Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Ed Featherston, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Kevin Benedict

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, @DXWorldExpo

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Cloud Rationalization By @EFeatherston | @CloudExpo [#Cloud]

The real challenge is determining what should move to the cloud. How do you accomplish it?

Moving to the Cloud - Cloud Rationalization

There is no arguing the cloud is hot. In a recent blog post The Cloud - Is it your actual destination? I raise the point that the cloud itself is not the destination.  It's a vehicle, a conduit that can help you solve challenges and provide value back to the business. It is a powerful vehicle. IDC forecasts global public IT Cloud services spending to reach nearly $108B by 2017. Gartner expects that by 2016 the bulk of IT spend will be for the cloud. For all the hype, the cloud and its benefits are real.

The real challenge is determining what should move to the cloud. How do you accomplish it? What benefits provide the best value to the business? Do I go to public cloud or build a private cloud? Is hybrid the right choice? There are so many ‘As-a-Service' offerings, which do I use? Do I move everything? These are just some of the questions that you should be asking yourself. There is no simple one-size fits all answer. No technology, including cloud, negates the need for good design and planning. How does one make sense of this? You need to put a process in place that identifies, weighs and balances the business needs with the technical challenges. Let's talk about some of the things the process should involve.

Are we ready to do this?
Given the hype, many just want to charge right in and start moving things without considering the impact to the business, the organization, the people. Do you have a cloud vision? ‘I want to go the cloud' does not count as a vision. What as a business do you want to get from the cloud? Are you looking to improve the customer experience? Drive operational efficiency and cost savings from pay-as-you-use resources? Maybe you're looking to expand and innovate for greater business agility and faster time-to-market. Are you looking for better scalability, adapt to increase or decreases in resource demands? Defining why gets you much closer to the how and the what.

Once you have a vision, you need to look at your readiness. Is the business in alignment with the vision? Are there organizational changes (almost guaranteed there will be) that need to be addressed and planned for? Is the infrastructure ready for this move? What happens to existing hardware as applications are migrated? What will the new workloads look like? Are there bandwidth issues to consider? What about business continuity, does it change in the cloud? This is why the business and IT must work very closely together throughout this process. These are questions that both organizations need to agree upon, and understand the risks and tradeoffs that are involved for all these decision points.

Okay, once you have alignment on these kinds of issues, who goes first?

Rationalization Rule #1: Take the emotion out of the process
Deciding on cloud migration for existing applications can actually generate a lot of emotion. Change is always difficult. Rationalizing applications for migration to the cloud is really a specialized variation of an application rationalization process. Business owners and IT owners of applications may have very strong views about their applications and what should be done with them. The best approach is a process that identifies measurable criteria for the selection process prior to even discussing the applications. A high-level view of a process we have used very successfully with clients is pictured below.

The first steps involve identifying the criteria that will come from two directions:

  • Top down - The business perspective. Working with the business, identify the goals, objectives, driving principles, and key performance indicators (KPIs) that would determine a successful migration of an application to the cloud
  • Bottoms up - The technology perspective. Working with IT, do the same from a technology perspective. Also identify the technology characteristics that would make migration either easier or more challenging. I should note here, challenging does not necessarily signify it should not be done. The business perspective may provide a strong imperative for accepting the tradeoff of challenges involved.

These two steps are critical in order to remove emotion from the decision process. Identifying measurable business and technology criteria prior to discussing applications allows for an objective, measureable decision process. Once the criterion is identified, associate a score/priority for each item. Once completed, you can then start conducting the analysis, ranking each application candidate across the criteria from the business and technology perspectives. The results of the analysis identify cloud rationalization opportunities. Then, based on priorities, benefits, and level of efforts (again, everything is a tradeoff) you can develop a list of recommendations and a roadmap for your cloud migration.

Not everything will or should go to the cloud
As you go through the rationalization, analysis, recommendations and roadmap, it should become apparent that some applications will not go to the cloud. The reasons will be apparent based on the perspective criteria you defined for the process. This is to be expected. Don't let the hype of the technology blind you to the realities of your situations. Technology is a tool to help solve business problems. No one tool, even the cloud, is capable of solving all problems. That's why we have tool boxes. I raise this point so that you are prepared. You may have some that question when something doesn't make the list. This is another one of the reasons to ensure you remove emotion from the process with the techniques described above.

Make the business case, pilot, measure, assess, move forward
With the list and roadmap in hand, ensure you have a well-defined business case to move forward with. The rationalization should help you identify the first pilot application to start with. The process should have given you measurable criteria to be able to determine the success of the pilot. Measure against that success. Assess the results. Be prepared to challenge yourself and the process. Were the criteria valid? Should there be adjustments? Cloud Rationalization, like application rationalization, is not a once and done process. It should be ongoing, learning from migrations, from changes in business and technology. Always remember, the cloud is not the destination, it is a conduit, a vehicle to help us as technologists provide value to the business. Business value is the true destination.

This post is brought to you by The DNA of The Cloud, Intel and Verizon.

More Stories By Ed Featherston

Ed Featherston is VP, Principal Architect at Cloud Technology Partners. He brings 35 years of technology experience in designing, building, and implementing large complex solutions. He has significant expertise in systems integration, Internet/intranet, and cloud technologies. He has delivered projects in various industries, including financial services, pharmacy, government and retail.

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
Blockchain. A day doesn’t seem to go by without seeing articles and discussions about the technology. According to PwC executive Seamus Cushley, approximately $1.4B has been invested in blockchain just last year. In Gartner’s recent hype cycle for emerging technologies, blockchain is approaching the peak. It is considered by Gartner as one of the ‘Key platform-enabling technologies to track.’ While there is a lot of ‘hype vs reality’ discussions going on, there is no arguing that blockchain is b...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
The cloud era has reached the stage where it is no longer a question of whether a company should migrate, but when. Enterprises have embraced the outsourcing of where their various applications are stored and who manages them, saving significant investment along the way. Plus, the cloud has become a defining competitive edge. Companies that fail to successfully adapt risk failure. The media, of course, continues to extol the virtues of the cloud, including how easy it is to get there. Migrating...
The need for greater agility and scalability necessitated the digital transformation in the form of following equation: monolithic to microservices to serverless architecture (FaaS). To keep up with the cut-throat competition, the organisations need to update their technology stack to make software development their differentiating factor. Thus microservices architecture emerged as a potential method to provide development teams with greater flexibility and other advantages, such as the abili...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
The use of containers by developers -- and now increasingly IT operators -- has grown from infatuation to deep and abiding love. But as with any long-term affair, the honeymoon soon leads to needing to live well together ... and maybe even getting some relationship help along the way. And so it goes with container orchestration and automation solutions, which are rapidly emerging as the means to maintain the bliss between rapid container adoption and broad container use among multiple cloud host...
Blockchain is a shared, secure record of exchange that establishes trust, accountability and transparency across business networks. Supported by the Linux Foundation's open source, open-standards based Hyperledger Project, Blockchain has the potential to improve regulatory compliance, reduce cost as well as advance trade. Are you curious about how Blockchain is built for business? In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, discussed the b...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory? In her Day 2 Keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Aruna Ravichandran, VP, DevOps Solutions Marketing, CA Technologies, was jo...
"Since we launched LinuxONE we learned a lot from our customers. More than anything what they responded to were some very unique security capabilities that we have," explained Mark Figley, Director of LinuxONE Offerings at IBM, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, discussed the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, application p...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.