Cloud computing

Building a hybrid cloud strategy with IBM Systems Consulting

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In my previous post, I argued that a foundational element of digital transformation is the integration of new technologies with existing core systems into hybrid clouds.

In IBM Lab Services Systems Consulting, we work with clients around the world using a combination of proven expertise, tools and methodologies to develop business-aligned IT strategies and implementation plans to guide clients in transforming their enterprise IT infrastructure. Cloud strategy is one our focus areas, and in this post, I’ll explain what our cloud strategy methodology looks like.

Cloud strategy planning starts with a focus on the realities of the industry you are in, trying to understand current challenges as well as inherent strengths that can help you take advantage of the opportunities ahead. With that in the background, business and IT objectives become clearer.

Given that adoption of cloud is not a one-time event, it’s important to identify where you are in your journey to cloud. You have to consider existing investments and strategic initiatives against the stated objectives to make sure you’re not ignoring value already created.

To help define a comprehensive cloud strategy, and to fully understand the transformation required, the Systems Consulting cloud strategy methodology provides for an analysis across three dimensions.

Optimized infrastructure (Current state analysis)

We start with an analysis focused on your current IT Infrastructure (servers, storage, networking) to understand the extent of optimization (consolidation, virtualization, standardization and automation) across all layers of the stack (hardware, operating system, middleware, processes and so forth). The goal is to understand the current state of your existing infrastructure and the transformation required to enable it for hybrid cloud deployments.

Workloads (Affinity for cloud)

The second dimension considers the workloads running on your existing infrastructure and their affinity for cloud. It’s important to understand that not all workloads are ready for a cloud environment. Those that are will have affinity towards a specific cloud deployment model (such as private or public) and a specific service model (such as IaaS, PaaS or SaaS). A very important aspect of identifying the overall cloud affinity is the balance between “value” (or the degree to which the migration of the application to a cloud would provide benefits to the business such as reduced costs, simplification and faster time to market through automation and portability) and “effort” (or the degree of labor and time for migrating the application to a cloud).

Readiness for cloud (IT capabilities)

Finally, the third dimension is a review of current IT capabilities across several IT domains (such as infrastructure services, service management, architecture and governance) from an ITIL perspective. This analysis identifies gaps in readiness for cloud and helps define action items for closing these gaps as part of the overall cloud strategy.

Business & IT objectives, Hybrid Cloud Strategy

The results of the analyses across these three dimensions provide a solid foundation for recommending appropriate cloud solutions and identifying a roadmap towards a future hybrid cloud infrastructure.

We help clients identify key infrastructure building blocks with the highest value results for deploying hybrid cloud, including business cases showing the costs and operational benefits associated with each recommended cloud solution. Lab Services can also provide guidance on cloud operating model, governance, security, risk and compliance.

While very comprehensive, the cloud strategy methodology employed by IBM Systems Consulting is based on a modular design, allowing for a high level of flexibility in selecting the right breadth and depth for the analysis depending on each client’s current situation.

Organizations that work with us to develop a hybrid cloud strategy benefit in the following ways:

  • Receive an accurate view of IT capabilities maturity and cloud readiness
  • Achieve a better alignment of cloud strategy with key business objectives and priorities
  • Achieve clarity on the optimal path to hybrid cloud while leveraging existing investments
  • Receive guidance on what workloads go where and why
  • Identify a hybrid cloud target state model leveraging an optimized IT infrastructure
  • Achieved a better understanding of expected costs and operational benefits

Following a cloud strategy engagement, IBM Systems Consulting can provide assistance with designing your hybrid cloud architecture and implementing your hybrid cloud.

As mentioned earlier, a successful adoption of hybrid cloud requires thoughtful planning and a clear strategy to drive positive business outcomes. Lab Services Systems Consulting has the methodologies and the experience to help you achieve your objectives, wherever you are on your journey to hybrid cloud.

Contact us today to see if we can help.

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