Architecting your cloud for maximum flexibility

According to Gartner, Cloud Computing has been growing at 4.5 times the rate of IT spending each year since 2009. This trend is only expecting to become more exaggerated, as cloud computing is expected to grow at more than six times the rate of IT spend through the year 2020. New trends like containerization and serverless architectures are in essence cloud computing trends, and as the world becomes more connected, users are demanding everything in a software defined way. We expect everything to come to us in the form of IoT applications or services that all need to run in a cloud environment. In fact, the creation of data from IoT devices is increasing more than ever as the cloud continues to expand; By 2025, it is predicted that more than 80 billion IoT devices will be online, creating over 180 zettabytes of data, much of which will be in the cloud. With the ever increasing in popularity of the cloud, comes the needs to define your cloud strategy with flexibility in mind, to meet any new demands.

 

Once a cloud strategy is established, the next step is to begin putting everything together. With all the investment in cloud computing the next question becomes, “What do we want out of cloud computing?” That might be a big ask, but with the constant and growing influx of data, a good place to start might be to think about flexibility. Adopting an open, hybrid, business oriented cloud, focused on digital transformation and accelerated time to market can point you in the right direction here. In order to do this you should start by identifying the most common private cloud use cases within your sphere and applying example architectures over them to fit your needs.

 

Often the conversation around cloud flexibility defaults to a hybrid option – a mix between public and private clouds. However, it is important to know that there are different types of hybrid clouds and that they all use different technologies. In order to find out your answer to this issue, we would recommend creating a roadmap and that begins with understanding what the overall goal is for your environment. Bring in all the stakeholders of the decision making process – the business units that you want  ultimately to be benefitting. Your roadmap doesn’t have to be multiple years down the road, but it should be built to handle change, and to ensure flexibility for that change, which will inevitably come. By using a forward-looking approach like this, you can take advantage of new capabilities and functionality of the cloud as it continues to innovate and expand forward.

 

Some considerations when planning for cloud for maximum flexibility:

 

    • Do you need Cloudbursting? Cloudbursting is a concept in a hybrid cloud environment where if an application that is running in an on-premise private cloud or a local virtual infrastructure requires additional resources, it can “burst” into a public cloud environment. This allows you to augment your on-premise infrastructure with the public cloud’s resources until they are not longer needed. Cloudbursting is a kind of spin up/spin down computing model and is becoming a popular concept in hybrid cloud environments

 

  • Will you be hosting Web and ecommerce applications? Web and ecommerce applications that require public facing access outside of your firewall are good candidates for a hybrid clouds, where you can slice your application content between multiple public cloud providers, and internal private clouds.
  • Regulatory Requirements Some of the best use cases for hybrid cloud adoption are actually due to regulatory concerns, where data can not leave a certain country for instance. In that example, the contents that can not leave the country would stay in a private on-premise cloud, however, other parts of the application could be contained within public cloud like stateless web servers that do not need to adhere to regulations in order to expand in a flexible manner
  • Enterprise IT
  • Will you need Geo-Redundancy? Applications that need geo-redundant setup could benefit from a hybrid cloud model, dividing the services and endpoints between multiple public and private clouds. For example, in case of some kind of disaster where your private cloud fails, recovering the service in a public cloud could be the recovery option. You could also use a hybrid cloud to mitigate data loss risks
  • Best Practices As a best practice it is useful to build multiple environments while you test, develop and eventually promote your application environments to production.

 

How to go from Idea to Production; Discovery and Analysis  

The creation of a roadmap is an important step in ideation, but once you are done, where do you go from there?  The next step is discovery and analysis. The cloud decision process is not always easy because of the multitudes of both technical and non-technical choices, but the first thing to do is to conduct a careful analysis of your choices. Analyze all of your cloud service options. Collect all of the relevant options along with a thorough discovery and analysis of your current processes. This is a critical step in getting your idea into productions because it can significantly impact the established procedures in how the different operational and even development teams interact.

 

The selection and proof-of-concept (POC) stages are closely linked, in that POC can serve as a closer inspection of the service choices that came out of your initial evaluation. In a POC, you should begin to evaluate technologies as they apply to your specific business requirements. In addition, during this stage, you should start to gain insight into your would-be integration process.

 

The next step in getting your idea to production involves architecture design, which may be one of the most important decisions you will make as it will impact the direction that your IT will take for years to come. It is not easy to go back and retrofit if you don’t get design right, so pay close attention here. In this step you’ll have to once again work closely with all of the stakeholders in your organization, in addition to your vendor partners, to help asses your workload and applications. Some basic items to work through in your design process are as follows:

 

  • Discovery Nail down the requirements with your IT and business partners
  • Design and Build Ensure the design is tailored explicitly to your specific business strategies and use cases
  • Testing/POC  Validation is done here to prove out the architecture and design
  • Migration Plan  Set the strategy in how you will need to migrate your apps to establish the automation methodologies and operations processes

Circle back to Cloud Strategy

Remember all of the things I wrote about in my last post? You’re going to want to circle back around to them here. Consider your cloud strategy and align where you are currently with where you’d like to go in the future.

 

Architecting Your Cloud For Maximum Flexibility concludes with examples of different hybrid cloud architectures and an overview of how you can transform your cloud infrastructure with the help of Red Hat and Red Hat Consulting. Red Hat Consulting offers a four phase rollout for your cloud infrastructure initiative that starts with a Discovery Session. A typical Red Hat Discovery Session starts with a focus on uses cases and identification of challenges. Along with Red Hat Consulting, you’ll look at possible technologies and solutions and create an action plan together to address any opportunities. Red Hat Consulting is a great way to see your cloud transformation through from beginning to end, while being supported by the experts. Check out the Red Hat Consulting Discovery Session Datasheet to learn more about Red Hat’s Discovery Sessions and when you’re ready click here to talk to a Red Hat consultant.

 

Stay tuned to this blog for recaps of the next webinars in the five-part Private Cloud series, and remember to go here to signup for them. As always, feel free to let us know your thoughts on cloud, and any initiatives your organization might be involved in, in the comments section below.

 

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