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A survey conducted by Red Hat among its customer base found that two thirds, or 70 percent, of respondents cited cloud infrastructure to be a top funding priority of 2017. On top of that, 52 percent of organizations stated that cloud strategy will be the main focus of their IT spend in the upcoming year. While it is true that infrastructure can easily be seen as the boring underbelly of IT, it is also true that streamlining and fortifying the foundation of any IT ecosystem via a solid and effective cloud strategy can be crucial to business objectives. An effective cloud strategy involves a few thinking points before one can dig into the work at hand. In the first webinar of a five-part Private Cloud Blog Series, Red Hat’s Stephane Lefrere and Matt Nolan discuss many initial and critically important thinking points in Key Considerations of an Effective Cloud Strategy. Below is a quick recap of the webinar. You also can rewatch it here and sign up for the next ones here.


Just like any project, building an effective cloud strategy involves first identifying goals. In order to do this, you may want to begin by asking yourself what your realistic desired end state is. If that question seems too broad, you might want to ponder requirements for your new project: whether or not you’re going to need automatic scaling capabilities; if continuous deployment and integration is warranted; and the importance of proximity to the data that will be housed. With this in mind, complying with any policies or regulations that you may have is necessary at every step of the process to building your strategy.


You’ll then need to think about how easily your idea can be executed. In order to start answering this question, you’ll need to learn about your environment to fully understand your current IT landscape. Find out which of your applications can, or cannot be ported over to a cloud. Some applications can be moved to a cloud quite easily without much reconfiguring, but others cannot. Determine the best plan for your workload to be supported and then go for the low-hanging fruit; port over the easy applications first and work your way up to the harder ones. Remember to check again into any compliance and security issues, and how your existing controls may need to be adapted when looking at feasibility.  


By grabbing the low-hanging fruit first, you can start identifying your major challenges in the implementation of your project. Know and consider all of your options to solve these challenges. Will a public cloud approach take care of your concerns or will a private cloud approach do the trick? Remember that you can always use a hybrid of the two. Make sure that whatever approach you chose, it matches up with the overall objectives of your company concerning automation, management, and scaling. You may want to consider the business users that you will be enabling - how will your new cloud project benefit them? Stress the benefits to these business users in order to help decision makers connect the dots.


One of the biggest challenges in implementing a successful cloud computing initiative is not the technology, but the organizational challenges of implementing a new system. In light of what we’ve already discussed, this is likely to be the primary reason for any failures in your new project. While the benefits of moving to a new cloud are plentiful, any change represents a disturbance to the status quo. You might face internal competition within your organization from other IT projects vying for the same budget that you are. To this end, Stephane suggests getting your project sponsored by management and promoted at the very top of your organization, and advocating to decision makers the tangible business benefits to the project’s customers. Make sure you are being fully-inclusive in getting your stakeholders behind your project, from the end users to decision makers. Again, make sure to connect the dots back to the overall business advantages of embarking on your project. Heading this advice, could make or break your project.


You will need to prepare for the impact that your new project will have on workflows, automation, management policies and other changes on your Operations team. In order to navigate any potential hardships, consider including your Operations team early on. Emphasize operational knowledge and skills in order to align your organization with the new enhanced or re-engineered processes. The more they can be ready to go with new technology by the time it arrives, the smoother your transition is going to be. The more you document any new landscape, the more you’ll be able to adjust to any unexpected changes in your transformation process.


Key Considerations of an Effective Cloud Strategy concludes with details about a large financial services customer that transformed their cloud infrastructure with the help of Red Hat and Red Hat Consulting. Red Hat Consulting offers a four phase rollout for your cloud infrastructure initiative that starts with a Discovery Session. A typical Red Hat Discovery Session starts with a focus on uses cases and identification of challenges. Along with Red Hat Consulting, you’ll look at possible technologies and solutions and create an action plan together to address any opportunities. Red Hat Consulting is a great way to see your cloud transformation through from beginning to end, while being supported by the experts. Check out the Red Hat Consulting Discovery Session Datasheet to learn more about Red Hat’s Discovery Sessions and when you’re ready click here to talk to a Red Hat consultant.


Stay tuned to this blog for recaps of the next webinars in the five-part Private Cloud series, and remember to go here to signup. As always, feel free to let us know your thoughts on cloud, and any initiatives your organization might be involved in, in the comments section below.

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