Evolving towards a Cloud Centre of Excellence in AWS

10-09-2019 / CloudOps

AWS came out with its first public cloud offering in 2006, bringing with it extensive debate on the benefits of cloud migration. Claims that migrating to the cloud would cut costs and provide the ability to efficiently respond to demand fluctuations led to many organizations migrating into the cloud, most lifting and shifting their legacy infrastructures into AWS.

AWS has since continued growing its offering and currently boasts the highest market share and richest library of features. Still, many organizations that migrated to AWS in its early years are not taking full advantage of the cloud and have not realized the full extent of benefits that were claimed. According to AWS, most of its clients only have 3% of their total workloads in the cloud. Whether they haven’t gotten around to migrating the other 97% or don’t know how, they haven’t yet built a Cloud Centre of Excellence.

What do I mean by a Cloud Centre of Excellence?

The term Cloud Centre of Excellence, or CCoE, was coined by AWS’ Stephen Orban to describe a cloud strategy that is built and executed across an entire organization. For an organization to create a cloud centre of excellence, they must align their technology around cloud and define an opinion on how cloud technologies can be responsibly implemented at scale. In this way, a cloud centre of excellence can become a fulcrum for transforming the way technology serves business.

CCoEs strike the balance between proprietary and open source tooling. By knowing what value they wish to take from the cloud, organizations can know when they should invest the time and effort required to research and build differentiated value from scratch in AWS with open source tools. Likewise, they will know when they can afford to leverage the extensive resources and tooling offered by AWS as a hyperscale cloud without risking too high levels of vendor lock-in. While this balance will be different for every CCoE, open source are vendor-neutral and will outlast all the vendors.

Cloud migration is a high-risk/high-reward venture. 

You will only reap the rewards of cloud if you migrate well, and you risk reducing feature velocity if you do so badly. It turns out that many of the early cloud pundits had it wrong – it’s not migrating to the cloud that helps your business, it’s transforming your IT into a CCoE that helps your business

Migrating successfully requires evolving your technologies around cloud. It will involve designing your cloud strategy to deliver the differentiated value needed by your organization, and executing that strategy by designating an interdisciplinary team to create and institutionalize best practices, frameworks, and governance. When tools and operational processes are made efficient and aligned around cloud, the cloud multiplies the value an infrastructure gives a business.

When legacy tools and operational processes are used to manage workloads in the cloud, the cloud exaggerates the gaps in those tools and processes. More resources end up being used, and you may have to migrate all over again. The cloud will hinder the performance of infrastructures that have not been transformed into CCoEs.

A CCoE represents the best way to actualize the benefits of cloud. By defining goals of what you wish to take from the cloud, you can identify what value you must create for yourself with open source tools. By outlining a framework for achieving those goals, you maximize your ability to benefit from AWS’ rich library of features while remaining in control of your long-term roadmap. Owning your destiny in the cloud means taking full advantage of whichever cloud platform you choose to leverage while minimizing the risk of vendor lock-in.

To learn how to identify the gaps holding your cloud structure back from becoming a CCoE read our white paper called ‘How to Initiate DevOps Transformation by Assessing Culture and Processes.’ By creating a clear strategy for aligning your technology around cloud and implementing best practices for doing so, you will enable your organization to benefit from the full ROI that AWS can offer.

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