Springboard to the Cloud – the Director’s Cut

We recently published an article about our ‘Springboard‘ strategy, which helps customers in the Public Sector with complex digital transformation challenges.  However, it’s not just relevant for Public Sector organisations; Springboard also applies to businesses who are looking to move to consuming more public cloud services, but who may have already heavily invested in complex onsite infrastructure; some of which seems just too difficult to move.

Now that cloud adoption is ingrained in many organisations and regarded as the first option for many IT projects, you would expect to see businesses moving more infrastructure to the cloud – but the truth is it’s just not happening at the rate you might expect.  This is often because many organisations have complex legacy infrastructure and applications in place that aren’t ready for the public cloud, stopping their digital transformation plans from progressing.

That’s where Carrenza can help.  Our core experience is based on taking complex onsite IT environments and moving the parts that are ‘cloud-ready’ to public cloud environments and providing migration paths and solutions for hosting legacy infrastructure that are not yet suitable for the cloud.  That’s why we call our strategy for digital transformation a ‘Springboard to the cloud’ – because we’re helping you to take that step away from rigid, legacy managed service contracts.

Making cloud transformation more accessible

Across our customer base, we’re still seeing instances of outdated managed service contracts spanning 3 – 5 years, that leave no flexibility for change to accommodate new technology innovations or service requirements.  This makes no sense for businesses, especially during volatile political and economic periods when IT needs to flex and change to suit business demand and cost pressures.

We recently worked with a customer who was initially hesitant about moving to consuming cloud services. They started working with Carrenza when they needed a partner to host their e-commerce platform, and as they became more comfortable over time with consuming cloud services for their e-commerce website, we were then asked to move their Disaster Recovery platform for their entire business over to the cloud.  We didn’t need to talk them into moving to the cloud; we instead let them consume the cloud for themselves by test running the disaster recovery (DR) site to get a feel for the reliability and availability of the platform.  Once the customer had invoked DR and was satisfied with its performance, Carrenza then worked with them to transition their cloud DR environment into being their live, primary production environment – so now everything is run from the cloud.  This transformation had to be managed and transitioned carefully; our customer liked the springboard mentality of moving ‘cloud-ready’ workloads over first, and then carefully moving over more complex legacy systems in a controlled migration as it meant they could better manage risk.

Is the public cloud right for everyone?

Many larger organisations have such complex IT environments that they often don’t know what IT services are running across their entire business, while shadow IT and the proliferation of cloud services have made it more complex to see what applications and systems are in use.

When these organisations engage with Carrenza, our approach to moving to the cloud and digital transformation encourages internal IT teams to engage in an initial discovery exercise to map out what they have in play across their environment.

Taking it further

The really interesting stuff starts happening once that process of discovery and rationalisation has taken place.  Next, we can start to look at what can be automated.

Once systems are moved onto cloud platforms, or at least onto more agile infrastructure, we can build a continuous integration environment.  Using DevOps tools such as Chef, we can start to automate infrastructure and application processes so that deployment and server management becomes an efficient and automated process.  We see the tipping point being around 20 servers when writing scripts to automate processes and management activities begin to pay off.

Let’s use an example: imagine you wanted to introduce a new server into your environment.  With automation tools, you can now install your new server and automate all of the changes, tweaks and additions to firewalls, other server configurations and databases.  Automating the deployment means that you can scale up and down on-demand – something that is critical for larger environments where tens of servers are being managed and the system resource requirement is fluid, needing to handle peaks and trough in performance.

The ability to scale resources on-demand is becoming key for sectors who are reliant on their website to engage with clients and process orders.  We work with organisations who need extreme scaling capabilities – for example; we work with The Jockey Club, GOV.UK and the UK’s Individual Electoral Registration (IER).  Our clients can sometimes require more than 200% of their standard resource requirement during peak periods, meaning that server, storage and networking resources need to be scaled up on-demand and wound down when no longer required.  It would be impossible to match the speed of deployment that our automation tooling enables if clients were managing their environments manually.

Digital transformation with Carrenza is therefore about firstly moving you to cloud-ready platforms where suitable, and then leveraging the expertise that we’ve gathered from managing servers and cloud environments at scale, using automation and DevOps tools so that these cloud deployment and management methodologies can be used within your own environment.

A Springboard to the cloud

Our ‘Springboard to the cloud’ methodology focuses on helping you to achieve the benefits of automation and effortless scaling through digital transformation.  We layer your current infrastructure and application landscape over our cloud blueprint and then look at migration possibilities for any systems that can’t be moved to the public cloud today.  We don’t just lift and shift environments; we look at how to migrate those services to a more agile platform that will enable future automation capabilities.

Related links

Blog: Carrenza’s Springboard to the Cloud solution by Andrew Mellish, Carrenza’s Public Sector Manager

Press release: Carrenza Awarded G-Cloud 9 status & offering ‘Springboard to the Cloud’ for the public sector

 

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