Cloud computing has become a must-have technology for every enterprise. Enterprises no longer consider cloud computing as a means to provide cost-effective compute and storage, but rather as a means to solve core business problems and build innovative solutions. Speed/agility are becoming a necessity due to increased expectation for a great user experience from end users.
While new workloads are by default considered on cloud, there is a need to also migrate and modernize their existing legacy IT simply because it has become the core of business over the years.
There are several questions posed by CIOs on how to move the existing workloads to the cloud. What are my priorities – improve agility, focus on core business activities, reduce TCO, reduce operation cost, etc.? What are my target KPIs?
These questions can be answered by considering some key steps to achieve a successful cloud transformation for the existing legacy and business core.
Use a phased and success-based approach
Discover your IT workloads. Most enterprises have an outdated CMDB, therefore a tool (e.g. cloudscape)-based approach for discovery works best. But, having just an inventory of IT workloads and infrastructure does not provide optimum information regarding applications. Hence, an application-level cloud assessment is also important. A combination of infrastructure assessment with application assessment works best to build a target pattern, e.g. rehost, re-platform, refactor, or rewrite. While infrastructure assessment provides a roadmap for rehost thereby achieve IT cost reduction, application assessment aims to provide a roadmap geared to re-platform, refactor, or rewrite thereby increasing business agility.
Develop a robust governance strategy
Infrastructure services and workloads on the cloud can be provisioned on the go and dynamically. Therefore, it is very important to define a robust strategy around what is getting provisioned, where, and who has access to it. Key principles to keep in mind while deciding an enterprise cloud governance strategy are:
- Group and organize the subscriptions in a logical hierarchy, e.g. by organization domains or functions
- Define and apply standards to the resources, i.e. prevent creation of undesired resources
- Audit and remediate resources
- Enforce policies for all the resources based on the organizational standards and compliance
- Continuous monitoring of all resources and review the policies that are set on the resource.
Build as enterprise cloud landing zone
A landing zone is a basic building block of any cloud adoption environment. A landing zone should not only be considered just as a starting point but should evolve continuously considering & incorporating policies & security for strict monitoring and control. While designing the landing zone there are some foundational elements such as identity and access management, security, governance, operations, etc. are considered platform foundations
Adopt modernization from the beginning
Large enterprises look mainly at a lift-and-shift approach to quickly move their application workloads to the cloud. While this strategy can give a reduced TCO and cost optimization on the infrastructure, it may not be enough when it comes to achieving application efficiency, reliability, business agility, etc. For that, a modernization approach to leverage PaaS is very useful.
Build target reference patterns on the cloud based on the as-is workloads and application types in your IT landscape – for example, typical application-type like portals and CMS, batches, web services, enterprise integrations, analytics, etc. For each of these, types build a target reference pattern on cloud considering the non-functional requirements such as scalability, availability, security, cost, disaster recovery, performance, portability, etc. The reference patterns act as building blocks for transforming legacy application to the cloud.
Several open-source tools, libraries, APIs are available to not only automate application build and deployments but also to achieve end-to-end automation of infrastructure and platforms. IaC (infrastructure as a code) offered by most cloud vendors, allows an end user to provision services in the cloud in seconds. Add to it tools such as terraform provide a layer of abstraction over the cloud-provider APIs making the solution agnostic to cloud vendors.
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