Any shift to a new IT architecture is difficult. Migrating to a hybrid cloud may be one of the most challenging moves, given the vast number of legacy processes and services that an agency must reconcile or reposition across multiple commercial cloud environments.

Want to make it even harder? Migration does not necessarily mean modernization. Newly migrated systems need to be primed for future refactoring or replatforming to leverage cloud-native services like artificial intelligence, machine learning or serverless computing.

What’s in the way

Agency IT leaders may face several obstacles in hybrid cloud migration projects, including:

  • Application owners and IT staff are reluctant to migrate to the cloud due to perceived technical limitations, funding availability, priorities and increased security risks.
     
  • Federal procurement cycles can be inefficient and decentralized, making it hard to adapt quickly to changes in solutions and parameters.
     
  • In a multi-cloud environment, management and governance of contracts, billing, and service level agreements (SLAs) can be challenging, often requiring multiple tools, processes and service providers.
     
  • The Shared Security Model of the commercial cloud introduces a new level of complexity to managing the risk and responsibility of hosted systems and data, which further complicates the process of assessing the optimal modernization approach.

A three-phase solution

All of this adds up to the unfortunate reality that there is no single tool, solution or service that can address all these challenges. Success requires a holistic, end-to-end approach that must incorporate three primary phases: Assess, Transform and Manage

  1. Assess: An agency’s leaders have to define the overarching governance framework, identifying the stakeholders to be included and building consensus around the program’s goals and objectives. The information that is gathered during this phase establishes a baseline from which the current and future states of security, financial, technical and operational models can be evaluated transparently. It is crucial to establish alignment with relevant cloud strategies (government-wide— e.g. Cloud Smart—as well as department-specific) from the start. This will drive adoption and maximize service capability while ensuring the security and compliance of workloads and data.
     
  2. Transform: The future state governance model, migration strategy and schedule come into play here, driving the individual transformation and migration projects. Enterprise security, compliance and operational models must be instituted to manage new hybrid cloud technical and business processes. The transition into the steady state requires a new service management and support structure to be in place.
     
  3. Manage: Finally, as the transition phase ends, the organization must begin active, ongoing management. A secure, centralized hybrid IT management platform can deliver the needed governance and transparency of the federated cloud environments. It also achieves operational efficiencies through the automated requisitioning, provisioning and billing/chargeback of cloud workloads and data. Continuous optimization and improvement of the operational environment—with a focus on identifying innovations and services to be implemented for future transformation activities—is another benefit of this approach.

These three basic phases are the keys to developing a comprehensive enterprise/hybrid cloud strategy and operational framework that will not only drive the success of a hybrid cloud migration, but also will provide opportunities for modernization and transformation.

For more on CGI Federal’s hybrid cloud capabilities, download the brochure, “Hybrid Cloud and IT Management Overview.

About this author

Picture of John Nemoto

John Nemoto

Vice-President, CGI Federal Emerging Technologies Practice

As the Cloud Practice Lead within CGI Federal’s Emerging Technologies Practice, John supports client relationship development for the federal market, as well as opportunities around the globe. He oversees technical delivery and consulting services and the CGI Unify360 hybrid IT management suite. John joined CGI ...

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