Five Cloud Strategy Must -Dos for the CIO

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1 Issue 2 Five Cloud Strategy Must -Dos for the CIO 1 Five Cloud Strategy Must -Dos for the CIO When Building a Private Cloud, Start Small, Think Big 5 About Red Hat Featuring research from Even if your cloud projects start small, they re not going to stay that way at least if your IT team is going to be ready for the challenges of an increasingly digitized age. And that means thinking strategically. Strategic cloud adoption covers a lot of ground pervading everything from infrastructure to application design to the new processes and approaches needed to most effectively use clouds. (And doing all this while keeping the lines of business in the loop and protecting corporate assets.) We can t cover everything here, but we d like to share a few of the most important considerations that come up in our engagements with customers and partners. Build on a solid foundation New IT technologies and abstractions, such as cloud computing, layer on top of existing ones. This makes the foundational layers less visible, but they remain just as important than ever. Even as applications become more adaptable, more mobile, more distributed, and more lightweight, they re still running on something: an operating system and the cloud infrastructure built on it. Indeed, the role of the operating system is expanding even as it continues to provide the reliability, security isolation, quality of service, and stable and certified platform for layered software as it has historically. The operating system is now moving toward a future in which it explicitly deals with multi-host applications, serving as an orchestrator and scheduler for them. It needs to model applications across multiple hosts and containers and provide the services and APIs to place them onto appropriate resources. Linux, in particular, grew up with a design center around such scale-out architectures and that s why companies at the cutting edge of cloud computing and the Internet are choosing Linux and open source. Maintain portability and consistency When different clouds are integral to your overall IT development and deployment process, prioritizing consistency and portability across those different environments becomes essential. One aspect of this consistency is having a consistent runtime environment (e.g., an operating system or middleware) in different clouds, whether private and public; applications can thereby run in both places without change. Management consistency is also important for providing a common view across workloads running in both distributed data centers and public clouds. A cloud management platform can provide hybrid cloud monitoring, provisioning, auditing, and reporting, among other functions. These types of functions are essential elements for governing and protecting an organization s data and maintaining control over the access to and use of its IT assets. Consistency between on-premise and public cloud environments also requires that the full runtime including the applications running on it is supported and certified by the same ISVs and others when running in the cloud, a commitment that is as much about business relationships as technical ones.

