Six Steps on the IT Transformation Journey from Virtualization to Cloud, According to Logicalis US

For many organizations, the IT transformation journey to cloud and aligning their infrastructure with a cloud services model isn’t a simple task. According to Logicalis US, an international IT solutions and managed services provider, there are six steps in the IT Transformation Journey, with each new step building upon the last.

“There are various stages of cloud readiness for organizations, from component-based architectures to hybrid cloud services,” said Samad Ali, Vice President, HP Solutions, for Logicalis US. “One of the hardest parts of moving through the IT Transformation Journey is determining what each stage looks like in practice and determining where you are along the journey and where you want to go.”

Step 1 – Component – Often the first step for most organizations, component-based architectures tend to be siloed around specific technologies and architectures – compute, storage, applications and networking. It is from this point that the real roadmap or IT Journey begins.

Step 2 – Virtualization – Often described as a journey in itself, virtualization has taken IT to new heights – with a centralized control of a distributed environment, for example. Levels of disaster recovery that would have been prohibitively expensive become affordable with virtualization.

Client example by Logicalis US: Logicalis helped a large services company move from a completely component-based architecture to an entirely virtualized environment that included VMware vSphere software, HP’s VirtualSystem Converged Infrastructure, and Logicalis Professional Services. Logicalis also handled the migration of the client’s applications from the physical to the virtualized environment. By leveraging a pre-defined, converged infrastructure like HP’s VirtualSystem, Logicalis was able to reduce the implementation and migration time from months to weeks.

Step 3 – Converged Infrastructure – Servers, storage, networks, applications and management have evolved to the point where they can be converged into a single entity. The speed and agility made possible by deploying a converged infrastructure allows IT to focus on the business rather than trying to source individual best-of-breed components while managing this infrastructure from a single pane of glass. Converged infrastructure is more than a preconfigured resource; it requires a centralized management framework.

cloud-hostingClient example by Logicalis US: One Logicalis customer needed to consolidate the way it purchased, managed and viewed its core infrastructure; the company was challenged with managing servers, storage and networking separately from its procurement and refresh cycles. Logicalis US was able to help by leveraging HP Converged Infrastructure to put together a complete solution with a single management software framework for their core infrastructure. This provided the customer the ability to look at the environment more holistically, the ability to save time and money in the management of the environment, and the ability to deploy the infrastructure more quickly.

Step 4 – Protection Services – By this stage, it’s critical to examine the organizations’ recovery time objective/recovery point objective (RTO/RPO) needs, any industry regulatory requirements, and the company’s budget when thinking about data protection strategies – both in and out of the cloud. While cloud hosting providers often have multiple levels of redundancy available to their clients ranging from traditional off-site tape backup to instantaneous failover between geographically disparate cloud facilities, those data protection strategies are not one-size-fits-all. Each CIO must determine, on an individual basis, which strategies need to be deployed to meet their specific requirements.

Client example by Logicalis US: After helping a client deploy a converged infrastructure within their data center, the next phase of the project was to provide disaster recovery (DR) for the environment and backup for the data, which was offered as a service through Logicalis’ own data centers combined with the HP Public Cloud. To address DR, Logicalis reserved capacity for the client in an off-premise private cloud solution housed within a Logicalis data center; this created a mirrored environment to protect the client in case the main production environment went down. For data backup, Logicalis offered a solution through the HP Public Cloud that ensured the customer’s data was backed up and available in case something happened to the client’s main data set, a solution that also allows the client to safely perform routine maintenance or take down the production environment for updates and repairs.

Step 5 – Automation & Orchestration – Automation and orchestration technologies can help alleviate the amount of time CIOs spend on technology management. Automation scripts the day-to-day tasks like moves, adds, and changes (MACs) that an in-house IT staff would normally handle. Orchestration automates the deployment of new resources and workloads, and gives the organization the ability to dynamically change the resources applied to certain workloads at specified, pre-determined times. In essence, automation and orchestration are about the development of a software-defined data center that increases speed to deployment and ensures the availability of key compute, storage and network resources while also enabling consumption-based metering and chargeback.

Client example by Logicalis US: A Logicalis healthcare client needed to reduce the amount of time it took to deploy new applications and manage their environment on a regular basis, automating key aspects of the environment so that they could start looking at new projects like analytics. Because of Logicalis’ experience with HP’s Cloud Service Automation and the HP Matrix operating environment, Logicalis was able to help the client implement a CloudSystem solution to automate management of the environment and orchestrate the deployment of new applications, freeing the customer’s IT department to work on future projects.

Step 6 – Cloud Computing – The data center is fully virtualized, converged, automated and orchestrated by the time an organization reaches the cloud computing stage of the IT Transformation Journey. At this point, the company would not only be ready to realize the benefits of cloud computing, but its IT department should also be running at a predictable monthly cost and key personnel must have been freed to focus on the ways technology can help their businesses succeed. The delivery of cloud computing can now be consumed in a variety of ways that include public cloud, on-demand cloud, private dedicated cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud options.