Cloud Strategy for CIOs: 3 Best Practices to Refine and Validate your Cloud Strategy

by Brian Blanchard, VP of Cloud Solutions, 10th Magnitude

In the last few years, all the major industry analysts have been making predictions about IT trends, including data center migration to the cloud. Usually, several years out, the analysts make their estimates and then adjust them downwards as the year passes and reality hits. However, this is not the case for data migration to the cloud. The analysts who monitor our industry most closely have all adjusted their projections for data migration significantly upward for 2018.

Why the increase? Cloud is how most companies are doing IT. Cloud offers all kinds of savings in terms of capital investment, maintenance costs, effort and resources. When innovation and time to market are critical factors for an organization, there is no faster way to deliver game changing business results than through cloud transformation. Therefore, there is constant cloud adoption at a continued and accelerating pace.

Harnessing the power of these capabilities starts with a sound cloud strategy. Thanks to our experience with cloud transformation, we at 10th Magnitude recognize that most enterprises have complex systems, an array of data centers and often hundreds/thousands of VMs. With that level of complexity, there’s more to think of than VMs. So, here are three things that you might not have thought of when considering your first or continued migration to the cloud.

1.      Economics

Moving data centers to the cloud is a significant investment. And although most cloud migrations offer cost savings, there are ways to optimize and maximize them. For example, it’s possible that not all of your environments need to run 24×7. So, when developing a cloud strategy or building on initial migration projects, it’s important to consider economics such as where it makes the most sense economically to move to the cloud. You need to ask yourself how your cloud investment will align with the objectives of your enterprise. What is the ROI? What about the TCO? Would it be more financially feasible to leave certain areas, environments or data centers on-premises?

A great way to find the answers to these questions is to collect data about all your on-premises installations, as well as anything you might have already moved to the cloud. Proper planning and execution starts with an understanding of the current state. Enterprise-grade data collectors from Movere, Risc Networks, or Turbonomics, for example, can gather the richer data required to assess and plan for large migrations that involve multiple hosts and disparate data centers. The next step is to analyze that data to determine where you’ll get the most value.

2.      Rationalization

A critical part of any major digital transformation project is looking at all your assets and assessing whether they should move to the cloud and, if so, when and where. There might be some assets that you can move almost right away for a quick win. Others might require more time and effort. Still others might need to be retired. Your intellectual property and strategic investments in innovation also should to be taken into account to accelerate your vision for the future of the organization.

How can you accomplish this? First, you’ll need an inventory of all your assets and align that inventory to workloads or outcomes. After you’ve aligned the data, the next step is analyzing it to help you craft a business plan that takes into account those quick wins, massive moves, the pieces to leave on-premises, and what you should shut down or phase out. You can also see if a hybrid approach to cloud is what will benefit your enterprise the most. In the end, with this inventory rationalization, it’s easier to align business objectives with priorities and identify the roadblocks, resourcing, and actual utilization needed for your cloud transformation.

3.      People and Effort

What’s the number one root cause for a failed cloud migration? Hint, it’s not the platform you chose. More often than not, the availability of critical subject matter experts (SMEs) during the migration derails the effort. Remediating on-premise assets, completing vital discovery tasks and overseeing performance/UAT tests once migrated are tasks that require SMEs that understand the application.

It would be terrific if a cloud migration or digital transformation could be done with the click or two of a button. And, with advances in technology, this might be the case in the future. For now, moving to the cloud requires some effort from key people in the company. This level of involvement can be small, or it can be part of a broader strategy to prepare all of IT for a future in the cloud. However, the time has to be assessed and planned for early in the strategic planning processes.

Therefore, it’s crucial you identify the owners of each application and infrastructure component before you start or continue with a migration and determine how it will affect them, including how much time and effort they will need to put into the initiative. You’ll need to collect information and data about all the people who have their fingers on the pulse of these applications. This will enable you to start consulting with them, using their insights as part of your strategy, getting their sign-off, and keeping them informed throughout the process.

Accounting for time allocations of mission critical team members is vital to a successful strategy.

This All Sounds Great, But How Do I Do It?

Cloud transformation is not just about virtual machines and shuttering data centers. It’s a major change that can affect a company financially, change its culture and shift responsibilities. It requires human beings to collaborate and support a central strategy with a long-term vision for harnessing the power of the cloud. It all starts with collecting a lot of data and then grows into an assessment or evaluation of where the organization wants to go next.

The good news is that you don’t have to do this on your own. 10th Magnitude offers cloud strategy IP and solutions that are designed specifically to develop a strategy that compliments your teams’ strengths and passions. This framework assesses your environment and compares it with data and references gathered from hundreds of successful implementations.

Introducing 10th Magnitude 10vū

10vū™ is a predictive cloud analytics platform that encompasses a set of industry leading acceleration tools that have helped thousands of businesses plan their digital transformation and cloud journey. Using 10vū IP, we deliver a set of solutions that can help define the strategy that best aligns with your objectives and priorities.

Using this framework, we help your team agree on priorities, cloud compatibility and phases of migration. Then, we offer the services and IP needed to move hundreds of VMs, drain multiple data centers or tackle the complexity of modernizing applications for container, continuous integration/continuous deployment (CICD), and platform as a service (PaaS) models.

The benefits? You’ll have a deep understanding of how your business objectives, priorities, roadblocks, resourcing, and actual utilization significantly affect your cloud consumption and timelines. In addition, you’ll be aware of your options beyond simple IaaS, including the long-term potential of PaaS, containers, CICD, application modernization and data modernization. No matter how you slice it, 10th Magnitude and 10vū can help you put the right foot forward in your cloud transformation journey and then guide you the rest of the way.

Learn more about 10th Magnitude’s approach to Cloud Strategy.