I have been thinking about this for a while and whilst the below is by no means an exhaustive list I believe it covers all the angles I have seen over the last couple of years. It’s presented in no particular order, all I will add is that moving to the cloud should be viewed as a partnership with your provider not a customer – supplier transaction. This often ends up long term and the most successful solutions are approached as partnerships from the start, fostering trust and understanding.
- Opex not Capex – Cloud models are Opex based, which is not that new to anyone that has always used leasing. However I have seen restrictions in what can be added to a lease. It’s mostly physical hardware or software licenses with some value. The intangible tends not to be included – so maintenance, operational support, Colo costs, electricity and all the other services required to keep the tech running. Cloud Capex includes all of this and more. Providing fixed, transparent costs over a long period, enabling the customer to focus more effort on what the business needs – an application to deliver functionality to help it make money.
- Tech refresh, or new Application, a need for HA or Relocation of IBMi or IBMp workload? – If any of these situations are imminent then it’s time to at the very least explore the IBM POWER cloud options. Even if you are running the older tech eg AS400, iSeries, RS600 or pSeries the skills and tech exist to get you into the cloud
- Flexibility – Increase or decrease IBM Power resources as required, e.g. Coverage for peak periods, short term development environments. Deployment that could have taken weeks in the past can be completed within hours. Pay as you grow and for what you use can be very useful in a rapidly changing business. In addition, if an ISV has over spec’d the processing required for a new application or upgrade, the customer has the ability to reduce the processing to what they really need. Equally, if underspec’d it can be increased without hassle
- IBM Power – IaaS, SaaS, PaaS? – Cloud is still a rather fluffy reference (pun intended). To nail it down we need to understand the requirement and differences between IaaS, SaaS & PaaS.
- Operational support– Who is delivering this and how? Will I be talking to someone that is offshore from the hardware? How close will the people running it day to day be to the technology? Of course you can run remote operations but having access to just look at the front of the system can be massively helpful when working on hardware issues. Even if it’s just to change a tape. It’s even more helpful if your service provider has control over the hardware support services required to fix issues.
- Production, HA, Dev, UAT?– What environments should I put into the Cloud? One, some or all? What are the benefits of these choices? Tactical deployment of single instances of HA environments suit some customers with limited skills in this area. Short term test environments for projects can also be common. However the Strategic approach to move a combination of environments into the cloud is more common than the others now. These environments often need to be close together for transferring data – HA needs good bandwidth for replication DEV & UAT often require data refreshes to ensure the most up to date information is being used to test.
- IBM Power Cloud SLA’s – Rather than spending time drawing up specifications and running a tender process to purchase the hardware, when considering cloud time should be spent to understand the SLA’s required from the different environments. What availability does the business demand from applications? How long can they survive without them? This will drive the solution and costs and in this situation is more important than the granular detail of specifications. However……
- Understand the IBM Power cloud you are looking at– Make sure you have at least a high level understanding of the infrastructure in place to deliver your cloud. P7? P6? Older!!? What OS versions are supported? Ensure your SLA’s demand quality. This is not just about the spec and configuration of the hardware. What about the DC environment? What’s the resilience surrounding the communications and power? How new is the Data Centre? Check security standards and accreditations. Does the Cloud provider own their Data Centre or rent space from someone else? The last part is important, we have seen whole data centres have to move because landlords decide that flats will make more money than housing computers! In addition, don’t just take their word for it, go to the GEMBA. International clients want to understand the maturity of the national infrastructure, how stable is it? Can it deliver their applications across the globe? What kind of natural disasters and extreme weather could the country be susceptible to?
- Understand the IBM Power cloud provider– This could be the most important. What are their credentials? What do their accounts look like? How stable is the organisation? Talk with existing customers about their experiences – good and bad (nobody is perfect after all)
- Additional Server infrastructure– what else do I have & do they need to be close together? The IBMi & IBMp tends to be a core application server for most clients that use them, but more often than not it’s surrounded by multiple peripheral servers eg Wintel & Linux. Close proximity of these servers is sometimes beneficial, so your IBM Power Cloud provider should have a mature and proven X86/wintel/Linux cloud service. All the above points will also need to be considered for this environment.
I truly believe that Blue Chip have the best answers to the questions above, technology to deliver the above, and solution to meet the customers’ needs.
The Blue Chip IBM Power Cloud is the most viable based out of the UK and because of this is already delivering to international customers in 34 Countries across North & South America, Europe, and AsiaPAC. Therefore I would say it’s possibly already the most mature IBM Power Cloud available globally.
Please feel free to contact me for a more formal & private discussion of your requirements.