4 simple steps to cloud adoption!

It has become vitally important for organizations to be cloud players. They must be innovative with their IT transformation approaches in building flexible and agile business systems such as customer resource management (CRM) systems, storage systems, complex process automation and for leveraging social media and mobile technologies. Companies believe this will help them respond to rapidly changing customer demands at a faster pace than the traditional deployments would allow.

There are multiple cloud adoption strategies to choose from, but I want to simplify one adoption strategy into four steps: assess, plan, adopt and optimize.

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 Step one: Assess

  • Assess the cloud deployment challenges, opportunities and success rates in the market
  • Understand the business value, IT feasibility and success factors for your organization to deploy your applications in cloud
  • Evaluate and document the success stories, risks and barriers involved in cloud adoption
  • Assess the cloud vendors for cloud partnerships

This analysis will provide definitive guidance for evaluating the pros and cons. I recommend this for an efficient and effective migration.

Step two: Plan

It is important for organizations to develop a customized cloud strategy. They should plan to leverage existing collateral with software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) strategies, as well as review applicable deployment models, reference architectures and more to assemble a customized road map and architecture.

  • Identify applications that are quick to market and critical to business in terms of revenue and customer satisfaction
  • For early adopters, it is a good strategy to choose applications that are stand-alone and simple to migrate so the disruption is limited to that application and focus is on learning from the cloud adoption processes
  • For those organizations that are on the path to enhancing their customer and business value through cloud, it is a good idea to think about IT innovation, productivity, agility and efficiency while identifying applications for potential cloud deployments, then they can apply their cloud experience to deploying more complex systems
  • It is important to know the suitability of public, private or hybrid clouds and the cloud models — SaaS, IaaS and PaaS, or a combination
  • Remember to identify and document what you expect to gain for your business SLAs (service level agreements), what you plan to deliver to your customer Quality of Service (QoS) and what the terms of understanding are (policies and governance) with your cloud vendor. This will help develop a cloud strategy for a successful, well-managed cloud deployments
  • Engage the IT architect and development teams to develop suitable use cases for this deployment
  • Research cloud providers and engage business capture teams to determine suitable payment plans

Step three: Adopt

The planning and adoption phases are closely woven together and have multiple steps that need reiteration. For example, while reviewing the collateral during planning, it is equally important to understand available cloud computing and adoption standards (NIST Guidelines, OpenStack adoptability and portability standards, as well as methodologies for migrating applications).

  • Leverage the cloud deployment architectures you developed in the planning phase and develop application migration strategies, use cases and scripts
  • Identify the servers, the data stores and the software to realize migration road maps

You can leverage IBM Cloud computing technologies and a large corpus of cloud collateral on developerWorks.

Step four: Optimize

Optimizing business processes and software licenses will help you realize the benefits of improved organizational efficiency to provide increased value to the organization and the customer.

  • Conduct “lessons learned sessions” after each cloud deployment and refine your processes and methods accordingly
  • Develop required skill road maps and assemble skilled resources ahead of a deployment

Clearly there are many benefits to migrating applications to cloud. A few noteworthy benefits are called out in the diagram below:

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Globally, an increased number of organizations are adopting cloud deployment models to promote and sustain the market advantage.  It is inevitable that more organizations will want to migrate their applications to the cloud mainstream and be part of this digital and mobile transformation around us.

It is vitally important to stay interconnected and access information quickly to gain a competitive advantage. It is also crucial, however, for organizations to clearly ascertain the real advantages for themselves and to assemble and adopt a proven road map to cloud deployments.

So in summary, assess the value of cloud for your own organization; plan a simple application deployment first, and gradually migrate to planning for enterprise systems; adopt through learning and strategic options and finally optimize your assessments, planning, deployment methods and processed and continuously refine your strategy.

I believe that cloud adoption has become increasingly easier and possible because of the cloud-ecosystem of products, vendors and a vast library of customer references that we have available to us today. And this four-step process should help simplify the strategy.

I invite you to comment on this. What do you think? Do these four steps cover it all? If this were to be a recipe for success, then which other key ingredient is missing?  Let me know. Post your comments and connect with me on Twitter….

A practical guide to platform as a service: PaaS benefits and characteristics!

