Click here to close now.


@DevOpsSummit Authors: Victoria Livschitz, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Jason Bloomberg, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal, @DevOpsSummit

@CloudExpo: Article

Best Practices for Leveraging Cloud Technology for Business Growth

Start with small, low-risk applications that can be easily tested and improved through an iterative approach

As businesses look to leverage cloud technology to drive growth, many times the questions IT leaders within the company ask are: "Where do I start? What part of my infrastructure should I move into the cloud first?" IT leaders must pick a place to begin with cloud adoption. The decision becomes easier when teams focus on incremental adoption, starting with small, low-risk applications that can be easily tested and improved through an iterative approach before fully launching. Here are some best practices businesses should consider when getting started with cloud technology.

Identify the true problem and define a solution
The most effective method for getting started with cloud adoption is to identify the greatest pain point in a company's IT ecosystem. The cloud solution should be targeted and architected to ease that pain point. Often times identifying the biggest IT challenge requires a deep dive into the business and its IT systems. For example, NaviSite recently worked with a company in Syracuse, N.Y., to implement a technology solution to help solve its business challenges. The company's IT team perceived its infrastructure as the biggest challenge, and was eager to deploy a full Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solution. However, as the IT team took a complete and objective inventory to understand their challenges at a very granular level, they came to realize that what the business truly needed was an enterprise-class file sharing solution designed to meet their specific challenges. As a result, instead of starting with a full-blown IaaS, the team began with a file sharing solution, and was able to immediately solve some of their business challenge with less investment. The key was understanding the challenge at the core, and implementing a cloud-based solution to solve that challenge.

As part of defining the problem when implementing cloud technologies, IT leaders should also define what a solution looks like. A useful exercise is identifying what the IT ecosystem looks like when the pain point is solved. That vision of the solution will guide the cloud team during implementation until it has achieved its vision of success.

Think of cloud adoption in terms of out tasking
When businesses and IT teams are determining where to begin with cloud adoption, it can be helpful to view the process as the migration of bite-sized, discrete pieces of an IT system onto the cloud. It is more about "out tasking" than out sourcing.

When defining and understanding out tasking, IT leaders can take a step back and look at cloud computing as a loosely integrated suite of complimentary services, such as IaaS, Software- as-a-Service (SaaS), Backup-as-a-Service (Baas), Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS), etc. Building a cloud infrastructure to help a business grow, reduce costs and run more effectively is not a one time, all or nothing proposition. The most effective and low risk approach is to start with one solution to address one challenge. An IT leader is taking that problem, or ‘task', and solving it with a cloud solution. Once that solution is achieved, then an IT leader can take on a second challenge, or a broader area with high potential to drive efficiency, and out task that function of the IT system.

The approach of out-tasking lets each business and IT team strategically architect a cloud infrastructure that is highly customized to meet their unique business challenges. With the out-tasking approach, IT leaders can solve specific issues without needing to manage unnecessary aspects of a cloud infrastructure, and it avoids incurring costs for applications and infrastructure that is not being used. Out-tasking lets businesses solve pain points simply to begin driving value and seeing return on investment more quickly.

Unique solutions to solve unique problems
Take, for example, a large retail brand eager to solve its business challenges using cloud technology. The first step was identifying its pain points, which in this case involved a few different areas. First was managing a mobile, millennial and highly innovative and flexible workforce; the solution was implementing a virtual desktop infrastructure. The retailer tweaked and customized this solution so it met their needs. From there, the IT team identified a second pain point - the need to store and manage large image files for their design and branding work. Once that challenge was identified, the company expanded its cloud infrastructure to include storage so they could better store and manage their images and branding content.

From there, the retailer needed to ensure its systems had the resiliency in place so the files their teams stored and the virtual desktop their global workforce relied upon was secure and built to run through any disaster. The team was able to implement a disaster recovery plan architected to meet their unique needs using BaaS to ensure its global workforce would have uninterrupted access to their virtual desktops, and that the images stored and shared were secure according to the highest compliance and regulatory standards. This gave the global retailer the assurance it needed to continue to migrate increasingly larger workloads onto the cloud.

In this example, the business took an approach more aligned with out-tasking as opposed to a sweeping transition to an outsourced model. The team did not start moving into the cloud by turning their entire infrastructure over to a company with a 10 year contract. One of the benefits of cloud technology is that companies can choose one service to meet one need. Companies can apply that technology, evaluate the return, adjust course as needed, and move on to solve the next challenge. In the case of the global retailer, out-tasking allowed the team to grow accustomed to the new solutions, and for the technology to be absorbed by company culture to ease disruption.

Ultimately, the most important thing is simply that IT leaders take the first step in their company's cloud journey. Identifying the most significant pain points helps create a vision for moving ahead with solving one business challenge at a time. After determining where to start, teams can apply the out-tasking approach to refine their technologies, minimize risk, and arrive at a solution that truly solves a business challenge, drives growth and delivers value.

