How to Avoid Cloud Vendor Lock-in with Four Best Practices – Part 2
This article on avoiding cloud vendor lock-in was originally published in Enterprise Tech Journal. Part one of this two part post focused on the separation-of-concerns designs principle and designing resilient integration architectures for hybrid and multi-cloud environments. This part includes information on planning an integration strategy and adopting an enterprise integration solution.
Best Practice 3: Plan Your Integration Strategy
To build future-proof integration architectures in hybrid and multi-cloud environments, integration architects and managers should use the following key questions for planning:
- What is your organization’s digital business strategy? Digital business has created new business models or transformed existing ones by fully integrating digital and physical worlds. Innovative technologies have profoundly altered the landscape of many industries. Some organizations thrive in the face of changes, while others perish. While IT professionals do not create digital business strategies, they play a key role enabling and influencing these strategies through powerful digital platforms. One of the key components in digital platforms is a high-performing and future-proof integration tool set.
- What are your organization’s current and future integration requirements? Inventorying the current integration “pains” is one of the first steps to improve integration and manage changes. For some organizations, the pains include the lack of skills, poor performance, and low availability of systems. For others, their pains include inflexibility, or excessive resources tied up by maintenance. It is crucial to evaluate your organization’s integration tools and architecture. Moreover, staying informed about the digital business strategy helps prepare for future requirements and challenges. For example, if your organization plans to expand from North America to the European Union (EU) in the next three years, you can prepare for it by evaluating integration vendors that meet the EU’s regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
- Where is the data gravity, on the cloud or on-premises? The center of gravity is formed by the primary locations of data mass (i.e. files, documents, databases or data storages). If data gravity is on the cloud, it makes sense to deploy integration jobs on the cloud near the data mass to improve performance and simplify architecture. If the data gravity is in your local data centers, it makes more sense to deploy integration jobs on-premises close to your data mass.
- How has your organization’s funding been changed over the years? We are seeing a trend that IT funding is being shifted towards LOBs from centralized, shared IT groups. With fewer resources and higher demands, it is critical to develop future-proof integration jobs quickly without tying up precious resources in manual coding and rework.
- What are your governance requirements? New self-service integration personas—for example, data scientists, data engineers, and tech-savvy business users—are emerging as parts of digital business. They often have conflicting integration requirements and priorities. How to harmonize their conflicting requirements, while maintaining enterprise standards and optimizing costs in the long term? The industry best practice is to adopt bi-model IT, meaning two complementary modes of IT delivery. Mode 1 focuses on governance and quality-of-services (QoS) such as performance, availability, data quality, and scalability. Mode 2 focuses on agility and speed. In mode 2, self-service users often create their integration solutions quickly to validate their analytical hypotheses or fulfill ad-hoc transactional needs. Rather than letting self-service users run wild without any governance, the shared IT services can provide governed sandboxes, educate users on technologies, and offer suitable assistance. Once prototypes are proven and have met certain thresholds (such as costs, QoS requirements or the number of jobs/ departments involved), the shared IT services can then turn these prototypes into shared assets using an enterprise integration tool and applying the separation-of-concern principle.
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Best Practice 4: Adopt an Enterprise Integration Solution
It is easy to see that manual-coding is costly, unsecure, and unsustainable in hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Using multiple integration tools have equal pitfalls too: inconsistent logics, redundant work, and high costs to acquire and maintain tools. If your organization has several integration tools, it is time to re-evaluate and standardize them to a single enterprise solution that is easy to use, cost effective, and future-proof in hybrid and multi-cloud environments.
It is important to consider solutions that can be deployed on-premises, on a distributed platform, on a private/public cloud, or on a hybrid cloud. Solutions for enterprise integration should be able to perform “design once, deploy anywhere” with no need to re-design, re-compile, re-deploy, and re-optimize. Additionally, consider a solution for both its data integration capabilities and its associated software. Ensure that any provider you work with offers full enterprise data management capabilities: ETL, CDC, data quality, data governance, security and more.
Incorporating these four best practices is critical to avoiding the pitfalls of cloud vendor lock-in. The risk to not doing so can result in even larger challenges for effectively achieving a data-driven organization. Precisely believes that an integration architecture following the separation-of-concerns principle is critical for organizations to meet the current and future challenges of a complex data environment. We are especially committed to this approach as we provide solutions for over 12,000 customers, including 90 of the Fortune 100. Precisely data integration software helps integrate, govern, and optimize data anywhere – ensuring your next data integration project is a success.
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