3 Steps to Building Your Enterprise Cloud Practice

Cloud Computing5 minutes readSep 9th, 2014

In a recent Unisys Applied Innovation webinar Maximize IT Value with Cloud Computing, Dave Bartoletti of Forrester and I discussed the essential steps needed to embrace a cloud strategy and move along the journey towards enabling IT as a Service. In this blog, I will cover the key points from our discussion.

IT has sometimes viewed cloud as an “engine of disruption” and worked to contain it.  Cloud is a disruptive force, but in a positive manner, enabling you to drive innovation, speed and agility. Being on the leading edge of this transition will empower you to disrupt your competition. As business processes become digital, virtual and personal you don’t need to be an Internet-era business to embrace cloud and develop a fully integrated hybrid IT strategy.

Forrester projects 38% annual growth in public cloud spend (IaaS, PaaS) through 2020 with $7B to be spent this year, growing to $30B by 2018 and $40B by 2020.  The market is clearly substantial today and rapidly gaining momentum. Forrester data indicates 13% of enterprises are using public IaaS/PaaS today, and 21% have their private cloud hosted by a 3rd party.

At the same time Forrester research continues to indicate that an enterprise’s preferred starting point with cloud computing is with an internal private cloud, with 33% reporting they have deployed a cloud and 10% more planning to do so by the end of 2014. This data clearly supports the proposition that we are already in the hybrid cloud era, and highlights the need to develop an IT strategy to bridge your on-premise physical, virtual and private cloud resources with ITO, hosted private cloud and public cloud resources.

So, to get started, how do you build your organization’s competency to implement a cloud strategy?  Dave Bartoletti proposed a three phase model:

  • Cloud Experimentation – During which the focus is on building the cloud, identifying priority users and use cases, establishing metrics, and agreeing upon success criteria
  • Cloud Leverage – When the focus shifts to operation, establishing a standard service catalog, developing automation, and empowering users with a self-service portal
  • Cloud Optimization – Which moves towards enabling IT as a service, with a focus on performance management, introducing more complex hybrid workloads and leveraging brokering technologies to enable advanced cost and vendor management

If you are like most enterprises today, you are in phase 1 and moving toward phase 2.

The Unisys approach to helping our clients on this transformation journey begins with the Unisys Intelligent Application Alignment service, or IAA (“I double A”) as we tend to refer to it.  In this phase, we are focused on building a plan, assessing the current workloads in the environment by examining their technical characteristics (CPU utilization, latency, bandwidth, etc.) but also their business requirements (as defined in service level agreements) and regulatory/compliance needs.  IAA is focused on both speed and accuracy, leveraging advanced tooling and models to generate best fit recommendations for each workload with traceability and repeatability.

The next step in the journey moves us into the design and build phase where we employ the Unisys CloudBuild service. We frequently find that clients have invested much time and effort in determining which cloud management platform they wish to run (the tip of the iceberg), but there are many other variables that need to be transformed in parallel (the other 80%+ below the surface).  With the CloudBuild service we run through the decisions needed for eight specific tracks covering:

  • Cloud management tools and processes
  • Financial policies, models & approaches
  • Physical & virtual architecture design
  • Security
  • Storage
  • Network engineering
  • Support services

Moving along the curve, once you have successfully completed the plan, design and build phases, the goal is to move towards the delivery of IT as a service.  As you will see from the graphic below, this requires the integration of cloud and non-cloud, on premise and remote, physical and virtual resources within a seamless management framework providing a common portal, integrated service catalog, analytics,  reporting, service management, orchestration and security.  Unisys provides a suite of solutions to reach the IT as a Service goal including Vantage Point, Edge, Choreographer and Stealth.

Some clients seek to rapidly gain access to a multi-cloud environment through a brokered model delivered as a service. Unisys provides this capability through our Enterprise Broker Service, an as-a-Service model which enables clients to quickly create a standard service catalog front end provisioning workloads seamlessly to multiple public and private cloud environments while integrating support, reporting and billing.

To wrap up, some final guidance for your cloud transformation journey:

  • Be application centric – Begin with a comprehensive application assessment
  • Transform your operations – Drive true business/IT alignment with your new
    cloud capabilities
  • Reach for IT as a Service – Empower your organization with speed, flexibility
    and choice in a secure and compliant environment

I would love to get your thoughts and feedback on this. You can reach me at colin.lacey@unisys.com or @colin_lacey on Twitter (https://twitter.com/colin_lacey).

Tags-   Cloud Cloud computing Cloud Strategy Private cloud Public cloud