The future of blockchain, quantum computing and artificial intelligence, are all burning topics at the moment. Each of these are hugely impactful and will have a profound effect on society.
However, most of the organisations that I speak to are grappling with issues that might not attract the same attention or media focus. Many are simply trying to deal with the cold hard realities of managing their cloud environment.
A recent research paper by Forrester on Service Orchestration highlighted “81% of organisations recognise that optimising cloud applications or workloads is a critical or high priority.”
Many of these environments have history and have grown over time. As a result, many are poorly planned and leave huge management challenges for IT leaders. They are being continually pressured to reduce their costs, while maintaining the required agility to support a digitalising business.
Indeed Gartner, has also predicted “businesses could be overspending by more than 70%” on cloud.
Saying that these environments are poorly planned is no slight against the architects and engineering teams who created the environments in the first place.
A few years ago when a cloud first strategy was the top of the CTO wish list, simply getting to cloud was seen as an accomplishment. Unfortunately, few were planned with the rigor required to implement the controls that allow for full visibility and control.
Now, “cloud optimisation” is bubbling to the top of the agenda. And with it, organisations are finding they simply don’t have the rigor, control, standardisation or technology to efficiently deliver an optimised cloud environment.
Let me give you some practical examples, which may be related to topics that you might be tackling:
- How do you right size your storage needs when you do not know what is depending on the current storage?
- How do you know which workloads can be terminated if you don’t know who the business owners are?
- How can you consider moving from dedicated databases to DBaaS (Database-as-a-Servive) without knowing the associated application architecture?
Control and identification are the foundational building blocks of an optimised estate; you need to know what is there before you can do anything meaningful to make a positive change.
I met with an organisation in this position a few weeks ago. They had just completed a wholesale migration to a hyperscaler in a “lift & shift” model.
Through this migration, they had not redesigned and transformed anything, instead they had a plan to “get to cloud” and then to “optimise once they get there.”
While this method has its merits, it’s imperative to retain management buy-in (and subsequently budget) to the phase 2 part of this plan.
This particular organisation doesn’t have an allocated budget for the optimisation phase. Instead they are relying on building a business case that shows a return on investment for optimising their estate now. They are now effectively in the cloud and burning fairly expensive resources without clear and traceable business benefits.
Again, this is achievable as optimisation will clearly bring an ROI. However, my advice is always to avoid having to restart at the business case stage and allocate budget from the original programme in the optimisation phase. Otherwise, you are simply delaying the inevitable.
Now, this organisation is analysing their expenditure and planning to complete an operational transformation for their cloud usage and management. This includes setting policies, supported by a tagging regime, and switching their focus from a traditional capacity management focus to a financial management and quota-based approach to their cloud utilisation.
So if you find that you can relate to this organisation’s position, or if you are about to undergo something similar, my advice to you is to transform in parallel with your optimisation efforts.
Make the quick wins that you can do, while also investing in the transformational change programme that is required. This will truly optimise your environment and bring the cost savings that your organisation is seeking, while also making your life of managing the environment easier for the long term!
Want to find out more on the Forrester research? Download the white paper Service Orchestration: Increasing The Efficiency Of Hybrid IT.