One of the problems with today's IT transformation is the lack of reliable engineering approaches adapted to fast-paced business environments. Much more than we think, it prevents a productive dialogue between consultants and clients.
While CIOs expect big pictures that demonstrate changes and benefits, certain consultants continue to address IT transformation through the specifics of the solutions they plan to implement.
IT transformation design patterns are the answers, I've been using them for 15 years to help Fortune 500 companies get value from the transformation of their IT.
The extended EC2 design pattern I developed to facilitate application and even data center migration to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud environment is a case in point.
What are IT transformation design patterns? Why are they needed? What's the extended EC2, and how helpful it is? Those questions are addressed in this article.
Why design patterns are the foundation of IT transformation engineering
Because of the rising digital economy and the associated technology innovations, CIOs need to rapidly and properly transform their IT ecosystems. Engineering approaches that not only address technical issues but also drive the implementation process and communicate benefits are needed. That's where IT transformation design patterns help.
Defining IT transformation design pattern
In this article, the term IT transformation design pattern refers to general reusable cloud architectures solving specific business problem patterns.
They're not necessarily implementable solutions, their primary goal is twofold:
- Offer a neutral language explaining at the executive and operational levels the business, technological and technical challenges and solutions.
- Offer an engineering approach that reduces design and implementation duration and effort.
They're formalized architecture design and implementation best practices for cloud computing, DevOps and IT as a service (ITaaS).
Design pattern as IT transformation engineering framework
In order to meet its goals — communication, cost-effective and rapid design and implementation — the design pattern is structured around four items including purpose, principles, general solution and implementation techniques.
Purpose: Clarifies the purpose of the design pattern along with the business problem patterns to address.
Principles: Are best practices formulated as rules and beliefs supposed to guarantee expected benefits. They're the determinants of the solutions to the business problem patterns.
General solution: Are blueprints resulting from the application of principles. They summarize the functional and technical architecture of the capability to implement.
Implementation techniques: Are recommended technical approaches, solutions and tools to implement the general solutions.
How the extended EC2 facilitates and accelerates IT migration to AWS cloud
Cloud computing is integral to IT transformation. But IT transformation isn't a matter of migrating discrete applications and infrastructure to the cloud; it's primarily about implementing infrastructure in the cloud in a way that guarantees benefits for the IT organization — benefits such as cost savings, speedier deliveries and operational agility.
The rationale underpinning the value businesses can derive from their IT transformation experience with AWS is summarized in the following exhibit:
It's the belief that:
- Seven principles determine the AWS services needed to deliver the virtual computing capability (VCC) architecture that guarantees value.
- The implementation of the VCC using these AWS services results in extended EC2 platforms that concretely deliver expected benefits.
The seven principles of the AWS cloud
Let's explore the principles I've been using to make CIOs happy with their AWS cloud:
1. Virtualization: As a cost-reduction and rapid resource provisioning factor, virtualization will be used as much as possible.
2. Resource pooling: As enabler of the cloud's on-demand feature, resource pooling benefits will be used as much as possible.
3. Elasticity: Because it guarantees reliability, high availability and scalability, elasticity will be a central part of the cloud platform.
4. Automation: Because it takes on and speeds up key processes to make IT operations agile and flexible, automation will be an essential part of the cloud platform.
5. Services: Because they're designed to simplify IT operations and get staff focused on value and innovation, services will be central to the cloud platform.
6. Security: Because it's designed to guarantee effective identity management, access and traffic control, and data protection, security will be a central concern to the cloud platform.
7. Metered billing: Because it allows effective control of cloud resources consumption and therefore expenses, metered billing will be part of the cloud platform.
From the seven principles to the Extended EC2 platform
The extended EC2 platform results from the application of the cloud's seven principles:
It transcends the basic AWS EC2 in that it aggregates 6 AWS services to provide secure, reliable, highly available, scalable and functional computing capabilities:
- Virtual Private Cloud (VPC): Is used as a highly secure virtual hosting environment for extended EC2. It leverages internet gateways and subnets to secure traffic between extended EC2 and the internet.
- Elastic Computing Capability (EC2): Is the basic computing capability which leverages key pair, AMI, auto scaling, elastic load balancing and security group mechanisms to deliver secured, reliable, scalable and highly available virtual machines.
- Relational Database Service (RDS): Because most businesses are still using relational databases, RDS is leveraged to provide secure and reliable enterprise database services. An alternative option is NoSQL databases.
- Identity and Access Management (IAM): Is used to manage authentication and authorization along with federated users at extremely low cost.
- CloudWatch: Is used to monitor resources, usages and consumptions through metrics and alarms.
- CloudFormation: Is used to automate the implementation of the extended EC2 platform. Alternative options include OpsWorks and Elastic Beanstalk.
Cloud computing is young, it's still at the early stage of the technology maturity model; the expertise and engineering methodologies needed to implement it as what it is — an IT service delivery model — are lacking.
As demonstrated throughout this article, IT transformation design patterns are excellent engineering approach to migrate infrastructure to cloud in a way that guarantees value.
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