Cloud migration is now “table stakes,” as they say in Las Vegas — the term itself means it’s the least you have to put down to even get into the game. A large number of organizations across all industries have now ticked the cloud box and are beginning to think about the higher tier structures and more ingrained business model processes that will now define the way they work with the cloud.
First, let’s think about what exactly we’re moving here; Few people move without their personal belongings – and for enterprise software users, many of their most valuable assets (perhaps their crown jewels) are in an IT system for records and actions, such as: B. your SAP application landscape, encapsulated and managed. These critical systems are now moving to the cloud, but the honest truth is Many companies are not familiar enough with the cloud computing model itself to fully plan the further operational process once they get there.
Those who have successfully planned and executed their migration strategy and processes are accelerating their market dominance through the new and expansive value chains that the cloud brings. Nowadays cloud migration is not a nightmare; it’s something we do in our sleep and it’s the same as always.
Here are five key pillars to cloud operations success:
1. Resources and competencies
One of the biggest challenges for many organizations is a lack of resources and a lack of internal competencies. It’s one thing to have an appropriate base of skills to cover SAP (or other) operations, and it’s another to have deep knowledge of cloud migration, deployment and management. And it’s rare to find these two competencies in one place, within a single organization, and at the right level of maturity.
Moving to the cloud typically requires working with a higher level of system complexity, with larger data sets and models becoming more complicated and sophisticated. Integrations, regulations and business processes are all part of the challenge here.
Businesses need to invest long-term in the skills, organizations, competencies, and partnerships to operate in the cloud to be prepared and able to handle these complexities.
2. Cloud is an IT business model
Businesses need to understand the positive impact cloud computing can have on their business models and the way they develop business strategies for the future. This isn’t just a technology change; This is absolutely a business model change that can happen concurrently with (if not before) cloud platform migration projects.
Organizations must also ensure they have skills that cover the intended operating model of working in the cloud, including network and database management, automation, application programming interfaces (APIs), and development and operations (DevOps).
Take cloud finance as an example. Of course, the good thing about the cloud is the ability to just click a button and add more instances, but that can quickly escalate. Ensuring that a company has employees with excellent FinOps (financial operations) for the cloud is a prerequisite for success in this space.
Another good example is DevOps and the ways of working enabled by the cloud. For many years, a DevOps approach has been touted as the ideal for deploying and running SAP environments. The idea is to leverage modern deployment and operations approaches to unlock additional value from the investments customers have made in their SAP inventory and licenses.
The benefits of a DevOps approach are many, such as: B. Increased agility, separation of concerns and better overall management. Equally important, this approach results in a solution that better engages a broader range of contributors.
3. Security 101
When the “virtual crown jewels” moved to the cloud, you would expect G4S to be in place and all of the most valuable items locked securely. However, at this stage of cloud evolution, there should be no misunderstanding: cloud computing is secure.
With all the hyperscalers (Google, Microsoft, AWS – and we could add Facebook and Alibaba, for example) offering Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) today, there is a shared responsibility model. This means that the hyperscaler provider is responsible for everything up to the hypervisor, which is the layer of software code used to run or manage virtual machines on a cloud data center server, on-premises or in the public cloud. Hyperscaler organizations are very well accredited today, with all the verifiable certifications that customers need to know.
The shared responsibility factor means that customers themselves, or their implementation partner of choice, must ensure that every instance and connection channel in the cloud is set up appropriately. Security frameworks are constantly being improved – this is probably the #1 topic of concern and discussion, not an afterthought. Moving to the cloud can now be more secure than our previous on-premises existence.
4. Interlacing integration
It’s also important to consider other key projects that could be disrupted by moving a SAP-level system to the cloud. There is no simple blueprint for running a selection of large enterprise software platforms in the cloud, so flexibility is essential.
Automation can play a crucial role in facilitating seamless integration between cloud and on-premises SAP applications, from the start of the migration to the operational phase at the end. Should a team member need to access legacy SAP systems in an archive, it is imperative that the process is as quick and smooth as possible. What could take days should only take a few hours or even minutes.
By automating processes throughout the migration process and beyond, organizations can reap the benefits of the cloud without the risk of an operational burden.
5. Room for scalability
Every intelligently engineered and thoughtfully built enterprise software project has a deep vein of scalability planning running through its core. It is important to understand the point at which applications and data services stop functioning as originally built and delivered when tasked with ramping up at what may be a massively increased scale.
The two traditional types of scalability may differ in approach, but both require the same thoughtful process. Scaling up (up or down) increases the capabilities of the existing server by adding more resources, e.g. B. Memory. However, scaling out (in or out) increases the performance of the server, for example by adding more compute units. It should be determined beforehand what kind of scalability is a business priority.
The cloud is inherently scalable, and business needs are known to fluctuate dramatically, so being able to scale up or call back resources at any time is invaluable. Avoiding unnecessary, costly, last-minute changes to IT infrastructure or reducing the risk of investing in additional resources that may or may not be used is a business dream—but achievable only with extensive preparation.
Careful advance planning to identify these potential failure points will ensure that most contingencies are planned and addressed before – not after – they become a problem.
Cloud Evolved as a utility
The cloud has evolved to where many of us in the industry said it would by the turn of the decade. We proposed that it would become the utility-like resource it has become, consumed by the majority of customers in the same way they would tap into gas, electricity or water supplies.
No one is talking about switching to electricity – and one day people may stop talking about switching to solar or some other more sustainable zero-carbon energy source. While some cloud migration is of course still on the table, as we said at the outset, cloud is the new tabletop stake and the use of cloud natives is evolving rapidly.
The focus should now be on how best to run cloud operations in the most secure, productive, and indeed environmentally responsible way.
Chris Calver is Chief Delivery Officer at lemongrass.