Just who is a cloud architect these days?
Is it the developer who turns to a hyperscale provider to ensure access to containers and microservices to accelerate development of cloud-native apps? Is it the line-of-business manager who leverages public cloud to avoid traditional IT procurement processes?
Is it the forward-looking people within the IT department who see all of this activity and recognize that the only way they can survive and the business can prosper is to ensure they deliver a seamless, unencumbered, hybrid multicloud experience to their customers?
Yes, yes and yes. All of the above.
In today’s world, being a cloud architect is no longer about where you sit; it’s about what you do. There have been times when the cloud architect personae have seemed at cross-purposes, whether real or perceived. Developers and LOB managers may have looked at IT as an obstacle to speed; IT may have viewed “shadow IT” as a potential threat to many things they hold near and dear, such as control, governance and security.
Perhaps some individuals who self-identify as cloud architects still harbor these feelings and beliefs. If you do, it’s time to get over it and move on. For the good of the business, cloud architects need to work together toward the same goals, using the best clouds, infrastructure and development tools for the task at hand—whether that is building new cloud-native applications or modernizing legacy apps to meet the needs of today’s highly consumerized customers.
Finding Common Ground
Why is it necessary for the different cloud architect personae to work together? A few reasons:
- Cloud and IT are no longer separate; they are one. If you’re looking for an IT team that hasn’t recognized that cloud is their present and future, you might want to try the unemployment line. That would be the only place to find them. IT cloud architects know that on-premises infrastructure cannot be relegated to legacy apps; they must support the ability to build new modern apps on premises with the same speed, tools, economics, simplicity and scalability as the public cloud.
- Applications don’t live in a vacuum. Whether you are talking about new cloud-native or old legacy applications, the reality is that the business and its customers are better served when data is easily shared across applications, regardless of where they sit. Many legacy apps simply can’t be moved to public cloud, for reasons of security, compliance, governance, etc. At the same time, new cloud-based apps often need to interact with these apps to get access to mission-critical business services and data.
- A shared goal to modernize “traditional” IT. Cloud architects from developer and LOB backgrounds may not realize it, but the cloud architects within their IT department probably have the same goal as they do, which is, fundamentally, to make IT go away. Well, maybe not go away completely, but to disappear so deep into the background that everything is delivered as a service—with no notion of resource availability, wait times, procurement processes, scheduling, policies or limitations on the modern tools developers need do the best job possible.
Living the Life of a Cloud Architect
No matter what your background or how you view your persona, your life as a cloud architect in today’s environment is defined by a number of critical factors that are common to all cloud architects:
- How can you accelerate speed to market?
- How can you leverage multiple cloud environments, including private and public clouds?
- How can you take advantage of modern development tools such as Kubernetes or Docker across all of your cloud environments?
- How can you use automation to accelerate management and development?
- How can you consume/deliver the resources you or your customers need, when they need them, economically and at scale?
- How can you ensure security, reliability and availability, whether for business-critical legacy apps or new cloud-native apps that are driving innovation and modern customer experiences?
The answer to these, and many other questions that may challenge or perplex today’s cloud architects, resides within the realm of delivering a hybrid multicloud experience.
How does enabling the hybrid multicloud experience affect the life of the cloud architect? Stay tuned for Part 2 of our ongoing series.