PaaS BenefitsOne of the major benefits of platform as a service PaaS is its ability to improve a developer’s productivity. PaaS provides direct support for business agility by enabling rapid development with faster and more frequent delivery of functionality. It does this through continuous integration techniques and automatic application deployment. PaaS also enables developers to realize the cloud’s broader benefits.

This includes:

  • Scalability, including rapid allocation and deallocation of resources with a pay-as-you-use model (noting that the use of individual resources can vary greatly over the life cycle of an application)
  • Reduced capital expenditure
  • Reduced lead times with on-demand availability of resources
  • Self-service with reduced administration costs
  • Reduced skill requirements
  • Support of team collaboration
  • Ability to add new users quickly

The automation support one receives in a PaaS environment also provides productivity improvements and consistency in delivery. Along with automation is the ability for closer equivalence of the development, test and production environments, again improving consistency and reliability of delivery. This is one aspect of a DevOps/agile development approach that is ideal for a PaaS environment.

[Related post: A practical guide to platform as a service: What is PaaS?]

In addition, PaaS systems typically enable the sharing of resources across multiple development teams, avoiding the need for wasteful allocation of multiple assets of the same type in separate silos.

PaaS systems typically build in security and data-protection features, including resilience capabilities such as replication and backups. This can improve security and reduce the need for in-house security skills.

The provision of sophisticated, off-the-shelf capabilities as services enables the rapid creation and evolution of applications that address business requirements. This is especially important when considering mobile and web applications that include social and Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities.

Business applications typically require integration and involve aggregation of data and services from multiple existing systems. PaaS systems usually feature prebuilt integration and aggregation components to speed and simplify necessary development work.

PaaS systems can be used to build applications that are then offered to other customers and users as a software as a service (SaaS) offering. The requirements of SaaS applications, including scalability and the ability to handle multiple tenants, can usually be met by the cloud computing capabilities of a PaaS system.

In our next installment, we’ll provide guidance for acquiring and using PaaS offerings.

Interested in learning more about PaaS and getting a better picture of its implementation best practices? Check out my post on PaaS basics and download the Cloud Standards Customer Council’s “Practical Guide to Platform as a Service.”

A brief history of cloud computing!!

Software-Defined-Environments-CloudOne of the first questions asked with the introduction of a new technology is: “When was it invented?” Other questions like “When was it first mentioned?” and “What are the prospects for its future?” are also common.

When we think of cloud computing, we think of situations, products and ideas that started in the 21st century. This is not exactly the whole truth. Cloud concepts have existed for many years. Let’s go back to that time.

It was a gradual evolution that started in the 1950s with mainframe computing.

Multiple users were capable of accessing a central computer through dumb terminals, whose only function was to provide access to the mainframe. Because of the costs to buy and maintain mainframe computers, it was not practical for an organization to buy and maintain one for every employee. Nor did the typical user need the large (at the time) storage capacity and processing power that a mainframe provided. Providing shared access to a single resource was the solution that made economical sense for this sophisticated piece of technology.

(Related: Infographic: A brief history of cloud — 1950s to present day)

After some time, around 1970, the concept of virtual machines (VMs) was created.

Using virtualization software like VMware, it became possible to execute one or more operating systems simultaneously in an isolated environment. Complete computers (virtual) could be executed inside one physical hardware which in turn can run a completely different operating system.

The VM operating system took the 1950s’ shared access mainframe to the next level, permitting multiple distinct computing environments to reside on one physical environment. Virtualization came to drive the technology, and was an important catalyst in the communication and information evolution.

In the 1990s, telecommunications companies started offering virtualized private network connections.

Historically, telecommunications companies only offered single dedicated point–to-point data connections. The newly offered virtualized private network connections had the same service quality as their dedicated services at a reduced cost. Instead of building out physical infrastructure to allow for more users to have their own connections, telecommunications companies were now able to provide users with shared access to the same physical infrastructure.

The following list briefly explains the evolution of cloud computing:

• Grid computing: Solving large problems with parallel computing
• Utility computing: Offering computing resources as a metered service
• SaaS: Network-based subscriptions to applications
• Cloud computing: Anytime, anywhere access to IT resources delivered dynamically as a service

Now let’s talk a bit about the present.

SoftLayer is one of the largest global providers of cloud computing infrastructure.

IBM already has platforms in its portfolio that include private, public and hybrid cloud solutions. SoftLayer guarantees an even more comprehensive infrastructure as a service (IaaS) solution. While many companies look to maintain some applications in data centers, many others are moving to public clouds.

