Enterprises are moving to hybrid cloud environments at an impressive speed. Per Gartner Inc., by the end of 2017, nearly half of all large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments. "Over time, the cloud will simply become one of the ways that we "do" computing, and workloads will move around in hybrid internal/external IT environments."
Program managers can do a lot to ensure that the transition to a hybrid cloud environment retains the enterprise's current stellar application performance metrics. This article explains a step-by-step process for creating a strategic cloud application performance optimization (APO) plan and presents a few extra tips on handling hybrid cloud architecture.
An easy way to think of the APO plan is to consider the current "as-is" cloud environments and the desired "future" cloud requirements. The difference between the two will determine what is necessary to build out and transition to a hybrid cloud environment. There is a huge payback on this step, so be sure to stop and make time for it.
Create a strategic APO plan
The best way to start an integrated hybrid cloud APO strategic plan is at a whiteboard. Identify what data, services and applications are currently in a private cloud infrastructure and what has already been transitioned to a public cloud. Identify existing hosting vendors.
Check for rogue cloud environments being independently managed by business groups. Diagram which cloud environments talk to each other and how. This is the current as-is view.
The current as-is drill down
Next comes the drill down for the as-is phase. Request performance metrics from all hosting vendors, along with their outage metrics. Check that they meet their service-level agreements (SLAs) and that customer satisfaction metrics on performance are acceptable. Consider consolidating multiple hosting vendors to more easily manage multiple public cloud environments and reduce overall cloud expenses.
Pull all rogue public clouds into the strategic APO plan. Make sure APIs are working as expected and data is moving securely and efficiently across the networks. The as-is analysis may also be a good time to evaluate security concerns and other risks with the various cloud environments that are now forming the integrated plan.
An APO plan for the future
You can now begin designing the desired future state for the hybrid cloud. There will be a naturally occurring growth in services and data. Put this anticipated growth into the plan. Identify both private and public clouds that will become part of the future hybrid cloud. Identify which cloud environments need to talk with each other. Consider what resources will be needed to manage the future hybrid cloud.
Next, using the knowledge obtained during the drill down in the as-is phase, identify improvements the current hybrid cloud environment could use. In order to receive support and resources for these improvements, show the performance issues that customers are experiencing or will experience, plus any security and data risks that you located.
Plan the APO work and work the plan
Finally, do a quarterly review of the integrated plan and update the plan as needed. A hybrid cloud changes quickly and business needs will also shift over time. Stay on top of private and public cloud environments to maintain a healthy hybrid cloud.
Check to see how the existing environment has changed over the past three months. Find out if business or customer expectations have changed or are expected to change. Then make any changes that are necessary and keep on moving.
The hybrid cloud environment is here to stay. This new IT operating model presents new challenges for all of us. However, with an integrated APO strategic plan in place, and by watching that plan quarterly for any changes, project managers will be able to manage and optimize application performance in any cloud environment.