Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: XebiaLabs Blog, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Derek Weeks, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, Cloud Security, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Necessary Conversations: Five Steps to a Perfect Cloud

A perfect cloud begins with an open dialogue among the stakeholders

Cloud has arrived. Everyone in the business, from the CEO to the customer relations manager, wants in on a computing model that promises to lower costs while delivering better service and greater efficiency. The business finally sees the potential of IT to add value, yet such high expectations don't come without risks for failure.

How can you increase the odds of success? By building a firm foundation based on clear communication with the business about their requirements. These conversations should be specific, detailed and, most important, collaborative. The following five steps outline a requirements-gathering process that brings the business and IT together.

Step 1: Identify Your Users.
To create exceptional cloud services, you need to understand who's going to be using them. How technical are your users? How comfortable are they with self-service? How many users are there? How do they ask questions, provide feedback, or request support?

Ask not only who will use the cloud now, but also who might be using it in two years. Identify the groups - and types of users - up front, so you can architect a cloud that can ultimately be rolled out to meet the broad needs of your organization.

Step 2: Identify the Services Your Users Want and Need.
Ask your users for specific use cases that clearly demonstrate what they're hoping to get from cloud services. This can be both a wish list (the wants) and a requirements doc (the needs). Once defined, these wants and needs become your value proposition: what you're selling to the business.

For example, the early users - the developers - may need development environments geared to their specific coding languages and testing environments for scalability or user-acceptance. Business users will have similar permutations: different sizes of content repositories with varying degrees of security or compliance, monitoring for key applications to ensure performance, or extra middleware or applications installed for demo environments. All of these options can be built into your service catalog to ensure that each user can be given the cloud service that meets his or her specific needs.

Step 3: Determine How Your Users Want the Cloud to Work.
Ask your users what features they would like to see, what service levels they expect, and how the service(s) should look, feel, and act. Ask for examples, definitions, and numbers. How fast is fast? What do you mean by sleek, or simple, or sexy? What other applications are "easy to use," and why?

Step 4: Define Your Parameters?
To provide the best possible service, you need to know your constraints. Number one, of course, is budget. What can you spend up front and on an ongoing basis? Where is the money coming from, and is it going to dry up? Other constraints include the following:

  • Timeline. When do you need these services to go live? Is a phased approach an option, or do you need to go all out initially?
  • Geography. Does your global company have cloud requirements in multiple countries, or can all cloud services be centralized?
  • Legal requirements. Do data location laws govern the placement of your services, driving different geographical locations or compliance and security requirements?

Step 5: Define Success and How It Will Be Measured
Determine what a win means to the business so that you are targeting the same goals. What are their success metrics? They may be hard metrics, such as cost reduction and service level achievement, or soft metrics, such as user satisfaction and productivity. Either way, you need to know their thresholds and objectives in order to meet - and exceed - them.

A perfect cloud begins with an open dialogue among the stakeholders, one that builds trust, and understanding, and shared knowledge. Working closely with the business to uncover, outline, and shape their requirements will put you well on your way to cloud success.

