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A Cloud IT Optimization Assessment Can Help Determine the Right Solution


As more businesses consider implementing private, public or hybrid cloud technologies they face the daunting challenge of weighing the potential benefits against costs, risks associated with potential disruption in services, regulatory and compliance concerns, security exposures and organizational effects. Before attempting to analyze these variables, however, if your business is able to measure its current level of readiness for effective cloud implementation, you’ll be in a better position to optimize chances of success. Following a straightforward process that IBM’s experience has shown to be highly effective can help determine your organization’s readiness for new delivery models based on modern technologies.

Begin with a full analysis, in detail, of the technical and financial model of the current IT environment. This includes the review of existing workloads and their affinity for specific service delivery models. These services may be deployed on a combination of a highly optimized on-premises traditional IT infrastructure and various on-premises/off-premises hybrid cloud deployment models.

The next step is to identify the most prudent and feasible cloud architecture alternatives that conform to the technical requirements of your enterprise. These alternatives must always be considered along with your company’s long- and short-term goals, business requirements, budget realities and any other constraints. Once these two environments are known, a comprehensive cost benefit analysis can offer the most useful information to support your decision.

Experience has shown many pitfalls can make each of these steps more difficult. We hope to show how to avoid some of these and how best to consider and work around some of the points of failure in cloud deployment. We will also explore the more abstract and hard-to-quantify benefits that can be reaped by successfully enabling cloud technology. To explore these issues, let’s focus on a scenario of moving from a traditional technology-centric IT environment to a services-centric hybrid cloud enterprise architecture and the alternative future it can deliver.

Explore Your Cloud Readiness

Ensuring that your organization is ready for cloud enablement can help avoid many of the failures and difficulties encountered by some of the more eager early adopters of this new delivery model.

Figure 1 shows steps you should consider before attempting the full deployment of cloud technologies. Completing these steps will ensure that important preliminary technologies are in place and the support skills are available to take full advantage of the new delivery model. Further, it helps ensure your user community has had a chance to change the way it thinks about IT from a support organization to a business enabler and partner working together with the business to implement technology for competitive differentiation.

Each step may, and for some organizations should, require the same kind of analyses shared here. For example, before implementing a consolidation and virtualization effort, undertake the following:

  • The same type of analysis of the current technical infrastructure and financial base cost model
  • The identification and architecture of practical consolidation and/or virtualization alternatives
  • The cost benefit analysis of each

More detailed information on this is in the article “Smart Optimization Assessments” (bit.ly/1GDnotI).

John Karaba is a Senior Managing Consultant with IBM Systems Executive Advisory Practice for IT Optimization and a lead contributor to the methodologies the team uses to help clients optimize their IT environments and develop cloud strategies in support of business requirements.

Rick Schoenmann is a certified Executive IT Infrastructure consultant in IBM Systems Executive Advisory Practice for IT Optimization.

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