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3 key questions to ask if you want an efficient cloud service


Ng.jpgLouise Ng has more than 25 years in multiple IT positions across a variety of industries. Today she is the WW CTO for Cloud & Automation services at HP, and she specializes in leading large-scale projects that deliver quality services through operational optimization.


Imagine if your city responded to a parking shortage by randomly building parking lots without analyzing where the shortages are or how people in different neighborhoods need to park and when. Most likely it wouldn’t solve the problem. That’s what it’s like when IT stands up cloud infrastructure on demand without any lifecycle management that ensures how, when and how long the business plans to use it.


Setting expectations

Before you use the cloud to develop applications, you should first examine your end-to-end processes and draw up a cloud service design, so that people have a way to come and request what they need and how long they need it. If you don’t, you’ll end up with useless virtual parking lots in the form of siloed and orphaned resources. By designing your cloud services, you define for both the user and IT what they can and cannot expect from the service delivery capability.


A service design will help you implement your cloud infrastructure in a way that makes the most of your money and resources, without generating systemic waste in the form of underutilized or single-purpose installations. It also allows your lines of business the agility they are expecting when using the cloud without having to worry about the underlying technology.


Finding the best fit

Previously, I described three key roles in a cloud service delivery model that can help you get the most benefits and value from your cloud: the service owner, cloud service designer, and cloud service delivery architect. Your cloud service designer is the person who will translate the needs of the service owner into a service definition that best suits the needs of your enterprise.


So where do you start? The first step is to have a business conversation. Here are three crucial questions to ask:


  • Who’s going to use the service?
  • How are they going to use it?
  • For what purpose will they use it?

The answers can help explain the business requirements that each line of business is trying to meet with their cloud installation.  Different applications need different platforms, and different line-of-business users have different infrastructure needs.


Many users expect to be able to order their cloud infrastructure services by T-shirt sizes with a graduated price and service level by size small, medium or large infrastructure.  So what’s the definition of a small, medium and large?  Is that for the enterprise as a whole, or for each line of business owner or specific application?  What is the policy around your cloud offerings? Around your cloud designs?  Do you have any service architecture standards?


The downside to skipping service design

I am working with a customer right now that is in great pain. They’re very focused on infrastructure provisioning and not so focused on the service definition. I’m working with them to think differently about what they’re trying to accomplish with cloud.


Most of these customers are in a hurry to get the environment prepared for application development, but they really haven’t done the diligence in figuring out their service design.


What ends up happening is they use tooling to orchestrate their service design and they have had no business conversation. I’m telling them that they need to define their cloud service design so that it can provide the agility and speed that are expected to meet the needs of the business and at the same time ensure optimized usage of infrastructure resources. If you’re focused only on infrastructure, you’re not thinking strategically and most likely creating waste and costing the enterprise more instead of less.  


To gain insight into how your organization can develop a strategy to best leverage cloud, attend an HP Cloud Workshop.


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