Achieve cloud agility with your business

Are you investigating moving applications and workloads to a cloud environment? Then you'll already know there are many different ways to go about it, and understanding it all can be a challenge. At Lenovo, we understand there is a different path to the cloud for every organization, which is why we've made it our business to maintain expertise across all types of cloud solutions. Our cloud infrastructure products and engineered solutions, and our Lenovo professional services can deliver every aspect of your cloud transformation project.

To help navigate the options, we're excited to share our cloud discovery tool. In just a few minutes, we'll take you through some key points to consider when developing a cloud strategy for your organization and ask you to rate how important each is for you. Based on your answers, we'll give you guidance on which approach might deliver a successful outcome.

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Identifying the influencers in your cloud journey

Answer each of the following questions by dragging the slider in the direction that most captures your answer. If you need a little extra guidance, expand the “How do I answer this question?” section for some more context.

As you consider adopting a cloud approach to deliver IT-as-a-Service, how important are each of the following business or operational requirements?

How do I answer this question?

There's more than one route to the right cloud for your organization. The direction you take will need to factor in different business and IT operational priorities.

  • Your organization may have determined that investing in your own IT operations won't contribute effectively to its continued growth and success, leading to a reduction in investment in internal IT capability.
  • Your organization may be bound by regulatory or policy requirements surrounding data privacy and security, or have specific requirements for administrative control of infrastructure. In this case, in-house IT operations would be a necessary and valuable investment.
  • Increasing business volume or expansion may drive a need to transform and streamline IT projects.
  • Conversely, it may be imperative that you preserve existing operational processes to avoid disruption.
  • Shrinking budgets may necessitate you preserving and leveraging your existing IT investments.
  • Or, for the same reason you may need to pursue alternatives to reduce the mounting costs of outmoded infrastructure.

There are many reasons to embark on a journey to the cloud, and you may even find that your business requires one or more cloud environments or operating models to address the diversity of challenges, which is why many ultimately follow a diversified cloud strategy.

Our organization has determined that large capital investments in IT operations no longer align with our strategy for sustainable growth and success. We are exploring cloud transformation to minimize our reliance upon on-premise infrastructure and operations.

Please enter an answer.

My organization manages sensitive information and data. We must maintain control over where these workloads are processed, where the data resides, and who can access it.

Please enter an answer.

My organization relies on alignment with software partners like VMware, Microsoft, or Nutanix. Our cloud implementation must continue to leverage these software investments.

Please enter an answer.

My organization's success depends directly on our own, in-house IT innovation. We prefer customizable, open-source technologies rather than vendor-supported software.

Please enter an answer.

My organization is supported by a variety of applications and services. Rather than consolidating the applications and mission-critical services on a single cloud platform, we intend to leverage multiple cloud platforms to address specific requirements.

Please enter an answer.

My IT operations must support changes in my business activities. We must also be able to respond to unpredictable business cycles that demand rapid, seamless expansion or relocation of applications and services across different sources of cloud infrastructure.

Please enter an answer.

Are you considering rebuilding custom applications to fit a cloud-native architecture?

How do I answer this question?

Traditional business applications usually contain all the essential core software dependencies to perform their function, but cloud-native applications can offload data management and other processes to external services hosted and managed by the cloud service provider. These services are generally described as Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offerings. While most traditional style applications can be successfully migrated to a cloud platform without modifying their architecture, organizations which have developed their own custom applications are now choosing to re-architect applications to leverage a cloud-native approach. It's called refactoring, and the amount of effort this takes for a core business application can be significant enough in some cases to have an impact on the whole organization's transformation strategy.

The ongoing investment to develop custom applications is vital to my business. We have determined that rebuilding those applications for a cloud-native implementation is critical.

Please enter an answer.

Flexibility is crucial for our business, and architectural or technical lock-in to a particular cloud platform provider won't suit us. We need to maintain portability of any cloud platform services we use for our applications or operations.

Please enter an answer.

When considering how a cloud model could enhance operating your business applications and workloads, how important are each of the following technical requirements?

How do I answer this question?

Cloud computing is a transformative approach to IT operations and delivery, but that doesn't mean it's the best direction for every business or IT organization. While cloud adoption can reduce the burdens of traditional data center operations and deliver a more agile response to business IT demands, there can be trade-offs with fulfilling technical requirements, customizing applications and services, or maintaining specialized development and technology skills. These considerations will vary along different paths to cloud transformation and should be weighed in balance.

My business applications and workloads require the flexibility to pool, provision, and scale compute, networking, and storage capacity independently of each other.

Please enter an answer.

My business applications and workloads require us to maintain unique IT processes to organize, control, and provision IT resources.

Please enter an answer.