More Stories By Chris Patterson

Leveraging his technical background and consulting skills, Chris Patterson was a key player in building NaviSite’s cloud computing platform, NaviCloud, from the ground up and is responsible for overseeing its continual upgrades and improvement making sure it meets customers evolving needs from both a technical and business perspective. In addition he oversees the development and implementation teams for NaviSite’s Desktop-as-a-Service and NaviCloud Intelligent Storage solutions.

Prior to joining NaviSite, Patterson spent nine years at MTM technologies as the Director of Information Security Services, where he gained extensive experience developing and consulting on security policies in a variety of different industries including financial, retail, legal, health care, and public sector. Chris holds a Bachelors of Science in nuclear engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and currently lives in Delaware

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@DevOpsSummit Stories
Today, we are in the middle of a paradigm shift as we move from managing applications on VMs and containers to embracing everything that the cloud and XaaS (Everything as a Service) has to offer. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Kevin Hoffman, Advisory Solutions Architect at Pivotal Cloud Foundry, will provide an overview of 12-factor apps and migrating enterprise apps to the cloud. Kevin Hoffman is an Advisory Solutions Architect for Pivotal Cloud Foundry, and has spent the past 20 years building enterprise and mobile software for small businesses, massive enterprises, and everything in ...
DevOps delivers remarkable results. But does it help all of IT? Can traditional ‘mode 1’ IT benefit as much as innovative ‘mode 2’? How about the rest of your business? Or have you just shifted your bottleneck? And if so, what can you do about it? Improving dev and ops is necessary, but not sufficient. It often just shifts the burden sideways (e.g., to PMs, SQA, InfoSec, DBAs, NOC, etc.), upstream (to the PMO, Controller, Business Liaison, etc.), or downstream (to TechPubs, Service Desk, Training, etc.).
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo® and DevOps Summit 2015 Silicon Valley, which will take place November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Alert Logic provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid IT infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions.
DevOps has often been described in terms of CAMS: Culture, Automation, Measuring, Sharing. While we’ve seen a lot of focus on the “A” and even on the “M”, there are very few examples of why the “C" is equally important in the DevOps equation. In her session at @DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, of F5 Networks, will explore HTTP/1 and HTTP/2 along with Microservices to illustrate why a collaborative culture between Dev, Ops, and the Network is critical to ensuring success.
SYS-CON Events announced today that has been named a "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit Silicon Valley, which will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. provides open-source software ELK turned into a log analytics platform that is simple, infinitely- scalable, highly available, and secure.
Clearly the way forward is to move to cloud be it bare metal, VMs or containers. One aspect of the current public clouds that is slowing this cloud migration is cloud lock-in. Every cloud vendor is trying to make it very difficult to move out once a customer has chosen their cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Naveen Nimmu, CEO of Clouber, Inc., will advocate that making the inter-cloud migration as simple as changing airlines would help the entire industry to quickly adopt the cloud without worrying about any lock-in fears. In fact by having standard APIs for IaaS would help PaaS expl...
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ability. Many are unable to effectively engage and inspire, creating forward momentum in the direction...
Mobile, social, Big Data, and cloud have fundamentally changed the way we live. “Anytime, anywhere” access to data and information is no longer a luxury; it’s a requirement, in both our personal and professional lives. For IT organizations, this means pressure has never been greater to deliver meaningful services to the business and customers.
Clutch is now a Docker Authorized Consulting Partner, having completed Docker's certification course on the "Docker Accelerator for CI Engagements." More info about Clutch's success implementing Docker can be found here. Docker is an open platform for developers and system administrators to build, ship and run distributed applications. With Docker, IT organizations shrink application delivery from months to minutes, frictionlessly move workloads between data centers and the cloud and achieve 20x greater efficiency in their use of computing resources. Inspired by an active community and trans...
For almost two decades, businesses have discovered great opportunities to engage with customers and even expand revenue through digital systems, including web and mobile applications. Yet, even now, the conversation between the business and the technologists that deliver these systems is strained, in large part due to misaligned objectives. In his session at DevOps Summit, James Urquhart, Senior Vice President of Performance Analytics at SOASTA, Inc., will discuss how measuring user outcomes – including how the performance, flow and content of your digital systems affects those outcomes – ca...
DevOps is gaining traction in the federal government – and for good reasons. Heightened user expectations are pushing IT organizations to accelerate application development and support more innovation. At the same time, budgetary constraints require that agencies find ways to decrease the cost of developing, maintaining, and running applications. IT now faces a daunting task: do more and react faster than ever before – all with fewer resources.
The cloud has reached mainstream IT. Those 18.7 million data centers out there (server closets to corporate data centers to colocation deployments) are moving to the cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Achim Weiss, CEO & co-founder of ProfitBricks, will share how two companies – one in the U.S. and one in Germany – are achieving their goals with cloud infrastructure. More than a case study, he will share the details of how they prioritized their cloud computing infrastructure deployments and the details they’ve learned. From performance to network configurations, they've got interesting...