2 Develop a comprehensive strategy The mismatch between the demands of the business and what traditional IT has been typically able to deliver creates an IT services gap. Increasing IT efficiency, improving developer productivity, and enhancing business agility each individually help close this gap. But fully closing the gap and thereby flipping maintenance spend and innovation investment requires doing all three. Moving from traditional infrastructure to Infrastructure-as-a- Service (IaaS) makes IT much more efficient. For example, Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform provides automation that lets you respond dynamically to changing conditions rather than waiting weeks to provision new capacity. And it provides self-service for that infrastructure so that users can gain access to necessary resources in minutes rather than weeks. As you start to provide increased efficiency with a cloud architecture, it s also important to focus on making developers productive. This is where Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) comes in. A PaaS, such as OpenShift by Red Hat, is focused on making developers much more productive by allowing them to focus on their development experience. For example, a PaaS allows a new developer to immediately access everything needed to work on a company s mobile apps or billing services. But it s still insufficient to just provide efficient infrastructure and enable developers to be productive. You also need to tie all these new applications and services in the cloud back to your existing back-end services and data. Red Hat does this with xpaas, which spans your business-oriented middleware into the cloud. Deploy unified hybrid management A unifying interface, such as that provided through Red Hat CloudForms, lets you manage all your services, applications, and workloads regardless of what vendor they re from or where they re located and maintain policy-based control and governance over your entire environment. From an operations standpoint, the same tools can manage IT policy, display executive dashboards, and monitor workloads, not just on your new cloud infrastructure, but across an entire IT environment. This provides you with a consistent view across all the resources that you choose to centrally manage, and thereby gain visibility into resources as diverse as virtual platforms from Red Hat, VMware, and Microsoft; a cloud platform from OpenStack; and the public cloud platform from Amazon. Unified hybrid management lets you transform existing virtual environments into private clouds, hybrid clouds, or both. Seamlessly add new infrastructure platforms to expand your cloud model and take advantage of better cost, performance, density, innovation, or whatever you need. You control the choices. Embrace open Using open source technologies to build the cloud is (or should be) a given. But it s more than that. An open cloud lets you select the best technologies and partners to support your cloud, now and in the future, without lock-in. It brings the benefits of cloud across your entire hybrid IT resource pool, not just a subset. It gives you access to the greatest amount of innovation wherever it s happening, in whatever form it takes. Only by embracing clouds that are truly open can you ensure that your cloud delivers the full strategic value promised by cloud computing. An open cloud isn t a nice-to-have for IT organizations. It s a must-have. Conclusion Cloud architectures are the future of how IT will be built and operated. As such, decisions about building or otherwise sourcing clouds are strategic and critical. Some of those decisions will require deep analysis and due consideration of your strategic priorities as a business. However, the should also be informed and underpinned by guiding principles of which building on a solid foundation, while maintaining portability and consistency, with a comprehensive approach, that deploys unified management and embraces open are among the most important. Source: Red Hat Five Cloud Strategy Must -Dos for the CIO is published by Red Hat. Editorial content supplied by Red Hat is independent of Gartner analysis. All Gartner research is used with Gartner s permission, and was originally published as part of Gartner s syndicated research service available to all entitled Gartner clients Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. The use of Gartner research in this publication does not indicate Gartner s endorsement of Red Hat s products and/or strategies. Reproduction or distribution of this publication in any form without Gartner s prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Although Gartner research may include a discussion of related legal issues, Gartner does not provide legal advice or services and its research should not be construed or used as such. Gartner is a public company, and its shareholders may include firms and funds that have financial interests in entities covered in Gartner research. Gartner s Board of Directors may include senior managers of these firms or funds. Gartner research is produced independently by its research organization without input or influence from these firms, funds or their managers. For further information on the independence and integrity of Gartner research, see Guiding Principles on Independence and Objectivity on its website, 2

3 From the Gartner Files: When Building a Private Cloud, Start Small, Think Big GARTNER FOUNDATIONAL This research is reviewed periodically for accuracy. It was last reviewed on 15 October Private cloud projects will usually fail if they are scoped too large, move too fast or are developed without an evolving, comprehensive road map for services and processes. Key Challenges It s hard to scope a private cloud project to the right services based on potential business value. It s hard to gauge private cloud usage because self-service offerings will change demand behavior in unpredictable ways. It s hard to manage the life cycle of private cloud investments because technologies, standards and cloud providers continue to evolve, opening up new options over time. Recommendations Start with a willing customer and service opportunity, and focus on those first. Deliver capability in a stepwise manner, and add functionality based on customer demand and priorities. Deliver private cloud services that are common and where the demand for agility is high including new workloads and new uses of the services. Build and maintain a living, changing strategic plan for private cloud services, including road map and end states. Invest in private cloud not only to deliver a rapid return on investment, but also to enable sourcing model and architectural evolution over time. Introduction Private cloud computing is a major trend in enterprises today, primarily (but not exclusively) deployed on-premises (based on client inquiries). Enterprises are engaging in a range of private cloud projects, but scoping and phasing the projects, planning those projects, and determining investments in hardware, software and skills can be a real challenge. Defining the right service offerings can also be a challenge. Because the primary benefits tend to be business benefits rather than internal IT benefits, understanding where and how to apply private cloud computing and how it will evolve isn t easy. Analysis Start Small One of the biggest mistakes an enterprise can make in building private clouds is to engage in a top-down, comprehensive project that is intended to design as many services and workloads into the private cloud as possible and deliver them all at once. There are several problems with this approach: Not all customers will be prepared or willing to use the new services, so it is much better to focus on a willing customer first. Offering self-service changes demand behavior some services might prove to be very valuable, some might require change in the offering (adding features or taking them away) and some might never be used. You don t really know demand until you start to offer a service. Although automation can reduce operational expense, the primary business case will be the agility that is enabled for customers. A large investment in automation and self-service that are not fully utilized by IT s customers will likely fail to be justified. Pulling too much into the private cloud at the beginning may inspire a least-commondenominator design rather than focusing even better automation and agility on the services that need them the most. A successful private cloud project will plan for evolution, learning and change. Find a willing customer or a very specific service where agility/speed is paramount, where workload life spans tend to be shorter or the workloads themselves are variable in demand, where overall demand is high (and will be higher with self-service in place), and where technologies exist to enable automation of delivery and runtime autoscaling. Don t focus strictly on old workloads, but investigate new workloads and new demand that a private cloud service would enable and do this by working directly with IT s customers. Don t force-fit workloads that receive no real benefits into a private cloud service unless there s little additional cost of supporting them and the architecture doesn t need to be suboptimized to support a variety of disparate workloads. Put a basic service in place, monitor usage, get feedback and make improvements and additions in an evolutionary manner (for example, life cycles can be managed for a development and test VM service by offering short-term leases that can be renewed, rather than actual metered use). Use a successful rollout to prove the benefits by example to other users and for other services. As both IT and IT s users learn how to take advantage of this new style of computing, it s likely that the resulting services will be different from what you expected at the beginning of the process.

