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Whitepaper

What to consider when implementing your cloud

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Successful cloud implementation requires a holistic view of all aspects that will be impacted by the initiative, including people, processes, and technology. Defining and building a complete, effective cloud environment—whether private, public, or hybrid—can transform your business, speed product delivery, and reduce costs.

Cloud solutions have transitioned from emerging technology to critical and strategic infrastructure components. As a result, communications service providers (CSPs) must sort through a proliferation of products and methodologies to make the right choices for their businesses.

Regardless of the type of cloud environment, properly preparing for the shift to cloud operations allows you to do more, faster, and at lower costs. This whitepaper discusses the Red Hat® Consulting methodology for combining people, processes, and technology to deploy an effective, efficient cloud environment and highlights several CSPs that have done so.

FINDING THE RIGHT MIX FOR YOUR BUSINESS

Cloud implementations are increasingly hybrid. Spanning heterogeneous infrastructures, supporting multivendor environments, and integrating existing business workflows into a hybrid cloud environment requires open approaches—including, but not limited to, open source technologies. Within this broad open and hybrid framework, you must also account for the individual needs of your business.

Using a cloud methodology that addresses business requirements, aligns with regulatory constraints, and optimizes performance, cost, and risk delivers:

  • Improved speed to market. Transform ideas into marketable products and services faster. With innovative business models, you can enter new markets, respond more quickly to changing customer demands, collaborate more effectively to innovate and provide business value, and execute strategies that might not have been cost-effective in the past.
  • Near-limitless scalability. Support business growth without requiring time- and resourceintensive infrastructure deployments.
  • Cost savings. Public cloud offerings can transform the economics of network infrastructure from capital-intensive to pay-as-you-go. Service-level agreements guarantee the capabilities you need, when you need them. Costs are tiered and metered to accurately reflect your requirements and usage. All applications—legacy included—run more efficiently with greater use of the underlying infrastructure.
  • Increased accessibility. Cloud technologies bring powerful infrastructure resources to everyone. Organizations of all sizes, across all geographies, can access resources that previously were out of reach. Leading applications and computing infrastructures are available to all without considerable upfront investment.
  • Reduced operating risks. Coupled with intelligent management, cloud implementations can protect sensitive information through automated policy enforcement. Additionally, the resilience of cloud environments increases uptime and simplifies disaster recovery.

Careful deployment and implementation planning is required to gain the most benefit from your cloud environment. A well-defined approach to cloud solutions can provide customized functionality, guarantee quality of service, and simplify migration of legacy applications to a cloud environment. You must examine your business goals, existing infrastructure, and workload requirements for cost, risk, and performance to build the right cloud environment for your organization.

FINDING THE RIGHT BALANCE: PEOPLE, PROCESSES, AND TECHNOLOGY

Transforming your current network infrastructure model to a hybrid cloud model is not just a technology transformation. Treating it as such will make the transformation more difficult and minimize the benefits. No matter the size or goals of your organization, realizing cloud benefits requires the right balance of people, processes, and technology.

PEOPLE

Technology change is rapid but essential for modern business operations. As a result, internal business staff and infrastructure management staff often have conflicting goals. Business staff need services delivered faster, using the most advanced technology, but infrastructure management staff may not have the skills to implement new methodologies or cloud architectures effectively.

Red Hat Consulting alleviates this common problem by working with your organization through deliverables-based engagements. These engagements implement new business models and technologies and foster the development of internal staff with a proven, hands-on mentoring process that prepares them to operate the new cloud infrastructure efficiently and effectively.

Mentoring requires minimal up-front training, instead cultivating abilities over time through one-onone knowledge exchange and small-group coaching. These interactions focus on hands-on, actual examples throughout the cloud implementation.

Mentoring is complementary to classroom training and should not replace it. Combined, mentoring and training deliver greater results within your environment and applications.

PROCESSES

At the core of most infrastructure management organizations is a rigid, process-laden approach to platform delivery, which exacerbates production-grade architecture difficulties. A foundation for proper governance and processes is essential when moving to a cloud environment to avoid adding further complexity and management challenges.

An agile, collaborative, and iterative process for systems management is necessary. However, many organizations employ a classic waterfall model for systems procurement. This methodology lacks the flexibility to meet changing business needs and often leads to delays in product delivery. While stringent processes may be required, especially regarding security, using a cloud model to automate platform delivery can help your organization deliver services and resources faster and more consistently.

By focusing on optimizing processes early in your cloud implementation, you can maximize the potential of your new environment. Red Hat Consulting works with you to adapt your processes for successful cloud operation.

TECHNOLOGY

With a large number of cloud products and solutions available, finding the right combination for your organization can be daunting. Red Hat’s open source software stack delivers flexibility, reliability, security, and innovation. Red Hat technologies unify management of hybrid cloud environments—including virtualized and private and public cloud infrastructure. This allows your organization to quickly mobilize and scale across multiple cloud deployments in line with business growth. Red Hat Consulting uses these products to build customized cloud solutions that take into consideration both your current infrastructure and industry best practices.

