How Do I Know My Cloud Strategy is The Right Strategy?

By Peter Meister posted 11-05-2019 22:40

How Do I Know My Cloud Strategy is The Right Strategy?
By Peter Meister, Head of Product Management at Hitachi Vantara, and Martin Bradbury, Senior Director at Hitachi Vantara.

As organizations consider their cloud strategies, it’s worth remembering that we’ve been through IT evolutions many, many times before. We moved from the days of mainframe, where everything was done in the data center, to client and server in the 1990s. Then into thin clients in the 2000s, to the application and the virtualization journey in the late 2000s.
It’s worth remembering, because in our view, every time there’s an IT evolution the same process and framework should be followed. Historically, that hasn’t been the case. So, organizations tend to repeat their mistakes as they adopt these new technology platforms. Cloud is no different.

A brighter future comes from past learnings

We talk about shadow IT now in the sprawling of the cloud, but we had server sprawl in the data center years ago prior to virtualization. The key is to create repeatable processes and templates prescriptively that you can apply. And in the cloud world, it becomes a software-level event for Hitachi Vantara versus a people-level event.

Templates accelerate complex deployments

If we templatize the systems, if we create a service catalogue of things that we do, whether they're tasks, applications or workloads, if we maintain them and iterate them as a single codified system, we create the opportunity to deploy very complex things very quickly.
A good example on the data side is data lakes – a very complex architecture to land down in the multicloud, or even into a mono cloud environment like AWS or Microsoft Azure. The ability to deploy infrastructure quickly by templatizing that system and blueprinting it, means our clients can get very complex systems operational and in market quickly.
So dynamic change becomes faster and clients are enabled to innovate and bring data to life in different dimensions. And that's really where we see cloud being a very big game changer, in terms of processes and underlying software.

Putting bad habits behind you

We quite often see that some bad habits follow organizations into the cloud: Not securing your systems. Not putting compliance first. Manually migrating workloads. Creating instances and VMs and EC2 instances from the ground up. Using marketplace derivative solutions and applications that are highly complex to configure.
These pitfalls result in significant manual tasking and greater expense. People end up spending more time doing work in the cloud than they did in the data center. Cloud expenses and costs really can end up bigger than data center expenses.

It’s essential to take a step back

A good cloud strategy will, like any successful IT evolution that has preceded it, start with the business rationale for migration. Is it to drive new insights for your business? Is it to deliver better sales and more focused marketing efforts? What is the overall goal? Then it’s time to build custom solutions that derive that value. Align cloud strategy to business strategy.

While there are quick wins to be had, a good strategy will include the most impactful systems, such as closely coupled line of business applications. Here the question becomes, ‘Do we redevelop from scratch to create a cloud native application or refactor and modernize what we already have?’ This is where we carry out an assessment of systems and their complexity, to produce a realistic, prioritized list of what should be migrated and what needs to be modernized. The most important part of moving to the cloud is this work, which begins in the data center.

Then we address the complexity of migration and modernization using the acceleration platform-centric approach I’ve already described above. One that automates onerous processes and creates reusable templates to help our customers migrate faster.

The safer path is the one already trodden

As you may already be aware, the OPEX and CAPEX costs of managing data center applications can take as much as 70% of the IT budget, leaving 30% for innovation. Migrating to the cloud in the right way can flip this around. But to avoid the pain and pitfalls on this journey, organizations need to sense check their strategy and follow existing methodologies where possible.

Watch the authors of this paper discuss these common challenges and more in an exclusive executive video at