Cloud computing has been a work in progress for years, and, over the last decade, businesses of all sizes and across all industries have been using the cloud to advance their digital transformation goals.
By shifting the focus away from on-premises data centers to consumption-based cloud services, organizations can transform how they operate. For example, their employees can access data and collaborate remotely on projects from anywhere in the world at any time.
Cloud adoption accelerated when the pandemic hit. It suddenly became an immediate business imperative rather than a long-term transformation goal. As a result, organizations moved towards the cloud as a path to achieving agility and spearheading sustainable innovation.
Last year, Microsoft’s Hybrid and Multicloud Perceptions Survey revealed that more than 50 percent of enterprises increased their cloud usage because of the pandemic, while 92 percent said their journey to the cloud was accelerating faster than they’d previously anticipated.
For many organizations, the road to adoption is often littered with setbacks and costly missteps despite all the compelling benefits of the cloud. Migration, integration, and ongoing management can be complex. Concerns about security, data integration, and cost remain.
At Agisko, we advise our clients to resist the pressure to move too quickly and build on a shaky foundation. Simply laying piecemeal solutions on top of existing functions will make it difficult and risky to transform disparate operations at scale.
True cloud business transformation requires:
- Creating a flexible foundation on which to build new operational capability from the inside out
- Augmenting and up-skilling internal IT resources
- Consolidating and streamlining functions and automating processes wherever possible
- Make-ready for cloud application landscape
Your data and your key stakeholders need to be connected through a unified system where they have secure on-demand and instantaneous access to resources.
For developers and decision-makers, this means less time wasted on protracted negotiations and more immediate access to systems and tools. Meanwhile, automation and simplified deployment leave IT teams with more time to hone their skills and create new business value.
Achieving this level of operational efficiency within your cloud environment requires you to consider your people, processes, and technology.
Three Become One
Let’s take a moment to consider these three key enablers of cloud transformation and how they need to work together:
When it comes to technology, it’s unrealistic (and unwise) to completely refresh or replace your existing infrastructure. Instead, consider how you could build on what you already have in a way that allows you to extend the environment into multiple clouds while accommodating scale and interoperability.
Effective cloud transformation requires an honest and critical evaluation of all your existing processes and (effort-heavy) workflows. As part of this exercise, you need to consider how advances such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) could reduce the level of low-value, manual work your people perform while minimizing the risk of human error.
In most organizations, employees can drive an effective cloud transformation. So resist the urge to disempower them by bringing in too many external resources. Instead, promote upskilling by allocating people meaningful time on which to work on special projects using new technology.
The Multicloud Advantage
If you’re seeking the flexibility to meet the needs of an increasingly distributed workforce and fluctuating computing demands, relying on a single cloud service isn’t the answer.
A single cloud model is also unlikely to serve you well from a cost and security perspective.
It’s becoming increasingly recognized that, for most businesses, deploying both on-premises infrastructure as well as public and private cloud solutions is the way forward. According to this year’s Enterprise Cloud Index from Nutanix, a multi-cloud model is the most commonly deployed IT environment, and nearly two-thirds (64%) of organizations plan to operate a multi-cloud environment within three years.
With this multi-cloud or hybrid cloud model, IT teams can select the most appropriate venue for each application and workload.
However, hybrid cloud success depends on interoperability – you need a centralized platform for managing and deploying resources securely across your distributed operation. A thoughtfully and purposefully designed platform helps ensure interoperability from the start, allowing you to manage multiple clouds as one.
Now that we’ve explored the foundational building blocks of a successful cloud transformation, let’s break the deployment effort down into four key steps:
Your Cloud Journey
Phase 1: Infrastructure Modernization and Consolidation
As we mentioned earlier, one of the most common stumbling blocks encountered on the journey to the cloud is eliminating the traditional silos that exist between the organization’s storage, compute, and network services. So, the first step is to modernize these resources – by which we mean unifying and consolidating them using software-defined technologies.
Here, it makes sense to invest in a hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solution to maximize operational efficiency and costs. HCI uses affordable, commodity hardware and locally attached storage resources that can be efficiently pooled, keeping costs under control.
The flexible building blocks of HCI mean you don’t need to buy, maintain, and separately manage different servers, hypervisors, networking equipment, and storage arrays. Together, all components are driven by an intelligent software layer that can run any application in any location.
HCI is a simple, portable, and fully cloud-ready option that comes without any kind of vendor lock-in while allowing you to improve resource availability, minimize downtime, improve application continuity, and recover faster.
Phase 2: Automate Operations and Delivery
A private cloud (a cloud instance used exclusively by a single enterprise) allows you to enjoy the many benefits of a public cloud solution (such as scalability and ease of use) while also benefiting from the added security, control, and performance on-premises infrastructure.
An intelligent, versatile, and automated private cloud solution is designed with speed and accessibility in mind – users can quickly obtain server, storage, and networking IT resources using self-service functionality instead of having to wait days or weeks for new infrastructure and software.
Automation has the added advantage of freeing up your IT team from time-consuming manual tasks (such as routine maintenance). A natively integrated AI and adaptive ML platform will allow them to focus on more strategic problem solving, collaboration, and management endeavors.
Phase 3: Integrate Public Cloud
Once you have a flexible, web-scale architecture in place governing the systems in your data center and delivering IT as a service through a private cloud, it’s time to start enabling public cloud integration.
Here, rather than adopting the traditional approach of separately interfacing with different public cloud resources, look for a native extension into the public cloud that allows you to easily move applications and workloads and burst capacity across clouds without re-architecting.
Phase 4: Unify Your Hybrid Multicloud Operations
The final – but crucial – step of your cloud journey is getting the different elements of your environment to “talk to one another” and interoperate coherently.
Some organizations assign dedicated teams with specialized skills to take care of unifying their multi-cloud operations. However, too often, this only creates more expense and complexity.
A preferable option is to invest in a purposefully designed, software-defined architecture that provides a single platform and unifies hybrid multi-cloud management using a native integration between private and public clouds.
Such a solution will allow you to:
- Seamlessly move your workloads, apps, data, and licenses across any location
- Easily deploy services from any environment for any application using a single management console
- Instantly scale up or scale down
- Ensure workload mobility between clouds with no re-platforming
- Support large scale VDI deployments and I/O intensive apps utilizing cloud
- Save costs by hibernating unused resources
A successful journey to the cloud involves far more than just technology; it allows you to achieve business outcomes that will help you stand out in your marketplace:
- Innovation: Turn ideas into action – fast.
- Cost savings and performance: Match your applications and workloads to the best resources.
- User and customer experience: Deliver exceptional, personalized experiences to your customers while giving your internal users seamless, on-demand access to resources when they need them.
If you’d like to learn more about how Agisko has assisted different organizations in their cloud journey, feel free to reach out and access a vast portfolio of experiences.