4 Recommendations Start with a willing customer and service opportunity, and focus on those first. Deliver private cloud services that are common and where the demand for agility is high including new workloads and new uses of the services. Deliver private cloud services in a stepwise manner, starting with minimal functionality and adding functionality based on customer demand and priorities. Think Big A stepwise and evolutionary approach is the right way to start a private cloud project. However, the risk of this approach is to entirely focus on the tactical, to build a growing number of unintegrated silos, and to make future use of hybrid and public cloud services difficult. Evolution does not mean anarchy, and being service-focused does not mean becoming silo-rich. Private cloud projects should be based on a living, strategic plan, where the expected journey is mapped out, including end states for services (and the processes to support them). The strategic plan will constantly need to change based on knowledge gained as services are rolled out and service demand changes. Operational processes around the service including life cycle management will need to evolve as the services expand. (One of the biggest problems with cloud computing use today is cloud sprawl easy to get started, but hard to monitor and downsize when necessary.) New cloud infrastructure technologies may change the strategy. And the evolution of third-party services both for hybrid cloud interoperability and public cloud migration should change the road map. One of the big challenges for making investments in private cloud computing is the fact that the trend exists because the third-party cloud computing provider market is immature and because standards are immature and evolving. As the market and standards improve, services that make sense in a private cloud model today might be better served in the public cloud. Or capacity demand might push private cloud services to become hybrid. Although everything can t be predicted, successful private cloud projects require a crystal ball and need to be planned as a journey, with a relatively short return on investment (usually business value, often based on business agility). Private cloud computing is a steppingstone, and most services that start as an on-premises private cloud will become off-premises, hybrid or public. Investing, planning and preparing for that is critical. Recommendations Build a strategic plan for private cloud services, including the expected road map for services (and corresponding processes and automation) and end states. Modify the strategic plan constantly based on gained knowledge, new customer requirements, changes in service use, changes in cloud infrastructure technologies and changes in the cloud computing provider market. Invest in private cloud not only to deliver a rapid return on investment, but also to enable sourcing model and architectural evolution over time (including off-premises, hybrid and public cloud models). Source: Gartner Research, G , Thomas J. Bittman, 25 November 201 4

5 About Red Hat Red Hat was founded in 199 and is headquartered in Raleigh, NC. Today, with more than 60 offices around the world, Red Hat is the largest publicly traded technology company fully committed to open source. That commitment has paid off over time, for us and our customers, proving the value of open source software and establishing a viable business model built around the open source way. Red Hat provides enterprise-strength, mission critical, software and services in today s most important IT areas: Operating Systems, Storage, Middleware, Virtualization, and Cloud Computing. Red Hat s open source model supplies enterprise computing solutions that reduce costs, improve performance, reliability and security. Learn more about Red Hat s open cloud solutions at solutions/cloud-computing/ or by contacting a representative in your region. NORTH AMERICA REDHAT1 EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA ASIA PACIFIC LATIN AMERICA

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