Symbio’s Approach – Journey to Cloud in 5 easy steps
As part of my mini-series on “Journey to cloud in 5 steps” we covered some of the primary challenges IT companies face in my first blog followed by the benefits of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) in my second blog. This will be my last blog on this series and I thank you for coming back to read up on how we can actually take a Journey to cloud in just 5 simple steps. As I said earlier, hosting your infrastructure in a public/private cloud is not a one-size-fit-all approach and each business is unique. Based on my experience with many clients, I would recommend the 5 easy steps approach as we found it to be very productive in our client’s cloud journey.
1. Cloud Assessment – Cloud assessment can be done using cloud assessment questionnaires to collect the current infrastructure inventory and the list of all applications hosted in those servers. Interviewing key stakeholders from the business would help us to understand the business perspective and the potential impact of cloud hosting on those applications. There are many parameters which will define the potential candidates for a private / public cloud. Growing business needs should be considered before identifying potential candidates for cloud. A detailed assessment like this will help you to identify
a. End of life hardware
b. End of support OS
c. Licensing issues
d. Storage Utilization
e. Application Rationalization
f. Integrations and applications dependents
g. Number of users
h. Database type
j. ….. and
k. Many more.
2. Vendor Assessment – There are many cloud providers in the market place and each of them specializes in some or most areas, different pricing methodologies, maintenance support etc. There are some cloud providers who are very specific in a technology like SAP and they only host infrastructure for SAP support. The best way to identify a cloud service provider is to float a Request for Information (RFI) to potential cloud service providers. Your RFI should list down your corporate objectives, your infrastructure requirements, list of applications with the database and should ask the cloud service provider to respond to all the questions with the pricing for different scenarios. This will help you to compare cloud service providers and determine the best cloud service provider who can both meet your infrastructure requirements and your price points.
3. Cloud Reference Architecture – This is an important activity as we would be defining the cloud reference architecture, which will talk about the connectivity between your Data Centers and the service provider’s Data Centers. We will have to finalize our MPLS strategy and make sure that necessary firewalls are in place between our Data Centers and service provider’s Data Centers. It is important to have a call between, MPLS provider, Cloud Service Provider and your leadership from the infrastructure team before finalizing the cloud architecture. This will help to identify the ideal network bandwidth requirement, access points etc.
4. Governance and Change Management
a. Governance – To be successful in your Cloud Journey, it is important to have periodic governance with the key stakeholders. The key stakeholder members would be from your IT, business and the office of CIO. Your governance team will be ultimately responsible for the smooth journey to cloud with no disruption to your business operations. Hence, it is important that all the key stakeholders sign off on all the project plans, cloud service vendor finalization and the potential candidates for cloud migration.
b. Change Management – Change management is key to our success as we need to be communicating periodically to the business users over program progress. Business users need to be trained in this new technology before it is implemented. There will always be fear for staff reductions because of moving into a hybrid model. Hence, it is important to conduct town halls to talk about the corporate growth strategy, importance of moving into cloud, how this will enable the employees to perform better etc.
5. Pilot Project – The rule of the thumb is, don’t go with a big bang approach of migrating all the applications to the cloud in one shot, go slow in your journey to cloud. Identify an application which is low risk to the business as your pilot project. This will help you to streamline the templates, know-hows, provisioning of Virtual Images (VMs) etc. Document all your findings and lessons learnt from your pilot project.
Hope you enjoyed reading this three part mini-series on “Journey to cloud in 5 easy steps”.
At Symbio, we provide consultation on your Infrastructure Transformation Journey, Data Center Consolidation, Data Center Operations and Management, and Cloud Computing. The questionnaires and the process templates are readily available to go through this transformation journey. We can save you lot of your time and effort by re-using these questionnaires and the processes.