A leading research organization predicted that cloud computing would radically accelerate digital transformation across organizations. In 2018, after a decade, cloud computing models transited from being ‘good to have’ to ‘must have’ in almost every enterprise. Nearly 60% of North American organizations now rely on public cloud platforms. This is five times the percentage that existed five years ago.
Cloud computing models are no more perceived as a mere combination of cheap server and storage space. Cloud services have evolved to be an enabler that turns enterprise dreams into reality. In such a scenario, the hybrid cloud model is becoming increasingly popular. It combines the efficiencies of public clouds with control of the private cloud. The split between the two varies from one industry to another and from one organization to the other.
The hybrid cloud model is especially gaining momentum as leading public and private cloud OEMs such as AWS, Azure, Google, VMware, Cisco, IBM, and Nutanix are investing in hybrid cloud architectures. They have aligned their offerings with their vision of a hybrid cloud. Over a period of time, legacy IT organizations will also undergo a complete transformation. Infrastructure automation along with software-defined infrastructure will play a key role in the evolution. Applications migrating to the cloud or sourced from SaaS partners will rise.
Initially skills, processes, and tools for legacy, software-defined and cloud will co-exist, and eventually will create cost pressure on IT organizations to reduce the number of resources managing it. There will be a whole new set of skills to be upgraded by the existing workforce to make this possible. The gaps in skills, processes, and tools between legacy and new IT organization models will reduce over time but both of them still have their own space. Eventually, legacy has to transform through a gradual process, taking IT organization to the evolved state, completing the cloud revolution.
However, for organizations looking to adopt cloud services, the transition is not as smooth as it seems to be. Technical architectures alone don’t define cloud services; they require multiple parameters together for the successful adoption of a hybrid Target Operating Model (TOM).
TOM for Hybrid Cloud
The TOM for hybrid cloud, in some ways, is significantly different and incompatible with legacy IT management models. A robust cloud platform brings different consumption and sourcing models, it brings changes in ITIL processes such as incident management, patch management, and CMDB among others. It requires new people (skills), governance, processes, tools, and controls to handle this.
At an organizational level, leaders must plan for incorporating new skills, training, agility in a project team. At the process level, self-service provisioning is required along with agility in development and adopting DevOps frameworks. Change management now requires a 360-degree change. Identity and access management will extend across boundaries and automation starts getting into key procedures. New ways of software licensing are evolving simultaneously.Disaster Recovery srategies and backup policies differ, giving better and efficient Recovery Time Objectives and Recovery Point Objectives.
Automation and orchestration play key roles in operating a hybrid cloud. The former addresses a wide range of agility issues, including handling ITIL incidents, application and service provisioning, cloud management, and maintenance operations. Service integration and DevOps enable catalog-based services and rapid application release, delivering agile and experience-oriented business. While a lot of work has already gone into defining service-oriented frameworks, the question of ‘how firms adopt a cloud TOM’ remains debatable.
Although the right answer will depend on the individual organization’s situation, the organization should establish a new group that is only focused on cloud services and also has the required skills to operate the hybrid cloud. This group will be responsible for defining the future vision and its realization. The team members must take charge of managing cloud service providers, onboarding new workloads, and reworking on the process and operating model. They don’t have a fixed role, instead, they work for their end goal that is preparing the organization for a fulfilling cloud computing journey. Delivering hybrid cloud operations is challenging and needs a well-defined approach and implementation plan. The roadmap must be customized for every client environment. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ cloud management solution. It is a journey driven by integrated maturity of the business strategies, applications, technologies, processes, autonomics, orchestration, security, and resources.
The HCL Perspective
At HCL, we follow a maturity-driven journey. An assessment is carried out at different phases of the operations life cycle, providing the desired state action items, roadmaps, and recommendations. It starts with the introduction of technology and operations alongside standardization and cultivation of a state where future automation and optimization initiatives can be initiated. It is followed by a level up of maturity model, where IT will completely transform into an augmented operations model that accelerates automation, drives self-service, and enhances user experience. Cross-functional collaboration combining technical and operational components for development, delivery, and management of new services is usually the final goal.
We integrate the current IT operations management technologies with cloud management platform functionalities.
With HCL’s DRYiCE automation framework, we introduce automation in IT operations management technologies and cloud management through MyCloud – our own cloud-management platform. MyCloud spans across IaaS and PaaS platforms in the private and public space. The platform brings service governance and orchestration, provisioning, chargeback, and related capabilities.
The journey of a target operating model is, thus, defined as targeting and reducing manual efforts through automation and creation of IT process agility through orchestration.