Cloud is changing the technology world as we know it. To someone who is not intimately involved with refactoring applications or managing data centers, moving data on or off premise might not seem like a big deal. But this is the value of cloud: An array of seemingly small things can yield major benefits quickly through the savings of time and resources, which ultimately leads to the modernization of business-critical computing environments.
To help you on your journey to hybrid cloud, we compiled tips and tactics from Tim Klubertanz, senior architect at Evolving Solutions; Tony Peters, director of the modern networking practice at Evolving Solutions; and Bruce Anthony, Distinguished Engineer and CTO for Cognitive Cloud Systems at IBM.
- Know the ‘why.’
A successful hybrid cloud implementation starts with getting everyone on the same page. Demonstrate the capabilities and explain why they will provide significant return on investment (ROI) for the organization. Show key stakeholders and end users alike how these changes can improve their workflow. When technology leaders and business executives are educated on the flexibility and process improvements that can be gained from cloud, the entire organization benefits.
“The business value for hybrid cloud is often not necessarily the deployment component, but also the development component and the mentality around hybrid cloud,” Klubertanz says. “The organization gains a more flexible and scalable application that’s better able to take advantage of the scalability concepts that hybrid cloud provides.”
- Engage line of business stakeholders early in the process with a pilot project.
Even the most elaborate IT infrastructure is ineffective if it does not meet the needs of end users. To ensure that business goals and technology infrastructure intersect, make sure everyone has a seat at the table from the start of the process.
“It’s important to have everybody on the same page with why the organization is doing this. Helping the team gain consensus will be helpful to identify the right workload,” Klubertanz explains. “You do not have to take the whole infrastructure at once and suddenly be a cloud-enabled company. We can find smaller microservices that make sense, show something that can demonstrate the capability of hybrid cloud and why it’s powerful to get everyone on board and help you find the next workload.”
- Understand the pros and cons of flexible capacity and CapEx for your organization.
A key motivator for many organizations considering hybrid cloud is flexible capacity, i.e., the ability to fluctuate compute power based on peaks and valleys in production workloads without adding physical servers to your data center with every surge. With that flexibility comes an operational expense (OpEx) model where organizations pay for what they use by the month, versus a capital expense (CapEx) model, where infrastructure expenses are appreciated over a set time period.
“You do not have to pay for the infrastructure that you might need some day. You pay for it as you use it. There is a base entry price to that and then flexibility in terms of peaks and valleys being able to ramp in times like Black Friday and ramp down at other times of the year,” explains Bruce Anthony, Distinguished Engineer and CTO for Cognitive Cloud Systems, IBM. That’s not a one-way street, however. “There are a number of other business benefits that an organization gains from hybrid cloud, and the expense capability is a very small one in a lot of cases,” Klubertanz explains.
- Consider networking in your cloud strategy.
As you build your organization’s hybrid cloud strategy, consider how it will be networked—now and in the future.
“People in IT groups and cloud groups don’t know exactly what the next request from the business is going to be or what they need from their digital transformation to help their business,” explains Peters. “The ability to be fast and agile and move at the speed of business requires a flexible multicloud networking architecture to be able to do that.”
- Secure your workloads in the public cloud.
“With public cloud, we have outsourced the management of that infrastructure, so we do not get to use that as part of our security and governance policies. We need to allow the application to help us or implement some of the security and governance functionality built into the application,” Klubertanz explains.
That’s not to say that cloud security is subpar. According to Anthony, IBM Power Virtual Server is HIPAA compliant as well as SOC1 Type 2 and is building toward compliance with SOC2 Type 2.
“Enabling encrypted communications from on-premise to public cloud to that carrier-neutral facility is key—and then from there into public clouds on demand as you need to see fit,” Peters says. “There’s also security in being able to segment and monitor communications cloud to cloud and cloud to on-prem. Those are the table stakes of what you absolutely need to do.”
- Set goal posts for ROI.
Your organization might not see overnight ROI—and that is OK—but most clients realize business value in less than a year.
“I’ve seen clients take this first step and in the course of two to three quarters have the cloud instances running in production in their business,” Anthony explains, elaborating that the larger the initial migration project, the longer it may take to see ROI. “The increments are pretty small in terms of how you can get started with hybrid cloud and the value that your organization can get out of it.”
- Dig into the resources available.
The process of migrating to hybrid cloud can seem daunting at first, but a mountain of resources is available to help you on your journey to hybrid cloud.
- Learn more about how to marry business priorities with your hybrid cloud strategy.
- Watch a brief video overview of IBM Cloud Virtual Server to learn how that offering can help your organization with a stepwise approach to the cloud.
- Dig into our whitepaper detailing IBM Cloud options that seamlessly blend with your on-premise IBM Power Systems infrastructure.
If you are ready for a personalized approach or deep dive discussion, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.