More Stories By Lilac Schoenbeck

Lilac Schoenbeck is Director of Cloud Computing Marketing at BMC Software. She has more than 12 years of experience with product marketing, strategy, business development, and software engineering in the grid, virtualization, and cloud domains. Schoenbeck has worked for IBM, Fortisphere, Innosight, and the Globus Alliance, and she holds an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management and a computer science degree from Pacific Lutheran University.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
When scaling agile / Scrum, we invariable run into the alignment vs autonomy problem. In short: you cannot have autonomous self directing teams if they have no clue in what direction they should go, or even shorter: Alignment breeds autonomy. But how do we create alignment? and what tools can we use to quickly evaluate if what we want to do is part of the mission or better left out? Niel Nickolaisen created the Purpose Alignment model and I use it with innovation labs in large enterprises to de...
Using new techniques of information modeling, indexing, and processing, new cloud-based systems can support cloud-based workloads previously not possible for high-throughput insurance, banking, and case-based applications. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, John Newton, CTO, Founder and Chairman of Alfresco, described how to scale cloud-based content management repositories to store, manage, and retrieve billions of documents and related information with fast and linear scalability. He addres...
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Numerex Corp, a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT), will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Numerex Corp. (NASDAQ:NMRX) is a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT). The Company's solutions produce new revenue streams or create operating...
Analysis of 25,000 applications reveals 6.8% of packages/components used included known defects. Organizations standardizing on components between 2 - 3 years of age can decrease defect rates substantially. Open source and third-party packages/components live at the heart of high velocity software development organizations. Today, an average of 106 packages/components comprise 80 - 90% of a modern application, yet few organizations have visibility into what components are used where.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Tintri VM-aware storage is the simplest for virtualized applications and cloud. Organizations including GE, Toyota, United Healthcare, NASA and 6 of the Fortune 15 have said “No to LUNs.” With Tintri they mana...
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, will compare the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, e...
Throughout history, various leaders have risen up and tried to unify the world by conquest. Fortunately, none of their plans have succeeded. The world goes on just fine with each country ruling itself; no single ruler is necessary. That’s how it is with the container platform ecosystem, as well. There’s no need for one all-powerful, all-encompassing container platform. Think about any other technology sector out there – there are always multiple solutions in every space. The same goes for conta...
SYS-CON Events announced today the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp, being held November 1-2, 2016, in conjunction with 19th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but with hands-on demos and detailed walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of real world use cases prototyped using Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark, and Intel Edison. Y...
Let's recap what we learned from the previous chapters in the series: episode 1 and episode 2. We learned that a good rollback mechanism cannot be designed without having an intimate knowledge of the application architecture, the nature of your components and their dependencies. Now that we know what we have to restore and in which order, the question is how?
Whether they’re located in a public, private, or hybrid cloud environment, cloud technologies are constantly evolving. While the innovation is exciting, the end mission of delivering business value and rapidly producing incremental product features is paramount. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Kiran Chitturi, CTO Architect at Sungard AS, will discuss DevOps culture, its evolution of frameworks and technologies, and how it is achieving maturity. He will also cover various st...
If you’re responsible for an application that depends on the data or functionality of various IoT endpoints – either sensors or devices – your brand reputation depends on the security, reliability, and compliance of its many integrated parts. If your application fails to deliver the expected business results, your customers and partners won't care if that failure stems from the code you developed or from a component that you integrated. What can you do to ensure that the endpoints work as expect...
Enterprise IT has been in the era of Hybrid Cloud for some time now. But it seems most conversations about Hybrid are focused on integrating AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google ECM into existing on-premises systems. Where is all the Private Cloud? What do technology providers need to do to make their offerings more compelling? How should enterprise IT executives and buyers define their focus, needs, and roadmap, and communicate that clearly to the providers?
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes ho...
SYS-CON Events announced today that eCube Systems, a leading provider of middleware modernization, integration, and management solutions, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. eCube Systems offers a family of middleware evolution products and services that maximize return on technology investment by leveraging existing technical equity to meet evolving business needs. ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management solutions, helping companies worldwide activate their data to drive more value and business insight and to transform moder...
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the protocols that communicate data and the emerging data analy...
Large enterprises today are juggling an enormous variety of network equipment. Business users are asking for specific network throughput guarantees when it comes to their critical applications, legal departments require compliance with mandated regulatory frameworks, and operations are asked to do more with shrinking budgets. All these requirements do not easily align with existing network architectures; hence, network operators are continuously faced with a slew of granular parameter change req...
Monitoring of Docker environments is challenging. Why? Because each container typically runs a single process, has its own environment, utilizes virtual networks, or has various methods of managing storage. Traditional monitoring solutions take metrics from each server and applications they run. These servers and applications running on them are typically very static, with very long uptimes. Docker deployments are different: a set of containers may run many applications, all sharing the resource...
All clouds are not equal. To succeed in a DevOps context, organizations should plan to develop/deploy apps across a choice of on-premise and public clouds simultaneously depending on the business needs. This is where the concept of the Lean Cloud comes in - resting on the idea that you often need to relocate your app modules over their life cycles for both innovation and operational efficiency in the cloud. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at19th Cloud Expo, Valentin (Val) Bercovici, CTO of So...