The Cloud Strategy Cookbook
Build your cloud strategy by planning and assembling ingredients as you would for a fine meal.
Contributor: Heather Levy
Many IT leaders continue to struggle with developing their cloud strategy. In order to help them determine how to build a cloud strategy and where to start, Daryl Plummer, vice president and Gartner Fellow, used the analogy of restaurants and food to compare the variety of issues that become apparent when considering cloud computing. Like with food, one might choose to eat at home (on premise private cloud computing) or to eat out (public cloud computing), he said in his session at Gartner Symposium ITxpo in Barcelona. An organization’s skill sets and types of workloads may impact this choice.
Crafting the menu
First, most organizations must spend the necessary time to figure out what they want to get out of cloud computing. They must set their priorities before any true strategy can emerge and examine the outcomes, such as innovation or cost savings, which are most significant to the organization. After deciding on outcomes, it’s time to pick a style of cloud computing from the menu of choices including private (on-premises and off-premises), community cloud, public cloud, and hybrid cloud models.
With restaurants, choosing from a menu of choices is one of the benefits of variety. With cloud computing, there are many options, and deciding which applications or workloads will go into the cloud can be tricky. Characteristics such as volume of data or culture and skills are just a few of those that will help in the decision making. Remember, you can have some workloads that do not go into cloud computing.
Gathering the ingredients
In a cloud computing model, the ingredients equate to different levels of cloud service or to different providers and even different workloads. Just as some wines go better with fish than others, in cloud strategy, some services are better suited to work with certain cloud providers or for certain companies.
Consider a balanced menu with a variety of courses and complementary flavors rather than three main courses. More courses also generally equal smaller portions, and we can generally only consume the same amount in any one sitting. In cloud computing, we need multiple providers to complete our cloud strategy, but do not spend too much time having providers duplicate the same sets of services, except as backup. This kind of decision making must be done across different teams to ensure that each team gets the required services with as little overlap as possible.
Preparing the meal
When it’s time to prepare the final strategies (also known as the meal), it’s valuable to find a solution path for governing cloud acquisition and use. Beyond the issues of deciding what goes into the cloud are more difficult concerns like refactoring code and deciding how to govern your services. All organizations should at least monitor the use of services to see how effectively they are being used.
This beginning of cloud governance comes down to the skill of the chef (cloud architect or CIO) to blend the ingredients to deliver the course to the best possible taste (outcome). Next, it’s critical to examine your security posture when using cloud services. Many businesses and organizations will find that they are more secure in the public cloud than they are in their own data centers if they just apply the right policies and procedures to maintaining their responsibility to being secure.
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