• A Multi-Cloud Strategy, Design Frameworks, and Day 2 Operational Thoughts

    Recently, I transitioned to a new role. I am now very happy to be working as a Principal Architect with a focus on Multi-Cloud Architecture.

    From an architect’s perspective, my interest is always the customer/partner business value, how to identify and develop their requirements into a technical logical design, and then understand the decisions that need to be considered for successful deployment and consumption at scale.

    How should an enterprise architect approach the Multi-Cloud World

    • Develop a strategy
    • Develop a service design
    • Understand the Business Logic  (Plan*)
    • Deploy & Configure (Build*)
    • Operationalise & improve (Modernise* & Operate*)

    * Major Pillars of the VMware Cloud Ready Framework

    The amount of information available within technology is potentially overwhelming for any technologist. 

    How should an enterprise architect even get started? 

    There are standard design methodologies, alongside vendor-based recommendations for strategies. Technical documentation, videos, books, webinars, and free tiers/credits everywhere?  Which one is best?

    Absorb what is useful. Reject what is useless. Add what is essentially your own.

    Bruce Lee

    From a technologist’s point of view, understanding the technology and the features/capabilities is extremely interesting and valuable.  It could, however, be very easy to go down a rabbit hole and be lost forever in reading about interesting cloud features that are not relevant to your business.

    Understanding the business use case and requirements is key to success.  By developing the criteria and ensuring it is able to be practically measured, the initial desired logical state model can be created.

    Once the initial logical design has been established,  the business to technical decisions are easier to understand and discuss.

    With a business requirement-based logical design, the vendor documentation and content review for whatever technology or cloud provider/service becomes easier.   

    The requirement, to feature, to design decision mapping can be more tightly focused and a service design can be developed with areas such as cost optimization, sizing, capacity, connectivity, security, and sustainability considered at the vendor technology level.

    What are the risks and the gaps with the business and service design for operation, and successful consumption?

    This is an important area, in which I am particularly interested for my advisory activities as an architect. 

    Creating the transition states and ensuring a business impact analysis is constructed while navigating a journey to something like a multi-cloud solution can be extremely valuable.

    This activity can provide real business insight with areas of operational understanding, and practical ability to migrate or transform applications/workloads.

    Design frameworks are extremely useful, but how to apply them while understanding the business impact is an important skill that I am always looking to improve.

    Useful Links

    VMware Cloud Ready Framework  – https://vmc.techzone.vmware.com/vmware-cloud-ready-framework

    AWS Well-Architected Frameworkhttps://aws.amazon.com/architecture/well-architected

    Google Cloud Architecture Frameworkhttps://cloud.google.com/architecture/framework

    Microsoft Azure Well-Architected Framework –  https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/architecture/framework/

  • Field Based Discussions on VMware Cloud Foundation at EMPOWER 2022

    Last month I had the opportunity to present for the VMware EMPOWER 2022 online conference.  

    This conference is primarily aimed at VMware partners, and from a technical perspective, the content is filled with field-based knowledge.

    One of my technology focus areas is VMware Cloud Foundation. The solution-based approach is of great value from a business and technical perspective. Design and operational impacts and design decisions need to be considered both before and after the solution is deployed.  

    My solo session, “Enabling Effective Solution-Based Operations with VMware Cloud Foundation,” highlights the importance of logical design mapping, day two operational impacts with physical design decisions, and business impact formulation for VCF upgrades.

    Another session that may be useful for technologists interested in VCF is the panel session I was happy to work on with two colleagues from VMware. Dean Lewis, and Ann Bailey. This session walks through the VCF 3.x to 4.x transformation process. With differing viewpoints from Sales, PSO and Advisory areas of VMware, this session gives field advice to those considering a real-life upgrade.

    Both sessions are now available for replay at the EMPOWER 2022 website.  

    Links below;

    Navigating the VMware Cloud Foundation 3.X to 4.X Customer Journey: The Field Perspective

    Enabling Effective Solution-Based Operations with VMware Cloud Foundation

  • The Day 2 Operations of Async Tooling with VCF

    VMware Cloud Foundation is a solution-based platform that is powered by VMware’s products to a consistent VMware validated design; however, as with all technology, there are several day 2 operational impacts to consider.

    By ensuring VCF deployments are maintained within operational guard rails and regular updates, VCF Lifecycle management can be controlled successfully.  What can an administrator do if there are competing business constraints and requirements?  

    For example, applying an unexpected full update or a major release of VCF may impact deployment/project plans & timescales.  While security compliance and risk assessments may require a specific upgrade patch to be deployed to allow workloads/applications to be consumed.

    Released earlier this month, the new VCF async tool has been created to enable customers the ability to apply supported critical updates to an existing VCF deployment without applying a major release of VCF.

    This provides greater flexibility for maintenance windows and project planning for large-scale VCF-powered platforms.

    Before using the async tool, there are several considerations to review on the suitability of its use within your business and project.

    The below mind-map and links provide more detail.

    VCF Async Tooling Mind Map