1. Know the business outcomes to be achieved: Do you want to leverage technologies to reduce costs? Are you digitizing your business and therefore need robust and scalable infrastructure? Are you trying to create flexible capacity so a business requirement can be serviced when required (such as Ecommerce)? Are you trying to create business resiliency? Do you want to exploit capacity in various markets without ballooning Capex? Do you want to leverage new-gen infra for next gen workloads such as big data and mobility? It is necessary to first define the business and IT outcomes to be achieved and the measurable metrics and success criteria for each outcome. Roles such are Business Value Realization Manager and Innovation Manager are now replacing the traditional Quality Assurance (QA) and Program Management Office (PMO) roles to define and drive these outcomes.
2. Know your environment: The Boundaryless datacenter solution begins with an assessment of your current datacenter assets and systems and the gaps that exist. This includes building an inventory list of assets (infrastructure and applications) and charting their inter-dependencies on processes, systems and contracts and understanding the workload attributes. The exercise results in an understanding of workload criticalities and their relationship with the business attributes, workload characteristics including capacity, usage and performance, and dependencies on the third party bolt-on components and the resiliency gaps. You are then able to gain insights into modernization opportunities, refresh requirements around ageing assets and finalize the infrastructure investments. This sets the foundation for the transformation.
3. Assess and get ready for a boundaryless world: It is important to take a workload centric approach while embarking on the Boundaryless datacenter journey. Forecast and assess supply and demand for the workload for today and future, business parameters including regulatory and compliance requirements, data criticality, and integration with the core business processes. Equally important is the architectural fitment aspects such as scalability and the security requirements for that workload. Based on the responses, prepare a hybrid workload placement blueprint that extends services within and beyond the traditional Datacenters into external cloud followed by the ROI analysis. This also creates the right approach to legacy modernization, on premise private cloud and public cloud adoption. This is also a significant step towards future-proofing your Datacenter services hub.
4. Create Central Command and Control: The management and monitoring of a Boundaryless datacenter calls for a central command and control setup. This puts in place a holistic method to provisioning a catalogue of services that users need and create chargeback mechanisms by business units. It also creates identity and access control for the end users for the services they would avail in addition to providing reports and analytics for the services they consume. What the organization acquires through central command and control is the equivalent of a powerful central nervous system that powers and guides future applications workloads, compute and storage environments. This component is dependent on automation and on an industrialized approach to save time and provision an agile Cloud infrastructure. The IT organization in this phase would create a technology foundation for the hybrid cloud architecture and a migration/deployment approach for each workload type. While this would help meet cost and operational requirements, it must be borne in mind that it also has a significant impact on security which will need to be hardened in the hybrid architecture.
5. Migrate to target: Using migration tools: workloads are re-allocated and applications are redistributed as required to reach the target state. It is important to focus on automation and standardization around workloads along with providing access to dashboards and customized reporting of infrastructure health, operational processes, usage, hot spots and the early identification of emerging gaps. The key during this step is safe and secure migration without disruption, especially in light of the fact that there could be other IT initiatives that may impact the migration. A recommended solution to reduce the risk of blackouts is to use certified reference architectures and proven migration processes to fast track the approach.
6. Operate and manage: Once the Boundaryless datacenter is up and running, a business will want to ensure that it is driven by continuous innovation and guidance. Businesses may gain these levers by opting for the Boundaryless datacenter as a managed service. This maintains the Boundaryless datacenter and provides operational insights and critical inputs for capacity planning, efficiencies and risk management. A hybrid boundaryless world drives agility but the best results are achieved when IT operational processes, monitoring and service management are also tweaked to the it into the Boundaryless datacenter operating model. The operational philosophy of the organization must extend from traditional IT KPIs to business SLAs based that are defined based on the outcomes desired.
7. Re-evaluate success criteria: Business continues to undergo continuous change – models and processes that were valid today may need to change tomorrow. This means keeping an eye on the changes and ensuring that the Boundaryless datacenter keeps pace. What are the new success criteria and metrics that the business demands? Is your Boundaryless datacenter able to deliver against those? These are the two questions that must be asked to constantly re-evaluate your Boundaryless datacenter strategy.
Keeping the Organization Boundaryless
The Boundaryless datacenter has the best chance of success when it is based on reference architectures and cloud blueprints that are tried and tested. This can be enabled by working with OEMs and eco-system partners who validate the Boundaryless datacenter architecture. Using process assets and tools, these can then be turned into replicable workload centric, software-defined, and hyper resilient solutions in an industrialized migration factory. For customers this means agility and flexibility in a boundaryless world.