Migrating to the cloud is the logical next step in the IT evolution for organizations that want to take advantage of on-demand, scalable computing and attractive cost profiles. While cloud benefits are well documented, there are challenges too, including security concerns, the time and resources it takes to make the transition and the management of capacity and performance levels. According to Sumerian, a provider of big data analytics to some of the world’s most innovative companies, with the use of IT analytics, organizations can leverage real data to better plan, migrate and successfully realize their cloud initiatives.
Unlike rudimentary approaches to cloud planning and migration, IT analytics provides multi-dimensional analysis of key considerations, including cost, performance, risk and impact, to ensure initiatives successfully realize their objectives. By capturing and combining data from across the enterprise, IT analytics establishes a “big picture” of the current IT environment, enabling cloud scenarios to be effectively compared and evaluated. By using IT analytics to guide decision making, IT departments can rest assured that their chosen cloud initiatives deliver against SLAs, achieve ROI goals and do not expose the business to undue risk.
The following five steps, using IT analytics as a framework, provides a pragmatic way of approaching cloud initiatives:
Step One: Baseline the Current Environment
To gain a clear understanding of which IT services offer the most value to the business from cloud implementation, it is vital to understand how existing IT services are consumed. IT analytics collects infrastructure utilization metrics and application log files to determine a baseline of how current services are performing and what their demand and capacity profiles look like. The assessment provides quantifiable findings to accurately scope cloud requirements and to base investment justifications.
Step Two: Factor In Future Needs with Scenario Modeling
For cloud migrations to be successful, future business requirements must be addressed as part of the planning process. Scenario modeling provides precise answers to “what-if” question and helps IT organizations to safely predict the outcome of future changes and how they will impact the cloud supplier or option under consideration.
Step Three: Consider Ongoing Management
If externally managed cloud services are being considered, it is crucial to retain governance and visibility of them in house to ensure that there is an independent, unbiased way of monitoring them. Under-performing services could damage a company’s brand and customer confidence. Using IT analytics to maintain visibility of cloud services independently can ensure that below-par performance issues are proactively tracked and resolved.
Step Four: Compare Cloud Options through Benchmarking
Once an organization has a clear understanding of which IT services offer the best fit for cloud, they can then evaluate cloud technology (for private implementations) or suppliers (for public or hybrid options). By benchmarking the various offerings and associated costs of each cloud option against the baseline, IT analytics provides precise like-for-like comparisons, indicating what option provides the most appropriate fit against key performance, risk, cost or ROI requirements.
Step Five: Evaluate Success
When the cloud option has been agreed upon and implementation is underway, the baseline analysis can then be repeated to quantify the actual outcomes of the new cloud environment. This enables IT teams to understand whether the migration is meeting service-quality requirements and on track to reach ROI objectives. Unlike basic methods of tracking such progress, IT analytics’ ability to independently quantify the results is powerful for negotiating improvements from suppliers and demonstrating value to the board.
“IT analytics provide a scientific basis to consider things like cost, performance and risk to ensure a cloud initiative is successful – without it, firms are flying blind into the cloud and putting themselves at risk,” said Peter Duffy, CTO, Sumerian. “With IT analytics, CIOs can gain precise answers to ensure they chose the right cloud service providers and technology options to maximize return-on-IT spend and deliver real business value.”