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Three entry points for the shift to SOE, SOR and SOI

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The more I continue to assist large enterprises to implement cloud technology, the deeper I realize that migration of workloads and applications to cloud should not be considered in isolation. I clearly see that the rush toward enabling cloud, analytics, mobile and social pushes businesses toward logical grouping of their IT landscape to Systems of Engagement (SOE), Systems of Record (SOR) and Systems of Interaction (SOI) or simply SoX.

As virtualized infrastructure and automation enablers such as Software Defined Environment (SDE) become pervasive, it’s no surprise that shifting to the SOE/SOR/SOI paradigm is the way to go. Some of the key motivators for enterprises to consider move towards SOE/SOR/SOI:

1. Reduce CapEx and adopt OpEx model
2. Defocus on IT Operations and focus on product innovation
3. Leverage rich ecosystem of services from cloud marketplace, enabling rapid development of SOE applications
4. Reduce total cost of operations by improved utilization of underlying infrastructure for highly volatile / fluctuating workloads such as Dev / Test operations
5. Consolidate infrastructure and platform components, enable automation on cloud technology and thus reduce resources needed to run IT operations

Making a move toward the SOE/SOR/SOI paradigm will require modernization of existing SOR applications, enablement of enterprises to develop new generation of applications under the SOE model and establish a comprehensive SOI for SOE and SOR to work seamlessly. The following diagram provides an overview cloud stack architecture in the context of SOE/SOR/SOI and three modernization entry points.

Modernization Entry Points

Modernizing an existing SOR workload/application requires a view of the application from an underlying infrastructure perspective as well as core application architecture characteristics perspective to determine its suitability to operate on the cloud stack. An application may be suitable to run on a plain IaaS pattern of a cloud stack with minimal or no modernization required. However, making it suitable for the SoX paradigm might require deeper modernization.

When considering SOR applications to this shift, not all the applications will be suitable for cloud technology. Some complex legacy applications might require de-aggregation or de-coupling and related modernization to operate on a cloud stack. Cost of such modernization might out-benefit any savings cloud technology might provide. In such cases, it may be worth it to leave such applications out of the cloud migration as innovation of such application might happen over a period of time as new demand SOE-type applications start replacing the functionality of complex applications in compartments.

The following diagram provides a high level overview of SOR/SOE applications in Cloud patterns perspective. As depicted in the diagram, different applications will benefit from operating in different patterns of cloud layers such as IaaS, PaaS and SaaS while some applications will benefit being continued to be operated on legacy stack.

SOE applications

Modernization of SOR workloads/applications to shift to the SoX paradigm is a transformational effort for most enterprises, particularly when dealing with a large application portfolio. Depending on the long-term business goals and the benefits expected from of the transformational effort, enterprises need to determine their investment strategies (time and money) towards modernization.

Enterprises will need to take a methodical approach in defining their modernization strategy to reap their desired level of intended business benefits. As discussed above, a multi pronged approach is needed to determine what applications are suitable for which layer of SoX architecture and what degree of modernization is required for workloads or applications.

The following diagram provides an overview of the strategic approach enterprises need to consider in determining application migration to cloud.

Application portfolio

What do you think? How do you see the enterprise customers you work with in the adoption of SoX paradigm? Send your comments to me at ram.ravishankar@us.ibm.com or follow me on Twitter: @rravisha. Also, don’t forget to visit this blog site frequently as I’ll be writing more on approaches for SOE and SOI in the next few weeks.

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