My business applications and workloads have diverse and specific infrastructure requirements. We must maintain control over the placement and performance tuning of the provisioned resources and services that support them.

Please enter an answer.

My business must exert strict control over how we secure and isolate applications and workloads.

Please enter an answer.

Your cloud in context

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Read on as we take you through where your answers position you on some of the key decision-making criteria around choosing your cloud.

General fit for the cloud

There are many compelling reasons to favor on premise IT, but the rising maturity of cloud computing has some reconsidering their strategy.

Your answers show that your organization does not consider maintaining on-premise IT infrastructure and operations as a high priority sustaining its business. Your answers show that, for your organization, maintaining on-premise IT infrastructure and operations is important for sustaining the business.

When architecting an infrastructure to satisfy your organizational imperatives, balancing your requirements with the necessary levels of investment in physical infrastructure, development, maintenance, and specialist skills leads many businesses to follow a diversified cloud strategy, incorporating both on-premise and off-premise solutions.

Sensitive workloads and data


Industry compliance and regulatory measures surrounding workload processing and data management are becoming progressively more stringent. Your cloud strategy should include should include a solution that isolates, secures, and controls sensitive workloads and data.

While you have indicated that this is not a priority for your organization, you should consider that data is becoming more and more valuable, the threat landscape more and more unpredictable, and accountability for sound data management more essential than ever. You have indicated that you recognize this as a priority for your organization. Rightly so, as data is becoming more and more valuable, the threat landscape more and more unpredictable, and accountability for sound data management more essential than ever.


Open source and vendor-led solutions

Organizations sometimes choose to invest in technologies and skills aligned to specific technology vendors. While standardized operations and consolidated skill sets can be advantageous, the challenge with vendor lock-in can be a lack of flexibility and breadth.

Your answers suggest that your cloud strategy need not align with a particular vendor technology. This outlook opens the door to a breadth of opportunities for delivering cloud in your business, and could facilitate a level of cloud innovation not achievable in a traditional vendor environment. Your answers suggest that you will build your cloud strategy on the foundations of your vendor solution. Major vendors all offer pathways to the cloud.

Today, open-source is also a credible alternative to traditional vendor-supported technologies. But, for those who follow this approach, deep expertise in customizing, administering and supporting these technologies is a requirement.

Your feedback points to your organization being unwilling to entertain the option of open-source. Your feedback points to your organization appreciating the value in customizing and supporting open-source technologies.

Using open-source for a customized cloud implementation not only requires a deep expertise in the foundational technologies, but also additional development effort to integrate, orchestrate and automate. It's important to be aware the open source also involves a sustained commitment to support and update technologies, integrations, and automations as open-source communities evolve these components.


Is it as easy as one? Two? Or three?

IT is frequently challenged to deliver a diverse range of applications and services across their organization. Today's question is whether to consolidate to a single platform, or use multiple cloud platforms that suit the requirements of each workload.

Your feedback implies that consolidating workloads to a single cloud platform would be your preference. In this case, consider that simplicity may come at a cost of flexibility, and a single environment may not suit the disparate requirements of individual workloads. Your feedback implies your strategy could encompass more than one cloud platform. In this case, you should consider the benefits of being able to manage all your cloud platforms through a unified user experience, and if it is important to re-deploy, replicate, or even migrate workloads and data across them.

Of course, it's essential for your cloud strategy to be versatile and flexible, not only supporting a diverse set of workloads, but scalable to cope with spikes in demand.

You have suggested that changes in your business activity are reasonably predictable and the corresponding demands made of your IT infrastructure are well-understood. A multi-cloud model could be made to work in your case. That said, orchestrating across clouds is no simple business, and the development effort can be significant when you're looking to automate the adaptation of computing, networking, and storage configurations, as well as converting and migrating applications, services and their data across clouds. Consider too how orchestration will be sustained as your workload configurations and operations evolve with your business. Your answers suggest that things change in your business, and not always predictably. Hybrid cloud operating technology facilitates interoperability of multiple cloud infrastructures, acting as a common layer between unique cloud systems that use different architectures and formats. This approach provides the highest degree of on-demand agility, but requires a commitment to that singular operating technology that spans your cloud platforms–creating a reliance on a particular technology ecosystem or vendor.

Applications and provider lock in


Many organizations are simply moving their existing, traditional applications and services to the cloud. Taking it a step further are those who develop or rebuild their applications as cloud-native, relieving some of their development and operational burden and offering more workload scalability.

From your answers, it seems your organization intends to continue operating traditional applications and services as you consider leveraging cloud platforms. Over time, as you journey further into cloud, it might be worth examining the implications of going cloud native. From your answers, investing in creating cloud-native applications appears to be important to your strategy, so you should closely examine what that means for the makeup of your application landscape and the investment in development and refactoring.

