Cloud Solution Design – From Architecture to Implementation

A solution architecture design process to define how Business Model Canvas designs can be achieved through Agile Development and Cloud services.

Cloud Solution Design is the second half of a complete Digital Transformation lifecycle, following on from the first phase of ‘Idea to Architecture‘ business model design.

Cloud Solution Design is the review and planning process to translate those canvas models and customer requirements into deployed Cloud services that meet those needs.

Microsoft: Cloud Solution Design

In this presentation for building a Cloud strategy the Microsoft Enterprise Architecture and Strategy team shared their blueprint for an overall framework to guide Cloud Migration. Most notably they approach this from an Enterprise Architecture-led point of view, including encapsulating Business Architecture best practices too.

Presentation summary:

  • How EA/BA provides the connecting logic between Strategy and Execution
  • Mapping Strategic Goals on to relevant XaaS Cloud Services, through ‘Cloud Pattern Matching‘ (slide 50)
  • Enterprise Architecture to Drive Cloud Strategy and Planning
  • Business Value Driven Methodology
  • slide 20 – connecting business strategy to technology investments
  • Embraces and extends proven Cloud best practices, from NIST, Cloud Security Alliance, et al.

Cloud Pattern Matching: ‘XaaS Mapping’

Cloud Solution Design can fundamentally be thought of as a process of “XaaS Mapping”, refering to identifying which particular type of Cloud service might be the best fit for your particular business requirement(s).

In the Microsoft presentation on slide 50 they show this XaaS Mapping, which they describe as ‘Cloud Pattern Matching’.

The customer requirement, eg ‘A1: Customer Portal‘, is matched to a Public SaaS option. Other elements may then be mapped to on premise functionality, and the capability needed to integrate them also defined as a canvas requirement and also mapped to a Cloud service.

This can be applied right through to scenarios including private, in-house deployments, with a common function of each mapping being the exposure and linkage to the underlying enabling technologies in a uniform fashion, across Cloud, SaaS and internal apps.

Cloud Service Catalogue

This top down Capability Mapping can be married with a bottom up cataloguing of potential vendor options to meet your needs, achieved in a super simplistic form through the “Pizza as a Service” analogy.

This compares the increasing scope of outsourced supplier services, how much management responsibility the provider owns versus what the customer manages, to how much work you do in the preparation of the pizza dinner.

This explains the scope of roles and responsibilities through an analogy ranging from ‘made at home’ right through full ‘dining out’.

Siemie Engineering describe an equally simple example of how different vendors offer services at each level, such as:

  • IaaS: Amazon AWS
  • PaaS: Microsoft Azure
  • SaaS: Salesforce.com

Each of these vendors also offers services in the other categories, and there are thousands of other options that also populate this landscape.

Your business requirements can be analyzed and mapped to one or more of these service, indicating which vendors you may want to consider for your supplier short list.

Agile Solution Design

Cloud Solution Design offers a wrapping context and process that encompasses Agile software development.

The best practices defined by Mastercard for ‘Agile Business Architecture‘ describes how development teams work around Business User Stories, the specific functionality users need within a context of Business Architecture.

These user stories are one and the same requirements identified from the Business Model Canvas, such as the ‘A1: Customer Portal’ example described above, and can be fed into the development teams backlog following a decision process that identifies when requirements can be met by Cloud services or should be coded in-house.

Inserting this decision process as an interface to the Agile team encourages an efficient, solution-oriented culture where new code is only written when it is actually needed, following a review to see if services already exist that can be reused first. Cloud services can also include in-house PaaS-based components.

From Idea to Implementation

In conclusion the output of a full digital transformation lifecycle, a fully populated Business Model Canvas with integrated Cloud design components, is very effectively demonstrated through this presentation from BT on their Milton Keynes Smart City case study, achieved through their Cloud platform (with an accompanying executive level case study from BT).

This focuses specifically on how one sub-section of the overall model is achieved, the management of SLAs for key data services.

Via the capabilities offered by BT’s Cloud Management Platform functionality, they isolate out and highlight a sub-set of the business model that the CMP specifically can achieve, including:

  • Easy access to information and services
  • Easy monetization of services and data
  • Guaranteed service levels
  • Easy to use developer portal

Through a process of Cloud Solution Design other Capabilities required to meet the other identified model requirements can be identified in a similar fashion, ultimately addressing how the entire business model can be achieved.

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