Even now, the purchase of bare metal can be modeled in commercial cloud (for example, billing by usage or put another way, physical server billing by the hour). The result of this is that a bare metal server request with all the resources needed, and nothing more, can be delivered with a matter of hours.

In the end, the story is not finished here. The evolution of cloud computing has only begun. What do you think the future holds for cloud computing? Connect with me on Twitter….

Enabling hybrid cloud apps and multi-speed IT

With the evolution of the cloud, startups seem to have it easy. They come up with an idea, implement it on the cloud, and deploy continuously right away.

For companies that have developed software for years, either for internal use or to sell, things are more complicated. Those companies invested in their applications and will use them as long as they provide needed function.

Consider the anonymized company “GroceryX.” For years, it had a rewards program. At first, the program ran in the company’s enterprise and gathered data from customers, including demographic data, buying habits, and purchase data. GroceryX used that data to send offers to the customers in the rewards program. Now, the company has a new idea. Through a mobile app, it will provide customers with tailored content that is based on the data from its corporate database. To make that idea a reality, GroceryX needs hybrid cloud.

Hybrid cloud and multi-speed IT

A hybrid cloud application is a complex enterprise application that spans both cloud-based systems of engagement and systems of record, such as mainframe-based transactional systems or traditional applications that are hosted on data centers.

multispeed_it

To develop the mobile rewards program app, GroceryX forms a new team that acts like a startup and develops on the cloud. The company also picks the cloud platform where it will develop the mobile app and design an excellent mobile customer experience. One need still exists, though: The app must pull data from the traditional customer data application.

The customer data application team has existed for years, and it releases updates as new function is needed. That team and the new team deliver on different schedules, a concept known as multi-speed IT. Developing hybrid cloud applications requires tracking technical dependencies across multiple teams, developing robust APIs, and ensuring that teams work together toward a common goal.

By / August 24, 2016

With new data center, growth accelerates for Korea cloud ecosystem

IBM Cloud Data Center MapKorea’s public cloud sector is growing exponentially. According to IDC research, public cloud revenue in the country is expected to increase from $445 million last year to around $1 billion in 2019.

All that growth is going to mean increased demand for infrastructure. That’s a big reason why IBM is teaming with SK Holdings to open a new IBM Cloud Data Center just outside of Seoul in Pangyo. Built with a pod design, the data center will have the capacity for thousands of physical servers and will offer cloud infrastructure services including bare metal servers, virtual servers, storage, security services and networking.

Goodhyun Kim, a well-known developer and IT columnist in Korea, said:

Cloud computing has rapidly become a key driver of digital transformation throughout Korea. By making IBM Cloud and its easy, fast, and robust APIs and services available on Bluemix to local developers, I anticipate that we will rapidly see a whole new wave of cloud-based innovation across Korea.

Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president of IBM Cloud, said that the new data center will “bring the local expertise, platform and data services that gives Korean customers the ability to compete on a global scale.

The new facility is the 47th in the IBM global network of Cloud Data Centers and the ninth in the Asia-Pacific region. For companies in Korea, the new data center offers the opportunity to keep data local for the purposes of security, flexibility or performance. But it also enables users to access a global network to drive expansion into worldwide markets.

Local startups and IT developers who use the data center will have access to a cognitive cloud platform for creating applications as well as the Bluemix cloud platform and its 150 APIs.

A few of the Korean businesses already on board with IBM Cloud include:

  • Gravity, a video game maker and pioneer in massively multiplayer online roleplaying games
  • UpRoot, a data security startup
  • Coolio, a social content analysis app developer
  • Amorepacific, a global beauty products company

Likewise, local universities are getting involved to provide students with cloud-based education and training.

The new data center builds on the existing relationship between IBM and SK Holdings. Jung-ho Park, CEO of SK Holdings, said the new center will serve as “the base camp to support digital innovation for customers’ businesses by converging digital technologies such as IoT, Big data and AI.”

Learn more about IBM cloud computing solutions in Korea.

By / August 25, 2016

IBM expands partner ecosystem for VMware users moving to the cloud

More and more organizations are moving their enterprise workloads to the cloud, but they don’t just get there through magic. Often, there’s a lot of expense and risk involved. Occasionally, entire IT operations have to be overhauled. It’s a big challenge.