Figure 1. Red Hat delivers a complete software stack for hybrid cloud implementation and management.

Figure 1. Red Hat delivers a complete software stack for hybrid cloud implementation and management.

APPROACH: SHAPING YOUR CLOUD STRATEGY AND IMPLEMENTATION

Deploying a cloud environment involves new technologies, skills, processes, and service and deployment models. It’s essential to prepare your staff for change. The Red Hat Consulting methodology will help your organization build the right cloud environment for your business and operate it more efficiently.

DIAGNOSIS/ASSESSMENT

Cloud conversations often center on the newest technologies and the latest service provider offerings. However, every cloud implementation should begin by determining expected business outcomes. Is the goal to achieve lower total cost of ownership (TCO) or to innovate faster, or some blend of the two?

Figure 2. There are many technology options when it comes to a cloud implementation. The right solution is
dependent upon your goals and challenges.

Figure 2. There are many technology options when it comes to a cloud implementation. The right solution is
dependent upon your goals and challenges.

 

There are many choices in the path to a cloud environment. Starting your journey without a clear understanding of the destination typically leads to disappointing results. Every cloud discussion needs to answer some basic questions:

  • What is the expected business impact of a cloud deployment?
  • Which applications can and should I move to my cloud environment?
  • Which cloud deployment model is best suited for each of my applications?
  • How do I transition my legacy applications to a cloud environment?
  • How do I maintain security and policy compliance in a cloud environment?
  • How do I prepare my organization to best take advantage of cloud technologies?

The answers to these questions will fundamentally shape your cloud strategy and help you define and implement pragmatic approaches to cloud operation. Identifying your business architecture, needs, and regulatory constraints will help you optimize the performance, cost, and risk associated with your new cloud environment.

ROADMAP

Once you’ve answered the basic questions and have an understanding of your cloud journey, you’ll need to create a roadmap and identify key milestones. Your roadmap is a blueprint for successfully executing your cloud strategy. However, building an open hybrid cloud architecture takes time and some requirements may change during the course of implementation. As such, you will likely need to iterate your roadmap several times. This iterative cycle consists of the following phases:

  • Design: Create an initial high-level architecture plan according to organizational requirements like scalability, high availability, developer efficiency, and flexibility.
  • Construction: Implement the planned architecture.
  • Testing: Test the constructed cloud infrastructure to ensure proper workload functionality.
  • Rollout: Release the tested infrastructure to end users for workload deployment.
  • Review/refine/govern: Perform periodic reviews to ensure that the cloud infrastructure continues to meet your organization’s demands over time and identify any new features that can and should be added.
Figure 3. By implementing proper workflow processes across your organization, you can reduce development times and mitigate your overall risks.

Figure 3. By implementing proper workflow processes across your organization, you can reduce development times and mitigate your overall risks.

RESULTS: PEOPLE, PROCESSES, AND TECHNOLOGY IN ACTION

Red Hat Consulting helps you streamline cloud implementation so you can take advantage of the benefits of cloud technologies faster and more effectively. The following are actual results from Red Hat Consulting engagements.

ACCELERATED SPEED TO MARKET

Developers play a critical role in creating new, revenue-generating customer services. However, for one U.S.-based CSP, the process of authorizing and delivering resources to developers and testers took weeks to complete, delaying software releases. The company engaged Red Hat Consulting to improve resource automation and efficiency with a self-service catalog for developers. The catalog automatically provisions systems and platforms to accelerate service delivery from 30 days to 30 minutes so developers can build and deploy software faster.

INCREASED SCALABILITY

Scalable infrastructure lets CSPs respond to dynamic, growing demand for services. A European CSP lacked the infrastructure visibility and reliability to support their long-term Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) strategy. Through Red Hat Consulting and a trusted partner, the company built a scalable, standardized cloud architecture to deliver transparency, reliability, and automation. With this environment, the CSP can support more mobile users, reduce operating expenses, and gain better visibility into customer behavior.

IMPROVED RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

In complex network environments, manually managing resources can result in long delivery times and increased errors. For one CSP in South America, a complicated legacy network infrastructure combined with a shortage of expertise in administering the technologies led to limited scalability, productivity challenges, and high costs. To overcome these issues, Red Hat Consulting established a flexible, secure platform that delivers increased resource and application control and automation. This platform streamlines management operations, increases visibility, and boosts productivity so the CSP can better support its business and customers.

CONCLUSION

While deploying a cloud environment can be a daunting task, the benefits far outweigh the challenges. Red Hat Consulting has the expertise and capabilities to help you identify and implement the best cloud solution for your organization. The Red Hat Consulting approach delivers the cloud technology your business needs while preparing your people and processes for both efficient cloud operation and future change.

Learn more about cloud migration for CSPs at red.ht/telco-cloud-migration