Cloud-native application architecture and the platform services they use can help IT organizations keep pace with the evolving demands of business; however, if the implementation depends upon the facilities delivered by a specific public cloud provider, then your organization runs the risk of being locked in to that environment. Some public cloud providers do support application mobility across their public infrastructure, and even to on-premise infrastructure deployments of their platform, but there are often technical limitations to be considered.

You may not currently be concerned about architectural lock-in to any particular cloud provider, but there are other options to consider. You have expressed concern about architectural lock-in to any particular cloud provider as your business considers leveraging platform services or building cloud-native applications.

To avoid cloud-platform lock-in, some organizations deploy services in their own cloud so they can flexibly migrate and operate applications from any cloud platform.

Scale, elasticity and flexibility

Public cloud platforms deliver dynamic scaling of computing, networking, and storage capacity independently. You might consider this elasticity important. In private clouds, the same elasticity comes in various degrees with some hyperconverged infrastructures pooling, provisioning, and scaling in combined units, whilst others deliver the capability to scale asymmetrically. Both models provide a solid foundation, but it's how you'd prefer to manage the raw resources that will decide between them. Another consideration is how your own applications and services typically consume IT resources over time. For example, does your application data grow disproportionately to your computing capacity requirements?

In your case, you've indicated that the independent elasticity of IT resources isn't important to your organization. This means that a hyperconverged infrastructure foundation for your private cloud should be in your consideration set. In your case, you've indicated that the independent elasticity of IT resources is important to your organization. This is a fundamental architectural feature to consider when evaluating private cloud implementations.

Most IT organizations have standard operating procedures to manage the complexities of traditional IT infrastructure, including how they procure, organize, provision, and maintain IT resources. These standards often map back to business-level operations and workflows, so whether you'd preserve of discard established practices when moving to a cloud environment could be an important consideration.

Your answers suggest that maintaining existing processes is not a high priority for your organization, which means that you're less likely to need a highly customized cloud implementation. Your answers suggest that this is a high priority for your organization, which could point to a customized cloud implementation that holds on to your processes.

Multi-tenancy and performance


In traditional infrastructures, computing, networking, and storage can be fine-tuned by a team of experts with specialist skills. The same is true in a cloud environment – for example, high-performance storage for extreme data processing applications. This precision and customization is often more challenging to deliver in a cloud IT-as-a-Service model.

Preserving this level of customized control is not a high priority in your case. Turnkey cloud platforms that are pre-integrated and pre-automated could save time and cost in your implementation, rapidly delivering cloud agility out-of-the-box without the technical complexity, similar to a public cloud experience. Preserving specific controls over placement and performance tuning appears to be a high priority for your organization. Be sure to evaluate the investment in skills required to facilitate this in a self-service and fully automated cloud platform. Some cloud implementation tools may provide more customization flexibility than others.

Internal policies or external regulations may stipulate that an organization's applications and workloads must be secured or isolated, even from one another. Traditionally, these deployments would be isolated on dedicated infrastructure, allowing close control.

While your organization doesn't currently face any strict regulation that imposes these requirements, and would therefore need to be applied to your cloud, keep in mind that these challenges frequently arise as a business naturally evolves. Your answers suggest that your organization has this requirement, meaning that your cloud infrastructure would need to replicate any isolation or security requirements.

Conclusion

Single cloud, Hybrid cloud, or Multi cloud? Custom, or Turnkey solutions? It's a lot to consider. Cloud strategies can be complex and there are many organizational and operational priorities to consider before deciding on the best route for you. While the diversity of options is great, you may feel you need more help reviewing your organization's cloud strategy with an expert team who has robust experience. Our team are only a phone call away, so reach out to your local Lenovo representative and we'll be happy to assist in determining the best route for you.

So, just what is “cloud”?

Cloud computing generally describes an IT operating model that delivers controlled, on-demand consumption of IT resources for multiple IT consumers. In a nutshell, cloud delivers IT as a service.

In a little more detail, cloud computing is an IT operational approach that enables an IT provider to flexibly pool resources such as computing, networking, and storage capacity. The resources can be isolated or shared by multiple consumers, business unit or departments, with measured service controls and end-to-end automation delivering provisioning on-demand and self-service resource management. IT consumers can access and control the infrastructure resources or managed services they need for their applications, without the complexities of traditional data center infrastructure and shortcutting manual IT administration. It also provides them the power to grow or shrink consumption as required.

While server virtualization and hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) vendors provide technologies that can be used as foundational building blocks in a cloud platform, they lack the essential operating and consumption capabilities that truly deliver cloud agility.

Ready to find out which cloud is right for you?

Just answer a few short questions and we'll help you better understand what's right for you.

Let’s get started

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