Monday, June 8, 2015

Would you build your house from a Visio diagram?

Would you even hire an architect that highlighted hand drawn diagrams and spreadsheets as their design tools of choice? Of course you wouldn’t. Not using computing aided design (CAD) as a primary architectural tool today is just laughable. So why do multimillion dollar companies invest millions into building and deploying cloud computing solutions that are basically architected using not much more than diagrams, spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations? Cloud computing CAD is now a business requirement. Cloud solution architects are integral to the ideation, creation and deployment of new business models and CAD is the right tool for optimizing their solutions. This is why the use of cloud computing solution computer aided design today will determine the future profitability of billion dollar corporations

To be a successful business partner, cloud solution architects must think differently than the traditional information technology (IT) architect. Traditional IT solutions are often architected from the viewpoint of horizontal specialists, separately focusing on compute infrastructure, storage infrastructure, datacenters and networks. Cloud computing architects must explicitly abandon this horizontal view and embrace a vertical design approach that integrates IT infrastructure (aka IaaS), the application development environment (aka PaaS) and the overlying business logic (aka SaaS) into an integrated product or service delivery platform. Traditional IT architects also tend to see solutions
as the linking of physical components and boxes together in way that addresses the organization’s needs. With this mindset, they focus on specific technical characteristics and capabilities. While these aspects still remain crucial to a successful deployment, the cloud solution architect must instead, visualize solutions as the linking together of compatible and interoperable services. With this viewpoint, the actual physical components are less of a concern and the service levels and service “-ilities” (maintainability, usability, portability, sustainability, etc.) rise in importance. They also must quantify the business economics of any delivered design. Many times economic aspects alone will define the difference between a new service launch and a new idea left on the shelf.

Figure 1- Burnstorm cloud solution modeling software use

The complexities of cloud computing design are also magnified by the tight coupling of these solutions to modern business models and operations. This linkage forces an increased responsiveness and a level of dynamic change onto IT platforms that was incomprehensible less than a decade ago. Business agility and an offerings relevance to the targeted customer set is directly dependent on how efficient and effective a company’s IT platform is in matching their customer’s interactive demands. The cost of failure in the implementation and deployment of these new business models is exorbitant. This clearly implicates that its way past time to move beyond using just pencil, paper and PowerPoint to build these solutions. The use of cloud computing CAD tools is especially important when the organization is designing hybrid solutions or consuming services from cloud computing marketplaces. Cloud solution architects must transition to using CAD and this transition is actually happening right now.

According to cloud computing CAD software provider Burstorm, cloud computing solutions modeling activity is increasing globally. The first quarter of 2015, in fact, saw a 20% increase in the use of their cloud solution design software , primarily in Mexico, India and the United States. Burstorm gathers data from hundreds of cloud service providers in thousands of locations around the world. The software maps, matches and optimizes the best provider solution to solution architect provided design scenarios. Summarizing and anonymizing the data enables the development of a very accurate snapshot of how automated design tools are being used to design, build and deploy cloud computing solutions. 

We as an industry must move away from the status quo of manual design processes and embrace the use of modern design tools. Decision makers should take note of this trend and revisit their organization’s cloud solution design capabilities. In doing this they should remember that a professional is only as good as the tools that they use. Think about that the next time you or your cloud solution architects finalize a multimillion dollar cloud computing deployment based on a bunch of diagrams and spreadsheets.

Figure 2- Interactive solution design comparisons

( This content is being syndicated through multiple channels. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of GovCloud Network, GovCloud Network Partners or any other corporation or organization.)

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