Can a Cloud Center of Excellence Help You Become Cloud Native?
Cloud computing has changed the fundamental structure of the enterprise IT department. While the benefits of cloud computing are well understood, effectively integrating the fundamental changes required to support cloud-native architectures properly is not as universally well-known.
Enter the Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE). The CCoE is an organizational structure designed to drive acceptance and adaptability of cloud constructs into the enterprise IT processes. The CCoE is a fundamental restructuring of how we think about IT in an effort to leverage and profit from cloud computing principles.
What key ways can a CCoE help drive a cloud-native organization to success?
Cloud-Native Best Practices
The CCoE is intended to serve as a beacon for how an effective cloud-native team should function using cloud-native tools. It is responsible for creating, articulating, championing and documenting best practices for the rest of the organization to follow. It provides an organization-wide standard for all to prevent common errors and pitfalls from being repeated by every group in the organization.
As the owner of best practices and their requirements, a CCoE engages the various groups within the organization and drives the adoption of these best practices. Leading by example and acting in the role of a respected leader is critical for cloud success.
Besides cloud-specific processes, a CCoE often provides best practices for other cloud-native critical methodologies, including the use of microservices architectures, CI/CD and DevOps processes. It’s important that these best practices are championed by someone able to enforce this adoption across the entire organization, and the CCoE can provide this leadership.
Tooling and Standards
A pressing problem for any organization attempting to grow into a cloud-native organization is how it creates the tools and implements necessary company standards in order for the organization to operate.
A CCoE can provide basic tools and standards for working in the cloud clearly and consistently. This may involve building custom tools for specific purposes or sourcing existing tools for the organization to adapt.
It’s a tall order—many things must be considered. How do you deploy your applications to Kubernetes clusters? Which cloud services should you use and how do you create and configure them in a way consistent with other services used by the company? How do you replicate development, staging and test environments and make them a useful but independent testbed for the production environment?
For multi-region applications, how do you replicate the production infrastructure from one region into another region? What tools are needed to keep the environment operational?
Can you use a particular brand-new cloud service in production? What settings of the service are appropriate? Should I use this feature or capability? How do you ensure your system choices create a safe and secure infrastructure? How do you verify this? How do you handle monitoring, logging and analytics from the cloud services?
Having a centralized group of experts deciding these questions breeds efficiency and avoids chaos. Standard tools and setups ease the cloud efforts of other groups in the organization and ensure appropriate and consistent practices. By leading the setup of these tools and standards, a CCoE improves cloud enablement overall and ensures consistent behaviors and practices across the organization.
Subject Matter Expertise
When an organization transforms into one that supports cloud-native systems, it often faces difficult organizational-level discussions and decisions. The CCoE is staffed with subject matter experts (SMEs) who can provide expert guidance and direction on cloud practices. By sharing their expertise with management and other technical groups, the CCoE helps promote widespread cloud adoption and a cloud-centric mindset across the entire organization.
Subject matter experts provide technical and organizational leadership to all levels of the organization, from the executive decision-makers to the individual contributors.
External Cloud Relationships
A cloud-centric organization will have many external cloud partners, providers, vendors and other external parties that it must coordinate with. The CCoE is a natural place to coordinate these relationships by being the primary contact for vendors and attending meetings with partners. The CCoE’s unique combination of cloud and corporate knowledge provides the experience necessary to manage these external relationships.
A cloud center of excellence can be an extremely valuable asset for an organization looking to build and migrate cloud-native applications. While any organization can benefit from this structure, the larger and more significant the organizational transformation required, the greater the benefits the CCoE can bring.