investor Lightspeed Venture Partners. Existing investors Matrix Partners, Verizon Ventures and Blue Cloud Ventures also participated in the round. The latest funding announcement follows earlier rounds of $4 million, $10.5 million and $10.8 million, bringing the total investment in CloudBees to just under $50 million since the company’s inception in 2010. Previous venture investment rounds were led by Ma...
We are all here because we are sold on the transformative promise of The Cloud. But what good is all of this ephemeral, on-demand infrastructure if your usage doesn't actually improve the agility and speed of your business? How must Operations adapt in order to avoid stifling your Cloud initiative? In his session at DevOps Summit, Damon Edwards, co-founder and managing partner of the DTO Solutions, will highlight the successful organizational, process, and tooling patterns of high-performing c...
“The year of the cloud – we have no idea when it's really happening but we think it's happening now. For those technology providers like Zentera that are helping enterprises move to the cloud - it's been fun to watch," noted Mike Loftus, VP Product Management and Marketing at Zentera Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the ...
"ElasticBox is an enterprise company that makes it very easy for developers and IT ops to collaborate to develop, build and deploy applications on any cloud - private, public or hybrid," stated Monish Sharma, VP of Customer Success at ElasticBox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Agility is top of mind for Cloud/Service providers and Enterprises alike. Policy Driven Data Center provides a policy model for application deployment by decoupling application needs from the underlying infrastructure primitives. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, David Klebanov, a Technical Solutions Architect with Cisco Systems, discussed how it differentiates from the software-defined top-down control by offering a declarative approach to allow faster and simpler application deployment. Davi...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
Cloud Technology Partners on Wednesday announced it has been recognized by the Modern Infrastructure Impact Awards as one of the Best Amazon Web Services (AWS) Consulting Partners. Selected by the editors of TechTarget's SearchDataCenter.com, and by votes from customers and strategic channel partners, the companies acknowledged by the Modern Infrastructure Impact Awards represent the top providers of cloud consulting services for AWS including application migration, application development, inf...
“Will Jaya is a direct source for server integration and storage solutions. If you are looking for any specific configurations for a project we can help you configure based on your needs and requirements," explained Netty Goya, CEO of Will Jaya, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
“We help people build clusters, in the classical sense of the cluster. We help people put a full stack on top of every single one of those machines. We do the full bare metal install," explained Greg Bruno, Vice President of Engineering and co-founder of StackIQ, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, John Meza, Product Engineer at Esri, showed how Esri products hook into Hadoop cluster to allow you to do spatial analysis on the spatial data within your cluster, and he demonstrated rendering from a data center with ArcGIS Pro, a new product that has a brand new rendering engine.
"Blue Box has been around for 10-11 years, and last year we launched Blue Box Cloud. We like the term 'Private Cloud as a Service' because we think that embodies what we are launching as a product - it's a managed hosted private cloud," explained Giles Frith, Vice President of Customer Operations at Blue Box, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), which enables organizations to seamlessly run in a hybrid cloud model (public + private cloud), is here to stay. IDC estimates that the software-defined networking market will be valued at $3.7 billion by 2016. Security is a key component and benefit of the SDDC, and offers an opportunity to build security 'from the ground up' and weave it into the environment from day one. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Reuven Harrison, CTO and Co-Founder of Tufin,...
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your onlin...