The steady drumbeat toward ‘anywhere operations’ and other business-critical transformation projects continues to drive significant investments in cloud infrastructure. Many companies are now exploring a hybrid infrastructure, choosing to have assets on-prem and across multiple clouds.
As a result, IT operations managers are turning to a mix of legacy tools to manage more complicated environments – CMDBs, ITSMs, Access Management Systems, and many other point solutions.
But with the increasing number and complexity of digital transformation projects, it’s essential that enterprises adopt modern solutions that meet the demands of a constantly changing, hybrid ecosystem of solutions.
The cloud infrastructure options may be well-known and seemingly straightforward, but there are a number of factors to consider when aligning this type of infrastructure with business needs and longer-term goals.
- Public Cloud: Resources are leased from a cloud service provider (CSP) including equipment. Using this model – also called multi-tenancy – multiple companies share servers.
- Multi-Cloud: Assets are spread across multiple CSPs for cost or availability reasons.
- Private Cloud: All equipment used is dedicated to one company. The cloud data center could be owned and managed by the enterprise itself, or an enterprise could adopt a co-location model, where it installs its own servers within a CSP’s facility.
- Hybrid Solution: Some workloads are moved to the cloud, while others are managed on-prem for many reasons including security and governance policies.
How to Plan and Execute on Cloud Transformation
When deciding which solution to implement, consider performance, cost savings, scalability, reliability/availability, agility, redundancy, security, and governance policies. Workload placement strategies are more fluid depending on business objectives (e.g., reduced latency to improve customer service).
Regardless of the cloud strategy selected, migrating from an on-premises data center to a cloud solution or changing from one cloud solution to another requires a real-time understanding of the entire estate. Unfortunately, most data centers have become a bit of a black hole of information.
Mergers, acquisitions, expansions, migrations, and employee turnover mean it’s unlikely anyone has a handle on even one data center, let alone multiple centers. Companies tend to lose track of exactly which applications are installed and running, who is using them, server ownership, workload requirements, and all the interdependencies. This data is needed to make informed decisions prior to and after the migration including what systems, applications and users are moved together to avoid business disruption.
Companies typically spend months collecting and aggregating this information, which causes migration delays, impacts costs, and increases risk exposure in the case of on-prem servers that have reached end of life and are no longer supported with security patches or updates. Information is typically collected from siloed systems, and multiple rounds of requests for users and stakeholders to confirm information, verify requirements, and fill in missing data such as application ownership. All this information must be aggregated on spreadsheets, which eats up valuable resource time and is prone to error. And once a migration is completed, companies typically stop tracking this information in one central place, making it difficult to monitor performance and usage, realize cost savings, and address potential security risks.
To manage complex cloud strategies, more and more companies are leveraging the capabilities of a digital platform conductor (DPC). A DPC connects to and orchestrates disparate tools and systems, allowing companies to unlock and analyze the data held across your entire environment. A DPC analyzes the IT environment and defines the rules for change, based on that data, using AI and intelligent automation, to implement those changes.
By integrating a DPC tool, companies gain a holistic view of their environment, understand how it is currently working, how future changes will impact that environment, and how and when those changes should be made so that users and business are not adversely impacted.