A stepped approach to evolve towards cloud (part 4)


I described in my previous blogpost the first five steps as an approach to evolve from a traditional IT environment towards cloud computing. Let me recap in the list below the first five steps:

A stepped approach to evolve towards cloud (part 3)


I described in my previous two blogpost the stepped approach to evolve towards cloud. In the first post I described on how to make the inventory of workloads in your organization. In the second post I described (a) how to prioritize the workloads to determine the best candidates for cloud and (b) how to determine the destination of the workloads in the cloud. Let me now take you through the next two steps.


Step 4

4. Determine the migration path

Migration of a workload from a traditional IT delivery model into a cloud delivery model can be done in several ways. To do so, we determine the migration path for each workload individually. Each workload can migrate through one of the following four paths:

(a) A first path is to start with the externalization of the traditional IT platform towards an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS) environment. This will primarily makes costs more transparent, utilization more variable, free skills to enable focus on supporting the business, and shift from a capital spending model to an operational spending model. Later on the workloads can be moved to a higher level of virtualization, towards Software as a Service (SaaS) or even up to Business as a Service (BaaS). This migration path might be easiest, but is tending to be slow before you move to a higher level of virtualization.

(b) A second path is to start with an internal private cloud, typically a path that will be used by very large organization and also applicable to manage constrained workloads (see step 1). This path consolidates workloads across the organization, leading to an internal standardization. It enables the increase of the level of virtualization and prepares to provide internally a service as a Business (BaaS). If the level of Business as a Service (BaaS) can be achieved then you created an internal service center. Once workloads are moved on private cloud, they are standardized and can be benchmarked with comparable services available from third parties.

(c) A third path is to move an application directly to a Software as a Service version of the already used application. This path is only applicable when (a) the application installed in a traditional IT environment is available as a service and (b) the workload is not constrained (see step 1).

(d) A fourth path is to replace the currently used application to an alternative application that meets the business needs.

The graph depicted below retakes the two axes from the previous step 3 and illustrates the four paths towards cloud. The first path (a) is depicted on the lower right hand side, the second path (b) is depicted on the left hand side, the third (c) and fourth (d) paths are depicted in the middle.

Cloud destination areas

The choice for the migration path must be based on multiple criteria, such as: availability of a service in the cloud, flexibility in scaling and choice of service, cost level and cost transparency, impact on the organization (skills, allocation, and budget), maintenance contracts in place, infrastructure lifetime, etc.

The latter two migration paths are faster, these paths are commonly used to start moving ‘commodity like’ applications to a cloud service, which is frequently triggered by a license renewal of the software or by an upgrade to a new major version of the software.

The outcome of this step is table of workloads, with for each workload a strategy on how the workload will evolve over time towards the cloud (if applicable).

A stepped approach to evolve towards cloud (part 2)


I hope you have been through my previous blogpost on how to have a stepped approach to evolve towards cloud. I described previously the first step, on how to make the inventory of workloads in your organization. The result of the first step is a list of workloads separated in two parts: (a) workloads with one ore more constraints and (b) workloads without constraints. In this blogpost I will take you through the next two steps that should bring you closer to cloud computing.


Step 2

2. Prioritize the workloads to determine the best candidates for cloud

In this second step we will prioritize the workloads, which will enable us to determine which workloads are the best candidates for a move to the cloud. To complete this step you should do two things for each workload:

First, determine the benefits of having the workload in the cloud under the assumption that the workload is available as a cloud service, thus available as the most ideal situation in terms of cost and flexibility. You should not pay attention to the constraints imposed on the workload to determine the idealistic benefits. Typically you would quantify benefits such as business responsiveness, flexibility, cost (capex/opex), support level, skills maintenance, and others. Each benefit should be quantified on a weighted scale and then summarized

Second, determine the pain of moving the workload from its current environment into the cloud ; again do not pay attention to the constraints imposed on the workload. Typically you would look at the pain caused by the impact on the change of technology, by the requirements on availability, by the requirements on security, and other.s Also here, these pains should be quantified on a weighted scale and the summarized.

