7 Habits of Highly Effective Cloud Architects – Part One

In today’s ever changing IT organization, many IT Architects are evaluating popular cloud services to manage their dynamic workloads. All too often they quickly discover that most popular cloud services present a thorny dilemma:

  • Commodity infrastructure services offer scalability and low cost resources, but they require applications to be rewritten to proprietary formats and APIs at considerable expense.
  • Software tools such as VMware or Citrix help create internal clouds, but require additional hardware, large capital expense and time- consuming IT implementation.

Neither approach is optimal or helps those IT architects move their dynamic workloads to the cloud quickly and cost effectively. In this 3-part blog series we will cover the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Cloud Architects. Specifically we will explore why businesses today need cloud solution alternatives that enable:

  • Users to run applications unchanged in the cloud via a self-service interface, and
  • IT managers to scale capacity on-demand, reduce costs, gain visibility and maintain control.

Habit #1: Identify Workloads Suitable For The Cloud That Give You Easy Wins

Enterprise CIOs want cloud computing solutions that

  1. Deliver agility and immediate cost savings.
  2. Can be adopted incrementally without posing a major risk to business systems.
  3. Avoid IT distractions; enable IT to focus on the core business.

Enterprise Cloud Computing Strategy

Dynamic workloads such as application development, QA, IT sandbox, training and consulting POC environments are prime candidates for cloud-based solutions.  When expensive in-house data center resources are provisioned to serve dynamic workloads, they are often underutilized due to uneven demand. Since dynamic workloads don’t impact mission-critical business systems, moving them to the cloud is low risk.

Skytap approach:  Skytap provides an easy on-ramp to move your existing dynamic workloads to the cloud. You can import your VMware images easily. You can create use case specific “golden images” and provision new environments on-demand.  Just as easily as you created them, you can export Skytap environments back to your data center.  No proprietary file formats or APIs are involved.

Habit #2: Assess if you need to re-architect your applications to use the cloud

Ask any IT architect to name the platforms and tools he/she uses to enable the business, and you’ll likely to hear a long list. IT architects today have many operating systems (Windows, Linux, Open Solaris), application servers / platforms (.NET, J2EE, etc.) and databases (SQL Server, Oracle, DB2 etc.) deployed in their organization.  Most cloud services only support a limited set of operating systems, databases and tools making them ill-suited for existing applications. They are designed to run new applications.

Skytap Cloud

Choosing one of those services is not a viable option for many IT architects as they may be required to re-architect or rewrite the applications, which is very expensive and time consuming.  You need to assess the cloud fit for your applications before selecting a solution.

Skytap approach: Skytap supports multiple operating systems, databases, and application servers that run on the x86 platform. Skytap meets the complex networking needs of enterprise applications. Finally, Skytap provides IPSec VPN capability to enable secure, seamless connectivity to in-house systems so you can better leverage your current investments.

The next post we will cover Habits 3-5 or you can download the entire white paper and learn all 7 Habits of Highly Effective Cloud Architects.

Nate Odell, Director of Marketing – Skytap

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