maximising value through a Cloud Centre of Excellence
By providing a single focal point for both the business and IT, a Cloud Centre of Excellence (COE)—a small team of cross-functional experts—can significantly accelerate cloud adoption and the value realised from it. The COE brings central governance and direction to cloud architecture and design choices, helping manage the complexities of distributed and multi-cloud solutions and preventing the confusion that can ensue if each part of the business decides to go its own way.
What’s more, with centralised expertise in hyperscaler solutions, the COE is better able to keep track of the constant stream of new services released to the market. That means the COE can drive the enterprise innovation agenda forward, helping the organisation increase its cloud maturity.
The COE also has a critical internal “marketing” function, working with application owners to explain how to leverage new hyperscaler capabilities for their benefit (whether that’s cost savings, faster development or new customer-centred capabilities).
RISE AND SHINE:
Harnessing the power of hyperscalers
The hyperscalers are on their own journeys of innovation, investing heavily in areas like streamlining migration, adapting services for private clouds and pushing out to the edge. In addition, they are investing in a variety of industry-specific cloud solutions to augment those provided by service providers and third-parties (e.g. HIPAA, PCI). For example, GE Healthcare is running its Health Cloud on Amazon AWS. Johnson Controls is employing Microsoft Azure’s IoT solution accelerators with its GLAS smart thermostat to give building owners remote access through web and mobile apps so that they can monitor and control features of the heating and cooling system. Also, Stanford Centre for Genomics and Personalised Medicine is leveraging Google Genomics to analyse hundreds of entire genomes in days and return query results in seconds while providing reliable security for DNA data.
The hyperscalers’ innovation also extends to sustainability. Here, they are incorporating innovative techniques to bring down energy consumption at data centres. The shift to hyperscale centres—massive cloud-based data centres run by large cloud providers in infrastructure-efficient spaces—has made sharing hardware resources and computing more energy-efficient. Increasing the use of renewable energy, such as deploying cooling servers with outside air and reusing residual heat, is also helping reduce emissions.
An enterprise needs to be ready and willing to leverage all this innovation. That’s where a Cloud Centre of Excellence (see inset) can be critical, ensuring the organisation keeps on top of the huge range of hyperscaler services and solutions released each year, understanding which will help the business (and which won’t) and working with application owners to facilitate adoption. For example, Microsoft Azure has recently launched a number of edge and IOT services, acquiring Telco related capabilities. Where a year ago little to no capability existed, it is now able to address some fairly complex edge-computing use cases.
For most organisations, the optimal way forward will be to select a primary hyperscaler for the majority of mission-critical workloads, and then work with one or more secondary providers dictated by the specific needs of the business (regulatory, industry, concentration risk, specialised workloads, commercial, etc.). This enables the organisation to build core skills and experience on one platform before introducing a second. While it might seem tempting to work equally with several hyperscalers, arbitraging between them can be challenging. Arbitrage can not be the principal driver since whatever savings may be gained is offset by increased complexity and substantially greater skills requirements for multiple platforms. However, specialised functionality may justify the added investment.