The outcome of this exercise is a table of workloads, with for each workload a quantified benefit (summarized benefits into the first number) and a quantified pain (summarized pains into the second number). You can now put this table of workloads into a two dimensional graph with the quantified benefit as the first axis, the quantified pains as the second axis, and the workloads plotted on the graph as dots. This allows you to group the workloads into three clusters: (1) the first cluster are the workloads with great benefits and a low pain to migrate, consequently are these the best candidates for cloud, (2) the second cluster are the workloads with low benefits and a big pain to migrate, consequently these are the worst candidates for cloud, and (3) the remaining workloads are in between the previous two clusters, we call these the potential candidates for cloud.

We have now determined which workloads are tangible the best candidates, those that are potentially candidates, and those that are the worst candidates to move to the cloud. We can now proceed to the third step.

A stepped approach to evolve towards cloud


Cloud computing is gradually sneaking into traditional business environments. The interest in cloud computing is picking up rapidly as organizations seek for flexibility and innovation (driven by the adoption of business and software services), but meanwhile reduce their costs (driven by the adoption of public services). Over the past years came cloud computing to maturity and cloud services are now widely available. The current pace of adoptions confirms my previous research work, which means that we can expect a massive adoption of cloud computing this year and next year. This evolution will change the way businesses are operated currently and moreover drastically impact the way IT services are provided. If your business has not started to look into the ability to exploit cloud, then you better start doing so before you will be squeezed out of business.

Unfortunately we see among IT suppliers that a lot of ‘cloud painting’ is done today; therefore lots of confusion is around. Traditional vendors, in particular local companies, rename their hosting and housing services towards cloud services without changing anything and without being really providing cloud services. These mid-sized and small-sized suppliers try to surf the cloud trend and use ‘cloud painting’ in their marketing approach.

content services

The evolution towards cloud services brings total flexibility in IT to meet business responsiveness. The industrialization of services leads to cost optimizations, which leads to a globalization of cloud service providers. Local suppliers operate datacenters up to a few thousand square meters (typically between 2.000 m² and 6.000 m²) and must now compete with global industrialized datacenters which are multiple times larger (typically starting from 50.000 m²). This trend pushes local companies into a difficult competitive position, unless they operate in a dedicated niche market.

All good things must come to an end and so does the Smarter Media in Flanders project!


In 2010, I conducted an extensive survey of the Flemish media industry. It revealed that although local media players have a number of needs in common, each meets them in a separate way.

Media companies still collect, process, and publish content independently of one another. All are making similar efforts, at similar expense, to manage the very similar processes. This results in immense financial and logistical pressure on each of these players, with little or no real benefit. Managing many of these same processes do not differentiate the media companies from the services supplied by competitors.

Seeing that this was an inefficient way of working, I convinced the sector to look for a more intelligent approach – a way for them to discuss which services could be handled communally in the future. I presented on behalf of IBM the issue to the Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT). The result was the joint research project ‘Smarter Media in Flanders’ (SMIF), an interdisciplinary study – supported by the IWT and the academic institutions grouped by iMinds – that aims to innovate the way in which the Flemish media sector works together.

In January 2011, intense consultations between the different Flemish media players resulted in a consensus around six future joint research projects: the collection of sports results; the collection of local news (citizen journalism); a customized video distribution platform focused on the end consumer and on professionals (for example, a channel tailored to the medical world); a joint press archive (through which each player would have access to its own press articles); a copyright monitor (which would make it possible for media companies to monitor how their articles and photos were being used); and a shared proof-of-advertising system that, for example, would automatically send an e-mail to advertisers with a PDF of an advertisement that was being placed, including its context.