To face down that challenge, IBM and VMware joined forces earlier this year to help companies move their existing VMware workloads from on-premises environments to the cloud. So far, over 500 VMware clients have tapped IBM Cloud and its almost 50 security-rich cloud data centers to help with the transition.

To make hybrid cloud adoption even faster and easier, today IBM and VMware launched VMware Cloud Foundation on IBM Cloud, a unified platform with compute, storage and network virtualization solutions built in. Not only does this give clients consistent architecture that is based on VMware Validated Designs, it also enables to implement and deploy a VMware software-defined environment in hours versus weeks by automatically provisioning the Cloud Foundation stack on IBM Cloud. Enterprises can then move workloads to the cloud without any changes to them and can continue using the same familiar tools and existing scripts to manage IBM-hosted Cloud Foundation environment.

Of course, no one can overcome a huge challenge alone. It takes teamwork. That’s why IBM is continuing to grow its partner ecosystem to support VMware’s Software-Defined Data Center environments. Here’s just a handful of IBM partners who are helping ease the move to the cloud:

  • HyTrust, which has announced new capabilities for its workload security platform to help organizations reduce risk, automate compliance, and ensure availability in virtualized and cloud environments.
  • Veeam Software is helping organizations meet recovery times for all applications and data via a new kind of availability solution that delivers high-speed recovery, data loss avoidance, verified recoverability, leveraged data and complete visibility for VMware Cloud Foundation on IBM Cloud. Veeam is integrated into the Cloud Foundation and vCenter Server offerings on IBM Cloud announced at VMworld. It provides backup and instant virtual machine recovery for the VMware management stack.
  • BMSIX, an IBM partner in Brazil. They’re helping customers such as Multiplus move seamlessly to cloud by providing migration services to manage their entire VMware software portfolio.
  • Zerto, a hypervisor-based business continuity and disaster recovery software. Its ability to reduce downtime to near seconds, restore point tracking, and perform uninterrupted testing and storage-agnostic replication make it an excellent choice for customers looking to minimize downtime.

And then there’s Intel Corporation, which is collaborating with IBM to deliver workload-optimized performance through the use of the Intel Xeon processor E5 v4 product family while protecting data through chip-level, hardware-enforced security with Intel Trusted Execution Technology. IBM Cloud provides customers with the ability to choose bare metal servers or virtual servers that best meet their workload requirements for performance and value. Additionally, IBM Cloud offers customers bare metal servers to help assure that workloads can only run on trusted hardware in a known location.  The Intel and IBM Cloud collaboration enables businesses to deploy Intel-logoVMware’s technologies with the control, security and transparency to accelerate enterprise hybrid cloud deployments.

Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Corporation’s Data Center Group Vice President General Manager for the Cloud Service Provider Group, had this to say about the collaborative effort: “With the acceleration of enterprise hybrid cloud adoption, organizations are beginning to ask where their data resides and how is it protected. We are pleased to be working with IBM Cloud to deliver a unique set of capabilities that enable hardware enforced security in the IBM Cloud to meet our customers’ data protection and compliance requirements.”

Beyond the corporate partners, IBM also has a team of nearly 4,000 service professionals and advisors with the know-how and expertise to help clients migrate VMware environments to the cloud without the hardships they may have anticipated.

Learn more about IBM cloud solutions.

By / August 29, 2016

Nordea looking for AI and blockchain breakthroughs

Nordea is on the hunt for startups developing new applications in artificial intelligence and blockchain-based products for its next fintech accelerator programme which kicks off in the autumn in Stockholm and Helsinki.

In total, over 200 companies initially applied to participate in the 12-week programme, which will provide selected startups with the opportunity to develop their ideas alongside Nordea and technology partners IBM, Tata Consultancy Services and programme facilitator Nestholma.

The bank has whittled down the group to a long-list of 35 from countries including the US, Russia, Singapore, India, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland, who are presenting their ideas to executives in the bank’s Oslo office for a chance to be in the final 20 to make the cut.

“We are continuously working hard on developing great digital services for our customers, and rely on acquiring expertise and creativity, from outside the organisation too,” says Jan Sirich, head of experimentation & learning at Nordea. “This time, Nordea Startup Accelerator is focusing on ideas in new technology such as cognitive computing, artificial intelligence and blockchain technology. But, we are also interested in other areas, where new technology can help us offer better services to our customers.”

