Microservices Expo Authors: TJ Randall, David Sprott, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Derek Weeks

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
Right off the bat, Newman advises that we should "think of microservices as a specific approach for SOA in the same way that XP or Scrum are specific approaches for Agile Software development". These analogies are very interesting because my expectation was that microservices is a pattern. So I might infer that microservices is a set of process techniques as opposed to an architectural approach. Yet in the book, Newman clearly includes some elements of concept model and architecture as well as p...
Without lifecycle traceability and visibility across the tool chain, stakeholders from Planning-to-Ops have limited insight and answers to who, what, when, why and how across the DevOps lifecycle. This impacts the ability to deliver high quality software at the needed velocity to drive positive business outcomes. In his general session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Eric Robertson, General Manager at CollabNet, will discuss how customers are able to achieve a level of transparency that e...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions 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. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
With emerging ideas, innovation, and talents, the lines between DevOps, release engineering, and even security are rapidly blurring. I invite you to sit down for a moment with Principle Consultant, J. Paul Reed, and listen to his take on what the intersection between these once individualized fields entails, and may even foreshadow.
In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Claude Remillard, Principal Program Manager in Developer Division at Microsoft, will contrast how his team used config as code and immutable patterns for continuous delivery of microservices and apps to the cloud. He will show the immutable patterns helps developers do away with most of the complexity of config as code-enabling scenarios such as rollback, zero downtime upgrades with far greater simplicity. He will also have live demos of building immutable pipe...
A completely new computing platform is on the horizon. They’re called Microservers by some, ARM Servers by others, and sometimes even ARM-based Servers. No matter what you call them, Microservers will have a huge impact on the data center and on server computing in general. Although few people are familiar with Microservers today, their impact will be felt very soon. This is a new category of computing platform that is available today and is predicted to have triple-digit growth rates for some ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Transparent Cloud Computing (T-Cloud) Consortium 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. The Transparent Cloud Computing Consortium (T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data proces...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
When we talk about the impact of BYOD and BYOA and the Internet of Things, we often focus on the impact on data center architectures. That's because there will be an increasing need for authentication, for access control, for security, for application delivery as the number of potential endpoints (clients, devices, things) increases. That means scale in the data center. What we gloss over, what we skip, is that before any of these "things" ever makes a request to access an application it had to...
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service. 

Apache Hadoop is a key technology for gaining business insights from your Big Data, but the penetration into enterprises is shockingly low. In fact, Apache Hadoop and Big Data proponents recognize that this technology has not yet achieved its game-changing business potential. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, John Mertic, director of program management for ODPi at The Linux Foundation, will explain why this is, how we can work together as an open data community to increase adoption, and the i...
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...
What do dependency resolution, situational awareness, and superheroes have in common? Meet Chris Corriere, a DevOps/Software Engineer at Autotrader, speaking on creative ways to maximize usage of all of the above. Mark Miller, Community Advocate and senior storyteller at Sonatype, caught up with Chris to learn more about what his team is up to.
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...
SYS-CON Events announced today that eCube Systems, the leading provider of modern development tools and best practices for Continuous Integration on OpenVMS, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. eCube Systems offers a family of middleware products and development tools that maximize return on technology investment by leveraging existing technical equity to meet evolving business needs. ...
DevOps is a term that comes full of controversy. A lot of people are on the bandwagon, while others are waiting for the term to jump the shark, and eventually go back to business as usual. Regardless of where you are along the specturm of loving or hating the term DevOps, one thing is certain. More and more people are using it to describe a system administrator who uses scripts, or tools like, Chef, Puppet or Ansible, in order to provision infrastructure. There is also usually an expectation of...
JetBlue Airways uses virtual environments to reduce software development costs, centralize performance testing, and create a climate for continuous integration and real-time monitoring of mobile applications. The next BriefingsDirect Voice of the Customer performance engineering case study discussion examines how JetBlue Airways in New York uses virtual environments to reduce software development costs, centralize performance testing, and create a climate for continuous integration and real-tim...
The general concepts of DevOps have played a central role advancing the modern software delivery industry. With the library of DevOps best practices, tips and guides expanding quickly, it can be difficult to track down the best and most accurate resources and information. In order to help the software development community, and to further our own learning, we reached out to leading industry analysts and asked them about an increasingly popular tenet of a DevOps transformation: collaboration.
At its core DevOps is all about collaboration. The lines of communication must be opened and it takes some effort to ensure that they stay that way. It’s easy to pay lip service to trends and talk about implementing new methodologies, but without action, real benefits cannot be realized. Success requires planning, advocates empowered to effect change, and, of course, the right tooling. To bring about a cultural shift it’s important to share challenges. In simple terms, ensuring that everyone k...
In case you haven’t heard, the new hotness in app architectures is serverless. Mainly restricted to cloud environments (Amazon Lambda, Google Cloud Functions, Microsoft Azure Functions) the general concept is that you don’t have to worry about anything but the small snippets of code (functions) you write to do something when something happens. That’s an event-driven model, by the way, that should be very familiar to anyone who has taken advantage of a programmable proxy to do app or API routing ...