With more urgency to modernize applications and infrastructure, it’s time to jump into the water. Brian Waldon shares the pillars of a successful cloud transformation.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

September 21, 2020

5 Min Read

In the early days of cloud-native transformations, many organizations opted to wade in carefully with thoughtful deliberation. In reality, those efforts were just proverbial toes dipped into the water with initial proofs of concept with containers. These early projects may have leveraged home-grown solutions or been built into existing infrastructure investments and were successful for getting those initial applications to production. Companies became comfortable with where that approach left them, but results were limited, and progress was slow. It’s why a recent survey by The New Stack showed that 60.9% of Kubernetes adopters still have five or less clusters of Kubernetes. Today, enterprises continue to simply wait in the shallow end without the momentum necessary to complete cloud-native transformations.

Now’s a good time to take the cannonball approach: Urgency for instant scalability, global resiliency and developer agility continues to mount. Of course, it's not a good idea to jump in without ensuring a few safeguards are in place. Namely, leaders will want to know:

  • The depth of the pool (the infrastructure): You’ll need to know all the types of infrastructure you will be expected to support in the new cloud era, whether it's public cloud, existing data center, hybrid- or multi-cloud.

  • The temperature of the water (the contents): What types of applications are you going to support? Will that include both greenfield and brownfield applications? Are they all microservices or must some be refactored? Are there stateful applications? Data-intensive applications?

  • That no one else is in the way (the organizational requirements): Enterprises operate under regulations and standards. Are there security and performance requirements that need to be met? Does your CISO or CTO need to sign off on this? What interoperability and integration requirements need to be met?

  • There is a lifeguard on deck (high availability and disaster recovery plan): Are you prepared if there is a localized disk or memory failure? What about a rack failure? What if an entire site goes down? How will you recover from disasters?

At Diamanti, we understand the differences between cannonballs and wading in. We've coached or supported multiple Fortune 500 companies through these strategies and have developed solutions built specifically for cloud-native transformations. To jump in safely, we recommend following these three pillars.

1. Architecture

Just like virtual machines, containers provide a convenient abstraction layer. However, virtualization attempts to solve too many problems at once: infrastructure modularity, workload modeling, and low-level isolation -- to name a few. Continuing to rely on this blunt instrument is like sitting with toes dipped into the cloud-transformation pool. It feels safe but you're losing momentum for full-scale change and adding more complexity in the long run.

The good news is container technology and the container storage layer have matured. Containers are safe and secure, eliminating the need for operating containers inside VMs. VMs will continue to be a part of the data center for some time, but investments in cloud-native architectures do not need to be backwards compatible. Once organizations realize they no longer “need” their virtual machine security blanket, they can more effectively build modern DevOps workflows and highly scalable cloud-native applications without the baggage of legacy approaches, readying themselves for a cannonball.

2. Long-term needs

It's easy to get caught up in making a platform decision with one project or goal in mind. However, the solutions you implement for your cloud transformations now will have long-term ramifications. When selecting the platforms that will turn your organization into a cloud-native company, think about the long-term needs.

To help ensure your decisions will be beneficial years down the road, attempt to answer the questions posed earlier about application and infrastructure safeguards. Narrowly focused solutions will hinder growth and expansion as developers will find other ways to resolve their needs. Solutions utilizing nonstandard APIs, or thick layers of additional software can jeopardize your ability to take advantage of the broader cloud native ecosystem.

3. Operational simplicity

Solving for operational simplicity goes hand in hand with taking the long view of your organizational needs. Your organization must consider the simplest implementation and the most efficient way to manage these new tools and platforms.

For example, your enterprise requirements will change with a cloud-native operation: High availability, security, performance, and easy-to-manage Day 2 operations will be front and center moving forward. How a company sets itself up to meet these requirements today will impact how it grows in the future.

New technologies require people power, as well. Embarking upon a long-term cloud transformation requires tooling and staffing to support those tools. Understanding how a solution will scale as you grow and how difficult it will be to manage is crucial to any transformation strategy.

Cannonballs require a sound jumping-off platform

The urgency to modernize applications and infrastructure has increased, and organizations need to look for solutions that help to propel their cloud transformation. You’ll need a solution that is ready for tomorrow’s enterprise security, availability, resilience, and performance requirements that allows you to invest more in your applications and less on infrastructure.

The solution has to be ready for any type of application running on any infrastructure. Our expertise and experience with leading companies enabled us to create a platform -- Diamanti Spektra -- that meets all of the tenets that underpin a successful transformation. Spektra makes it easy for enterprises to modernize quickly and in production. Spektra delivers lasting change while also helping to fuel immediate results. In other words, it's the perfect diving board for a cannonball.

Brian Waldon is the VP of Product at Diamanti. He provides strategic and technological vision to develop Diamanti’s Kubernetes solutions. Having been part of the Kubernetes community since the beginning, Brian brings a deep perspective on customer needs and the technological expertise that keeps Diamanti in front of industry trends including being the first company to provide a complete platform to seamlessly deploy and migrate stateful applications across a hybrid cloud.


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