Decisions about budgets and resources are often made without IT even having a seat at the table. As technologist we understand the value of DevOps - but do your business counterparts? If they don't, your DevOps initiatives could lose funding before they start. In her session at DevOps Summit, Jeanne Morain, Strategist / Author at iSpeak Cloud, LLC, will provide insights on how to bridge the gap between business and technology leaders. Attendees will learn prescriptive guidance on balancing workloads, critical communication processes and considerations for building out a solid return-on-inves...
The modern software development landscape consists of best practices and tools that allow teams to deliver software in a near-continuous manner. By adopting a culture of automation, measurement and sharing, the time to ship code has been greatly reduced, allowing for shorter release cycles and quicker feedback from customers and users. Still, with all of these tools and methods, how can teams stay on top of what is taking place across their infrastructure and codebase? Hopping between services and command line interfaces creates context-switching that slows productivity, efficiency, and may le...
While testing is often ignored when it comes to DevOps - it could be the most important aspect of achieving true DevOps success. Without rethinking automated testing from the ground-up, the entire DevOps productivity gain cannot be realized. Large tech companies build their own rapid test automation that runs in minutes across functional, performance, security and other tests. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kevin Surace, CEO of Appvance, will discuss how we learn from these real-world successes and achieve a 95% time reduction in creating and running automated unified tests. Otherwise ent...
SYS-CON Events announced today that JFrog, maker of Artifactory, the popular Binary Repository Manager, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit Silicon Valley, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Based in California, Israel and France, founded by longtime field-experts, JFrog, creator of Artifactory and Bintray, has provided the market with the first Binary Repository solution and a software distribution social platform.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
Docker is hot. However, as Docker container use spreads into more mature production pipelines, there can be issues about control of Docker images to ensure they are production-ready. Is a promotion-based model appropriate to control and track the flow of Docker images from development to production? In his session at DevOps Summit, Fred Simon, Co-founder and Chief Architect of JFrog, will demonstrate how to implement a promotion model for Docker images using a binary repository, and then show how to distribute them to any kind of consumer, being it a customer or a data center.
DevOps is speeding towards the IT world like a freight train and the hype around it is deafening. There is no reason to be afraid of this change as it is the natural reaction to the agile movement that revolutionized development just a few years ago. By definition, DevOps is the natural alignment of IT performance to business profitability. The relevance of this has yet to be quantified but it has been suggested that the route to the CEO’s chair will come from the IT leaders that successfully make the transition to a DevOps model. If this still seems foreign to you, I recommend reading up on D...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Raxak has been named “Media & Session Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Raxak Protect automates security compliance across private and public clouds. Using the SaaS tool or managed service, developers can deploy cloud apps quickly, cost-effectively, and without error.
The principles behind DevOps are not new - for decades people have been automating system administration and decreasing the time to deploy apps and perform other management tasks. However, only recently did we see the tools and the will necessary to share the benefits and power of automation with a wider circle of people. In his session at DevOps Summit, Bernard Sanders, Chief Technology Officer at CloudBolt Software, will explore the latest tools including Puppet, Chef, Docker, and CMPs needed to move from an insulated culture where automation is absent or hoarded to one where the power of ...
SYS-CON Media announced that Splunk, a provider of the leading software platform for real-time Operational Intelligence, has launched an ad campaign on Big Data Journal. Splunk software and cloud services enable organizations to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine-generated big data coming from websites, applications, servers, networks, sensors and mobile devices. The ads focus on delivering ROI - how improved uptime delivered $6M in annual ROI, improving customer operations by mining large volumes of unstructured data, and how data tracking delivers uptime when it matters most.
As a company adopts a DevOps approach to software development, what are key things that both the Dev and Ops side of the business must keep in mind to ensure effective continuous delivery? In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Hydar, Head of DevOps, Ericsson TV Platforms, will share best practices and provide helpful tips for Ops teams to adopt an open line of communication with the development side of the house to ensure success between the two sides.
At first adopted by enterprises to consolidate physical servers, virtualization is now widely used in cloud computing to offer elasticity and scalability. On the other hand, Docker has developed a new way to handle Linux containers, inspired by version control software such as Git, which allows you to keep all development versions. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Dominique Rodrigues, the co-founder and CTO of Nanocloud Software, will discuss how in order to also handle QEMU / KVM virtual machines versions, they have developed a new tool, called Vm_commit, which can create commits, backup ...
Even though you are running an agile development process, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your performance testing is being conducted in a truly agile way. Saving performance testing for a “final sprint” before release still treats it like a waterfall development step, with all the cost and risk that comes with that. In this post, we will show you how to make load testing happen early and often by putting SLAs on the agile task board.