A Cloud (Road) Map to Treasure

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Part 2 of Making the Cloud of Dreams Real

Building a cloud for your business to empower innovation is foundational for staying relevant to your customers. But planning for innovation can be challenging when different business units all need to be involved in the planning process. Is everyone aligned to the same cloud vision? Are stakeholders coordinating what they will need to do to meet the business requirements for cloud?

In my last blog post I talked about the road map to treasure when it comes to cloud adoption and cloud success. I said, “a dream without a plan is just a wish,” when talking about how organizations today are looking to adopt cloud. Many don’t know where to start or what a long-term cloud vision and strategy even looks like.

Indeed, we’re overwhelmed by analysts and pundits (and bloggers like me) espousing the benefits of cloud adoption. Whether you’re reading about future IT budgets or what the next generation of applications will look like, it’s impossible to ignore the impact cloud has had on our industry. Clearly there are business benefits to adopting cloud, but many organizations aren’t sure where to start. Remember, we need a plan, otherwise we’re just wishing. Wishing is great for lottery tickets and sports cars, but when it comes to cloud we need a plan. So where do we start?

Are We There Yet?

Remember long rides in the car when you were a kid? You had no idea how long it would take to get somewhere, the route you were taking or what your parents needed to know in order to get there. Instead, you’d ask the inevitable question, “are we there yet?” over and over again. Cloud strategy is not that different when you don’t have a map to follow. Think of it like following a treasure map to cloud success. If you don’t know where you’re going or how to get there, your organization is likely going to end up spending too much and not truly addressing business outcomes and stakeholder requirements.

Everyone knows treasure maps have multiple X marks along the route until you find the treasure. With each marker you discover you’re one step closer to the end goal. Consider your cloud strategy­­­­­ as a treasure map, but you are in control of what those makers are along the way. You can think of those markers as aligning to the different business stakeholders that will be consumers of the cloud, including application teams, DevOps teams and more. Those Xs can be leading you to an application and data landing zone strategy, business resiliency strategy or other key business drivers for cloud adoption. You can’t skip markers on the treasure map, much in the same way you can’t skip steps along the way towards building a cloud strategy.

Organizations that are adopting cloud without a plan and strategy are not controlling their treasure map. They don’t have those X markers to guide them so they don’t know how to get there or when they’ve arrived. They have no idea how long it’ll take to get to each marker and they’re not sure what they need to do to get there in the first place. The “ready-fire-aim” approach to cloud adoption just doesn’t work and ends up causing organizations to spend a lot of money unnecessarily. It’s like trying to follow a treasure map without a compass.

Study the Map Before you Begin

The beginning of a plan should start with where you are now. When you start a journey in your car and want to know how far or how long it will take to get to the destination, you have to put in your current location. For a treasure map, you have to know where you are in relation to the first X marker. When Dell Technologies Services works with customers on cloud adoption, we typically start with our ProConsult Advisory services which help customers develop a road map to success and a strategy to get there. We use a process called “As-is/To-be” that looks at the current state of a customer’s environment (as-is) and then helps them understand what they want the future state (to-be) to look like. The gap between what an organization can do today and what they want to do tomorrow informs the strategy, goals and objectives for how to get there. Starting with a strategy and road map will show organizations how to get there, how long it will take and what they need to do along the way. No more “are we there yet?”

Find and Align the Pieces of the Map

Remember from my last post when I said “if you build it, they will come” doesn’t work for cloud? Clouds won’t be consumed unless business stakeholders and cloud consumers have their data there first. That means migrate all data and applications to your new cloud, right?

Not quite. When we work with customers our mantra is always – cloud is an operating model, not a destination – as cloud is not always a fit for every application. Just like you need a road map for success for aligning the cloud strategy to the business, you also need to define a strategy for your future state application landing zones. After all, you can’t start a journey without knowing where you are, where you’re going and what the destination will be. Without that destination, how would you know how to chart a course or even know when you’ve arrived? Imagine you’re looking at a treasure map where the line ends at the edge of the first map and you need to align to a second map which represents another destination end point. In this case, it’s your application strategy, a very important component of cloud success. And don’t forget to include flexibility in your application portfolio strategy. Just because an application lines up with a particular landing zone doesn’t automatically mean it will live there forever.

The process of defining your strategy and landing zones serves more than just to inform your future workload placement. You’ll often also end up disproving preconceived notions you may have had about what the future state will look like. The fact is, at times we all hold on to the old way of doing things because that’s what we’re comfortable with and that’s what we’ve known. I should know – I still have a landline phone in my house. For organizations to modernize and transform they need the operational maturity to recognize when change is needed and when the old way of doing things belongs in the past.

Envision a Hybrid Future

We’ve talked about creating a strategy and road map for cloud success and also touched on evaluating your application landing zone to determine where they should run to support business goals. It’s true that some applications are better suited for an on-premises cloud whereas others may make more sense in a highly scalable public cloud. The good news is you can have both with a hybrid cloud strategy.

A hybrid cloud like APEX Cloud Services with VMware Cloud enables customers to have the flexibility of provisioning and consuming resources in their hybrid cloud on-premises while also allowing the consumption of public cloud services using solutions like VMware Cloud on AWS or Azure VMware Solution. These solutions are all based on the same powerful VMware platform, enabling easy workload portability, common toolsets and simplified disaster recovery, just to name a few.

What about native public clouds like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure? Dell Technologies Services can provide the services to integrate your on-premises APEX Cloud Services with VMware Cloud solution with public cloud hyperscalers to enable provisioning to the cloud of your choice. Want to learn more? It’s as easy as clicking here.

You wouldn’t start on a long journey without a map (or GPS on your phone) and identifying the best stopping points along the way to get gas, experience the area, eat and rest. The same is true for cloud adoption. By starting with a customized strategy and road map, you’ll be well on your way to cloud success without having to hear “are we there yet?” from your business stakeholders.

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