Tag Archives: Cloud Work Group

Flying in the Cloud by the Seat of Our Pants

By Chris Harding, The Open Group

In the early days of aviation, when instruments were unreliable or non-existent, pilots often had to make judgments by instinct. This was known as “flying by the seat of your pants.” It was exciting, but error prone, and accidents were frequent. Today, enterprises are in that position with Cloud Computing.

Staying On Course

Flight navigation does not end with programming the flight plan. The navigator must check throughout the flight that the plane is on course.  Successful use of Cloud requires, not only an understanding of what it can do for the business, but also continuous monitoring that it is delivering value as expected. A change of service-level, for example, can have as much effect on a user enterprise as a change of wind speed on an aircraft.

The Open Group conducted a Cloud Return on Investment (ROI) survey in 2011. Then, 55 percent of those surveyed felt that Cloud ROI would be easy to evaluate and justify, although only 35 percent had mechanisms in place to do it. When we repeated the survey in 2012, we found that the proportion that thought it would be easy had gone down to 44 percent, and only 20 percent had mechanisms in place. This shows, arguably, more realism, but it certainly doesn’t show any increased tendency to monitor the value delivered by Cloud. In fact, it shows the reverse. The enterprise pilots are flying by the seats of their pants. (The full survey results are available at http://www.opengroup.org/sites/default/files/contentimages/Documents/cloud_roi_formal_report_12_19_12-1.pdf)

They Have No Instruments

It is hard to blame the pilots for this, because they really do not have the instruments. The Open Group published a book in 2011, Cloud Computing for Business, that explains how to evaluate and monitor Cloud risk and ROI, with spreadsheet examples. The spreadsheet is pretty much the state-of-the-art in Cloud ROI instrumentation.  Like a compass, it is robust and functional at a basic level, but it does not have the sophistication and accuracy of a satellite navigation system. If we want better navigation, we must have better systems.

There is scope for Enterprise Architecture tool vendors to fill this need. As the inclusion of Cloud in Enterprise Architectures becomes commonplace, and Cloud Computing metrics and their relation to ROI become better understood, it should be possible to develop the financial components of Enterprise Architecture modeling tools so that the business impact of the Cloud systems can be seen more clearly.

The Enterprise Flight Crew

But this is not just down to the architects. The architecture is translated into systems by developers, and the systems are operated by operations staff. All of these people must be involved in the procurement and configuration of Cloud services and their monitoring through the Cloud buyers’ life cycle.

Cloud is already bringing development and operations closer together. The concept of DevOps, a paradigm that stresses communication, collaboration and integration between software developers and IT operations professionals, is increasingly being adopted by enterprises that use Cloud Computing. This communication, collaboration and integration must involve – indeed must start with – enterprise architects, and it must include the establishment and monitoring of Cloud ROI models. All of these professionals must co-operate to ensure that the Cloud-enabled enterprise keeps to its financial course.

The Architect as Pilot

The TOGAF® architecture development method includes a phase (Phase G) in which the architects participate in implementation governance. The following Phase H is currently devoted to architecture change management, with the objectives of ensuring that the architecture lifecycle is maintained, the architecture governance framework is executed, and the Enterprise Architecture capability meets current requirements. Perhaps Cloud architects should also think about ensuring that the system meets its business requirements, and continues to do so throughout its operation. They can then revisit earlier phases of the architecture development cycle (always a possibility in TOGAF) if it does not.

Flying the Cloud

Cloud Computing compresses the development lifecycle, cutting the time to market of new products and the time to operation of new enterprise systems. This is a huge benefit. It implies closer integration of architecture, development and operations. But this must be supported by proper instrumentation of the financial parameters of Cloud services, so that the architecture, development and operations professionals can keep the enterprise on course.

Flying by the seat of the pants must have been a great experience for the magnificent men in the flying machines of days gone by, but no one would think of taking that risk with the lives of 500 passengers on a modern aircraft. The business managers of a modern enterprise should not have to take that risk either. We must develop standard Cloud metrics and ROI models, so that they can have instruments to measure success.

Dr. Chris Harding is Director for Interoperability and SOA at The Open Group. He has been with The Open Group for more than ten years, and is currently responsible for managing and supporting its work on interoperability, including SOA and interoperability aspects of Cloud Computing. He is a member of the BCS, the IEEE and the AEA, and is a certified TOGAF practitioner.

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The Right Way to Transform to the World of Cloud Computing

By E.G. Nadhan, HP Enterprise Services

There are myriad options available for moving to cloud computing today involving the synthetic realization and integration of different components that enable the overall solution. It is important that the foundational components across the compute, network, storage and facility domains are realized and integrated the right way for enterprises to realize the perceived benefits of moving to the cloud. To that end, this post outlines the key factors to be addressed when embarking on this transformation journey to the cloud:

  • Right Cloud. There are multiple forces at play when the CIOs of today consider moving to the cloud, further complicated by the availability of various deployment models — private, public, hybrid, etc. It is important that enterprises deploy solutions to the right mix of cloud environments. It is not a one-environment-fits-all scenario. Enterprises need to define the criteria that enable the effective determination of the optimal mix of environments that best addresses their scenarios.
  • Right Architecture. While doing so, it is important that there is a common reference architecture across various cloud deployment models that is accommodative of the traditional environments. This needs to be defined factoring in the overall IT strategy for the enterprise in alignment with the business objectives. A common reference architecture addresses the over-arching concepts across the various environments while accommodating nuances specific to each one.
  • Right Services. I discussed in one of my earlier posts that the foundational principles of cloud have evolved from SOA. Thus, it is vital that enterprises have a well-defined SOA strategy in place that includes the identification of services used across the various architectural layers within the enterprise, as well as the services to be availed from external providers.
  • Right Governance. While governance is essential within the enterprise, it needs to be extended to the extra-enterprise that includes the ecosystem of service providers in the cloud. This is especially true if the landscape comprises a healthy mix of various types of cloud environments. Proper governance ensures that the right solutions are deployed to the right environments while addressing key areas of concern like security, data privacy, compliance regulations, etc.
  • Right Standard. Conformance to industry standards is always a prudent approach for any solution — especially for the cloud. The Open Group recently published the first Cloud Computing Technical Standard — Service Oriented Cloud Computing Infrastructure which bears strong consideration in addition to other standards from NIST and other standards bodies.

These factors come together to define the “Right” way of transforming to the cloud. In addition, there are other factors that are unique to the transformation of applications as I outline in the Cloud Computing Transformation Bill of RIghts.

In addition to the publication of the SOCCI standard, the Cloud Work Group within The Open Group is addressing several aspects in this space including the Reference Architecture, Governance and Security.

How is your Transformation to the cloud going? Are there other factors that come to your mind? Please let me know.

HP Distinguished Technologist, E.G.Nadhan has over 25 years of experience in the IT industry across the complete spectrum of selling, delivering and managing enterprise level solutions for HP customers. He is the founding co-chair for The Open Group SOCCI project and is also the founding co-chair for the Open Group Cloud Computing Governance project. Twitter handle @NadhanAtHP.

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Filed under Cloud, Cloud/SOA, Service Oriented Architecture, Standards