SMIF logo

Business Agility through Cloud in Development and Operations


Many mature organization have become fragile, they have become unable to respond rapidly and dynamically to changes in the business environment. New market entrants apply alternative business models which exploit the capabilities of technology and enter in competition with traditional business. The recent IBM CIO survey showed that CIO’s are aware of the important role technology has; the ability to implement new technology effective and efficient has become the number one criteria to be successful. The number one game changer in technologies is definitely cloud.

The Cloud is NOW!


Many people still think that cloud is a hype, that it’s just a matter of time and that cloud will fade away. Unfortunately, it’s wrong as the evolution to cloud is inevitable. Over the past weeks I had several discussions with IT professionals. I heard some bizarre reasoning from them that I wanted to share with you and comment upon.

The Extreme Blue mission completed! Hello Kidney!


The Extreme Blue team completed their mission! They worked on a healthcare life-saving idea for kidney patients and called it 'Hello Kidney'. The idea improve the life of kidney patients and improves the sustainability of the social security system

Current market situation

Renal failure is a very serious illness. The most effective treatment currently known is kidney transplantation. Ideally, a kidney from a deceased donor is used, but the supply of those in spite of joint efforts of national and international organizations is not sufficient for the growing demand. Consequently, the waiting-lists tend to grow significantly. In Belgium, there are today approximately 2,000 people in need of a kidney. The average waiting time for a kidney transplant from a deceased donor is 4 years. The patients suffer during this period and have a significant decreased quality of life from dialysis. Many of them die very soon after undergoing this medical treatment.

New Media Forum

The team: Peter, Harold, and Dominik

The Extreme Blue team shortlists their ideas


I wrote already a blog about the Extreme Blue team for Smarter Cities at the end of the first week of the project. At the end of the second they came up with 103 ‘new’ ideas. I went through the list and could reduce the list drastically, as just out of my mind I found about 70% of the ideas existed already. I must admit that some of the remaining 30 ideas were really crazy, but also unrealistic given the constraints of the program (mainly time) and the objective to make it a success. The list was further reduced by some of my colleagues who also evaluated the list and were aware of existing initiatives.

Series meetings with representatives of cities, companies specialized in traffic management, academic institutions, and the IBM labs of La Gade were the input to further refine the ideas and shorted the list to less then ten ideas. At the end of the third week eight ideas remained.

Unfortunately sad news came in at the end of the third week, one of the four students decided to leave the project. It’s the first time we have lost a student on an Extreme Blue project. But optimism and good spirit remains in the team, taking the challenge to build the best extreme blue project ever even with three team members.

In between I took them to the music and theatre festival in the city of Ghent. And mMy colleague Frank organized a meeting with the first Extreme Blue team we had in Belgium, back in 2007.

New Media Forum

TelePresence with the La Gaude labs and the students

Going to ... and make it a better world



In the past years, I have been intrigued by international humanitarian organization such as Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Having no medical degree I looked to two other organizations with a better fit to my profile and background. First, with my engineering background, I checked out Engineers Without Borders. However this is not a very active organization these days. Second, as a pilot, I checked out Aviation Without Borders. It is a great program, but no needs for additional volunteer pilots nowadays.

During the eastern holidays, at the beginning of April, I received an internal IBM mail from BeNeLux Communications department. The application for the next round of Corporate Service Corps (CSC) program was announced to be opened on April 23 th. The CSC program is IBM’s leadership development program that sends teams of IBMers to work on projects in developing countries, addressing core societal challenges. Although, in the past I read occasionally about the CSC program, I clicked this time the link and started going through all the details. The following weeks I studied the details, and concluded that this was the opportunity to apply for now. I was getting curious to see the questions of the application form. At the opening of the application I logged into the CSC website and opened the application form. Initially, I was very encouraged by the easy questions. Until I scrolled down the list of questions and arrived at four essay questions, there I was getting discouraged. I closed down the browser, and continued my work.

Corporate Service Corps


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