Nordea’s first startup accelerator, which ran in the winter of 2015-2016, saw the top teams pick up EUR600,000 in new financing, with two of them, Jenny and Feelingstream, going on to develop new services for use at the bank.

IBM named a leader in Gartner Magic Quadrant for mobile application development platforms four years in a row

We are thrilled that for the fourth consecutive year, Gartner named IBM a leader in the Magic Quadrant for Mobile Application Development Platforms. IBM is now a leader in seven Magic Quadrants related to mobile:

  • Enterprise Mobility Management Suites
  • Enterprise Content Management
  • Managed Mobility Services
  • Application Security Testing
  • Security Information and Event Management
  • Global Digital Marketing Agencies
  • Mobile Application Development Platforms

Leaders in the report must represent a strong combination of “Ability to Execute” and “Completeness of Vision.” According to Gartner, Inc., “In the MADP sector, this means that Leaders not only are good at cross-platform development, deployment and management across the full life cycle, but also have a good vision of the multichannel enterprise, support for multiple architectures and standards, a solid understanding of IT requirements, and scalable channels and partnerships.”

Mobile continues to be a top priority for enterprises around the world. According to initial findings from the IBM Institute for Business Value study, 77 percent of executives plan to do at least five mobile enterprise initiatives over the next year. As the primary entry point for digital transformation, mobile continues to drive enterprises to rethink how they create unique digital experiences for their customers and employees. IBM is proud to support more than 5,000 clients from around the world in every industry as they transform into mobile enterprises. We are inspired by the innovative solutions our clients are creating with IBM MobileFirst and powered by the cloud.

Here are just a few examples of how IBM MobileFirst is driving mobile development success:

  • ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector bank, needed an innovative way to attract youth and first-time banking customers. ICICI Bank leveraged IBM MobileFirst to develop Pockets, a multi-platform app described as “India’s first digital bank for youth.” The app enables instant creation of a digital wallet with an attached payment card fundable from any bank account. Users can transfer funds to bank accounts as well as to email IDs, mobile numbers and social networks. They can pay bills, request money from family and friends, and open a full-service youth savings account at ICICI Bank. With IBM MobileFirst, ICICI Bank’s mobile customers receive instant access to useful services, while ICICI Bank gains an effective platform for supporting mobility and quickly developing new features and apps.
  • City Furniture, a Florida-based furniture retailer, leveraged IBM’s mobile services and Swift end-to-end to create a mobile solution in just six weeks to transform clearance merchandise from a cost-recovery to a profitable product segment. City Furniture’s new iPad app enables better pricing of merchandise, improves employee efficiency and productivity and is expected to have a potential impact of more than $1.5 million.
  • Security First Insurance, a leading Florida-based homeowners insurance company, improved customer engagement and provided differentiated service in a competitive business environment through the Security First Mobile App powered by IBM MobileFirst. Through an interactive Storm Center leveraging weather and location-based insights, Security First Insurance is putting critical, relevant storm information and preparedness tools in the hands of Floridians, while at the same time cultivating loyalty for its brand.

ICICI Bank, City Furniture and Security First Insurance are just three examples of how IBM MobileFirst drives digital transformation within the enterprise. We believe our leadership in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant reinforces our vision for driving mobile success in the cloud and cognitive era.

Download the full report here.

 

How do the Cost’s compare: AWS & Azure vs. Softlayer Cloud?

In February 2016, Cirba conducted a study across three different public cloud offerings including Amazon® AWS, Microsoft Azure® Virtual Machines and IBM® SoftLayer® Bare Metal to compare costs and investigate the impact of Bare Metal infrastructure. On a sample of just under 1000 workloads, representative for enterprise usage, SoftLayer Bare Metal servers provided 53% cost savings over AWS….

Watch their interesting video demonstrating these results!

For all information and questions you have regarding Softlayer, dont hesitate to contact me 🙂 !!

IBM Cloud SoftLayer and VMWare unbeatable!

IBM is unique in the market with its SoftLayer & VMWare value proposition. With this offering, VMWare clients can seamlessly move workloads from on-premise to cloud. Add to that IBM’s Software-Defined Networking(SDN) and you have the same high security, same tools and support the customer uses already. In addition the product can offer clients 100% uptime since they can move workloads on the fly between Data Center’s with no downtime even for maintenance. This alliance also means that VMWare is only priced by CPU vs normal by CPU and Storage, so big cost saving potential also!