To migrate to the cloud or not, is a more burning question for many CIO’s, than the parents of students who decide whether their ward should migrate abroad or not. Cloud is the first step in the business transformation journey in the digital era, followed by data and AI.
Cloud Adoption is rapidly growing, but according to Gartner, only 10% firms in 2019 claimed a cloud strategy that works for them. Cloud is a modern baseline for all other technologies viz IOT, Quantum Computing, AI, Big data, Augmented and Mixed reality. It is an API driven platform that drives anything and everything else.
Cloud is SAFER – a big decision to make
Tata Steel’s Group CIO, Mr Jayanta Banerjee, coined the phrase “Cloud is -SAFER”. Scalable, Agile, Flexibility, Efficient and Relatively risk free. To explore this concept further it is important to note that most breaches are not on account of the provider but on account of the customer. Cloud services with secured providers don’t get easily breached, but workloads moved to the cloud are not secured properly. Susceptibilities and vulnerabilities get transmitted. Customer responsibilities and the providers responsibilities need to be clear.
Multicloud or not?
Cloud adoption is different from a cloud strategy. If the loads are large and diverse enough, a multi cloud strategy is recommended. Multi-cloud is no lock in based on how you architect. Cloud is more secure only if the underlying applications are secured and work well with the cloud securities.
Edge is the New Cloud or an extension of it?
India has a national cloud as Meghraj. With the data localization rules, data centres from large providers are mushrooming in different seismic zones. This is bringing the Cloud to the edge – literally.
The best way to understand the edge is to conceive of it as physical location where things & people, machines and things and people & people connect via networked digital world. Every car in 2020 generates approx. 4 GB of data per hour ⁃ The ordinary car has to become an intelligent edge.
Organizations are developing deploy to run capabilities on the Edge that terminate in a Cloud. Capability to run both as a remote service is critical.
Cloud Maturing as a Tech, Not necessarily as a decision
Cloud migration is akin to painting a moving train. The tech to manage this is maturing every day, but given the options, risks and resources this entails, organizations are often caught in analysis paralysis.
For the technically inclined, one is advised to familiarize oneself with the concept of CNFC – Cloud native computing foundation. At the risk of proliferating jargon, I can offer that CNFC is AI driven, latency aware, instrumented, failure aware, event driven, secure, parallelization automated, self-orchestrating, and resource consumption aware. This can help with the target design and provide comfort in expediting the decision.
Migration Planning & Management
An ounce of action is worth more than a pound of thought. However, thoughtless action is risky. Migration Planning, phasing, scheduling, co-ordinating and executing is critical. This requires business downtime and critical go-no decisions. A cross functional office with representation from all major IT wings is a must, with business buy in.
How to be SAFER on the Cloud?
Ten golden thoughts can help
- Take the decision to move to the Cloud with passion, study the how with caution. The target architecture should be edge inclusive
- Keep an eye out on “where the data should move to the analytics, and where the analytics should move the data”. Shift former loads to the cloud, the rest to the edge
- Start with a Cloud Affinity Study on your workloads, ideally via your incumbent provider
- One can create three tracks viz Track 1 – all new loads on the cloud. Track 2 – all analytical and platform loads on the cloud Track 3 – Cloud affinity study for all mission critical loads
- Explore the larger space of Infra led business disruption, as infra choices drive platform-atization
- Familiarise teams with evolving capabilities, API’s, jargon, and terms
- Cloud repatriation is largely an urban legend, not too many loads are moving back. Thus, move fast, move for good
- Formulate cloud strategy in context of overall strategy. The main benefit is in terms of business clock speed – months to minutes on provisioning of infra for critical projects
- Cloud strategy is a living document. It should be 80% fixed and 20% flexible to accommodate opportunities, surprises and budget variations
- Decisions based not on hype and myths, but on the 9 points above. Keep your own counsel