The issues facing CIOs are always changing, so it is important to take stock and understand the essential markers of change.
Back in March 2015 our cloud and architecture team blogged about the top issues facing CIOs when transitioning to enterprise cloud computing. 18 months on and with the thoughts from the clients we serve, here are the top 3 issues we face now.
1. Cloud fear: concerns of security
How do I balance the concerns which information security teams have with compelling business drivers for the enterprise cloud?
We often see IT teams treating existing policies that govern data centre security operations as valid for cloud services.
However, it’s important to re-visit those policies to understand the underlying risks that those policies are typically trying to negate or mitigate. Often the risk profile has changed, not necessarily for the better or for the worse. They have just changed and therefore needs to be re-considered and evaluated in a new context.
If the business drivers are fully understood and compelling, then the onus should be on the IT teams and Information Security teams to find solutions that support those business drivers.
This is far superior to just blocking progress because the current technologies, policies and processes are not a “straight fit” for a whole new range of cloud services.
2. Cloud fear: journey to a hybrid enterprise cloud
While the benefits are clear, how do I accelerate my journey to a hybrid cloud end state?
It’s important to spend quality time up-front to engineer and build all the foundational layers.
That includes technologies as well as processes. By getting this right, straight off the bat, then you are in a position to transition workloads quickly once that quality engineering is complete. There are a number of touch points here but to name a few:
- Name resolution
- Role based access models
- Life cycle management
- ITSM and CMDB
- Service catalogue integrations
- Security and audit controls
- Associated operational processes and policies.
For enterprise and corporate size customers especially – do it right and ideally do it once.
3. Cloud fear: vendor lock-in
How do I combat cloud vendor lock-in fear?
This cloud fear comes up a lot. It did in March 2016 when we first blogged on this and still does today.
While the sentiment and reasoning makes sense, the practicalities of this are a lot more challenging for a number of reasons:
First: the upfront effort/costs to build a mature hybrid cloud capability for one vendor is not insignificant, doing it for many multiplies that upfront investment.
Second: the CMP (Cloud Management Product) tools that allow you to manage across multiple cloud providers are generally struggling and not cheap and dumb down the services to the least common denominator of services that are available across multiple target providers.
The most practical approach is to build longer term commercial arrangements with the vendors that are favourable and work for your business. Agree terms that lock in favourable and fixed pricing for the length of the contract where you can. Be in a position to change provider at the end of that multi-year contract if commercial terms do not remain favourable/attractive to your business. Do consider the true on-premises costs.
Microsoft are trying to help with their Azure Stack offering which is in tech preview.
While it’s still a Microsoft solution, it will at least provide choice about where you deploy to (cloud or data centre) using the same tools and processes.
Enterprise cloud example: Containerization
Deploying applications in a way where the underlying infrastructure is largely abstracted away means although not a “lift and shift” between cloud providers, any move shouldn’t require re-architecting all the applications.
Summary: which cloud enterprise fear is the strongest?
While there are other items that could have been added to this list, the matter of cloud enterprise is vast and the need to prioritise is important.
Our 3 topics seem to resonate strongly with different CIOs we speak to, here they are again:
- Concerns of security
- Journey to a hybrid enterprise cloud
- Vendor lock-in
We hope that some of the items above help you in your fight to success, or hopefully you have successful encountered each one.
If you have any questions or thoughts, please make sure to note them below. Should you wish to learn more, download this guide on choosing your IT Partner ⇓