February 08, 2017
Prepping your infrastructure for cloud
By: Dr. Mustafa Kamil Kidwai

It’s hard to find an organization these days not using cloud technologies in some way. One reporthas 91 percent of companies using public cloud by 2019, up from 53 percent in 2016. Key takeaway: Cloud technologies will be required to compete in the new economy.

Common stumbles
But many companies are stumbling a bit as they move to cloud. Why?

The first challenge likely to be encountered is “basic plumbing.” Accenture estimates that over 85 percent of application migrations start by prepping a company’s infrastructure.

That makes sense. But too many organizations are suffering because they are:

  • Oversimplifying the complexity of migration

  • Buying traditionally

  • Taking on only piecemeal cloud projects

And these actions lead to:

  • Unrealized business outcomes

  • Stalled or delayed cloud migrations

  • Poor purchase contracts

A properly designed infrastructure is essential in any move to cloud. But some aspects of legacy infrastructure can get in the way. Security is one big issue. A company’s policies, or national laws about privacy of data, may prevent an easy cloud migration. Other companies fear that their links to back-end systems will be broken. Some companies want to leave some applications on premise, and that in turn leads to integration issues. Still other companies are virtualizing their data centers. Great, but that’s not the same thing as true cloud which is:

  • Standardized

  • Automated

  • API-enabled

  • Self-service-enabled

A three-step process
Based on Accenture’s experience, companies should consider following a three-step process:

  1. Get your roadmap right
    The first step is to create (1) a tailored, end-to-end cloud vision; (2) architectures; and (3) roadmaps to help you determine how your organization will operate in the future. The overall journey includes applications and business processes. But much of the initial focus should be on developing a cloud infrastructure strategy that aligns technologies to business needs, optimizes transformation and reduces complexities and risks.

  2. Navigate implementation and migration
    The implementation and migration phase needs to balance your existing infrastructure landscape—including compute, storage, operations, device and network—with your cloud implementation, migration and adoption strategies. This can be extremely challenging—a reason Accenture has created cloud “migration factories,” operated by experienced cloud technologists, with automation that reliably and securely migrates the application and data portfolio to the cloud.

    And a focus beyond just the technology is also important. Effective change management programs help relevant parts of the workforce to perform in news ways and with new goals. Deep industry knowledge by a provider also helps a company adopt cloud more seamlessly.

  3. Manage cloud services effectively
    It’s then important, during a multi-year journey to the cloud, to manage the complexity of public, private and hybrid cloud infrastructure and applications, along with your legacy environments. Many companies are turning to an as-a-Service model for this management.

    For example, a managed services model offers the advantages of utility and consumption economics, scalable capacity, industrialized delivery and future-proofed capabilities. On top of it, providers make commitments to specified business outcomes to help clients gain the full impact and value of the cloud.

    All aspects of a client's infrastructure can be included in these services—compute, storage, operations, device and network. In addition, security and service operations ensure operational integrity and consistency across such areas as firewall rules, software version control, maintenance fixes and virus/malware protection, delivering peace of mind for cloud operations.

    Whatever delivery and management model you choose, it’s important to (1) define a vision, target architecture and roadmap; (2) build and migrate to this target; and (3) simultaneously manage the new and old through this journey to the cloud.

1Source: Morgan Stanley 2016 CIO Survey.

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