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Oracle Cloud Adoption Best Practices: Cloud Portfolio Strategy

Karan Singh
Director Product Management, Solution Architecture

This post is the second installment in a series that discusses best practices and practical advice for planning, implementing, operating, and evolving in Oracle Cloud. The first post discussed digital transformations powered by Oracle Cloud. It outlined a framework based on people, process, and technology as the three pillars for a successful cloud adoption initiative. That is an important first step before you start your cloud journey. But, the lifecycle of a cloud adoption initiative has several phases:

  1. Evaluation: Developing a cloud strategy based on business drivers
  2. Planning and Assessment: Application portfolio discovery and planning
  3. Implementation: Migration and validation
  4. Operations: Running in the cloud
  5. Optimization and Evolution: Creating a feedback loop to optimize the cloud solution

This post covers the first phase, evaluation, which leads to finalizing the cloud strategy. For more information on how to develop a cloud portfolio strategy, register for our upcoming webinar.

Evaluation

Enterprises have different business drivers, expected outcomes, timelines, skills, and experience with cloud. Some of the top factors currently driving cloud adoption are digital transformation, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), Internet of Things (IoT) adoption, mobility, excelling at DevOps, attaining agility and increasing the pace of innovation, increasing focus on business and competitive differentiation instead of routing IT tasks, transitioning from fixed-cost to consumption-based pricing, and modernizing legacy applications.

Your journey to cloud depends on which of these factors is important to your organization. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to cloud adoption. After you determine your priorities, you must clearly define the expected business and IT outcomes and success criteria for your journey. After success criteria are in place, you must thoroughly evaluate the existing application portfolio that you want to move to cloud. You might have tens, hundreds, or thousands of applications. These applications will likely have different levels of business criticality, security and compliance requirements, dependencies, governance and SLA requirements, operations models, performance requirements, resiliency requirements, and so on. Based on an evaluation and analysis of these factors, you can define the cloud adoption strategy for your applications. Let’s look at that next.

Defining Your Cloud Strategy

Multiple adoption strategies can enable your journey to the cloud. Based on your success criteria and your application portfolio evaluation, you might choose more than one of these strategies. In fact, most enterprises execute multiple strategies at the same time. Gartner defined a popular list of five R’s for cloud migration (link not available). The following sections build on that list, highlight Oracle products and services relevant to the strategy, and provide customer examples.

Retire/Revisit/Reoptimize 

These three strategies are bundled into one category because, for the context of cloud projects, they involve the application not moving to cloud, at least initially.

  • You can retire any legacy applications that are no longer being used.
  • For applications that you don't want to work on migrating initially, you can revisit them later.
  • You can reoptimize applications with software updates and hardware refreshes on-premises for now.

Retain

Some customers can’t move their data and applications to the public cloud because of data privacy concerns, industry regulations, or unique security constraints. They must retain their applications in their data centers. However, they can take advantage of the scalability, affordability, and ease of public cloud technology by using Oracle Cloud technology in their data centers. Based on a flexible subscription model, Oracle Cloud at Customer is an ideal choice when data must remain on premises for regulatory, privacy, legal, or performance reasons.

As one aspect of their Oracle Cloud adoption strategy, AT&T moved their Oracle Database workloads to Oracle Cloud at Customer. Now they gain all of the benefits of the cloud behind their firewall, fully managed by Oracle, and can free resources to focus on technology, media, and telecommunications. Watch the AT&T Oracle Cloud at Customer story for more information.

"This collaboration with Oracle accelerates our network transformation and migration to the cloud to expand efficiency, performance, and reduce cost while improving overall customer service."
John Donovan, Chief Strategy Officer and Group President of AT&T Technology and Operations

Rehost 

Rehost involves moving your applications to the cloud with minimal changes. Also known as "move and improve," this strategy enables you to gain some benefits of using the cloud with no change to the underlying application architecture.

You will typically leverage infrastructure-level services for compute, storage, and networking to set up a stack similar to what you had on premises. You can also implement hybrid setups as part of this strategy. Rehosting a common way of getting started with cloud, and many large migration projects employ it. Because the architecture changes are minimal, the risk is lower and the execution is faster, especially when some automation tools are used. After your data is migrated and applications are running with the rehost option, it's easier to use techniques like replatforming to rearchitect and further optimize your solution in the cloud.

Alliance Data Systems (a publicly traded loyalty and marketing services company headquartered in Plano, TX) migrated six environments for PeopleSoft to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure: development, QA, user acceptance testing, disaster recovery, production, and certification. They also migrated PeopleSoft, Hyperion, OBIEE, and their respective development environments. In addition to agility, scalability, and consolidation benefits, Alliance Data Systems expects significant cost benefits of around $1 million in the first year. An Alliance Data Systems case study provides more details about the migration project.

"Oracle and LTI (Larsen & Toubro Infotech) were with us every step of the way during the migration. Originally, we were only going to migrate PeopleSoft, but we later decided to move all our Oracle Applications. We had many sessions with Oracle to look at each application and compared all different deployment options. This is the best support I’ve ever seen."
Suresh Tripathi, Director of IT, Software Engineering at Alliance Data Systems

Replatform

Replatform involves rearchitecting your application with infrastructure- and platform-level cloud services. The core architecture remains the same: if you used a three-tier architecture pattern on-premises, you use a three-tier architecture in the cloud. But now you start leveraging managed services in cloud. For example, instead of installing and managing your own database, you can use  Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing or the Oracle Database service. Likewise, you can use Oracle Management Cloud for infrastructure monitoring, log analytics, application performance monitoring, and orchestration instead of using multiple DIY solutions. Because you have to replace part of your stack and integrate with new services, it takes more time to execute this strategy. However, replatforming also provides more time and cost savings in the long run, modernizes your stack, and enables you to offload tedious, undifferentiated tasks to the cloud provider.

Oracle offers several platform services for security, data management, application development, integration, analytics, applications, and systems management that can help you execute a replatform strategy easily and effectively.

After exploring the possibility of refreshing their on-premises hardware, Beeline concluded that moving their disaster recovery and ancillary services to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure would reduce their costs and allow them to reduce the number of data centers that they maintain. Beeline's vendor management system is a SaaS solution that helps Fortune 1000 companies automate end-to-end management of all types of contingent labor for temporary assignments and outsourced projects. Beeline is using Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Compute bare metal instances, Exadata, Block Volumes, and Object Storage, as well as 10 Gbps FastConnect to provide secure, predictable connectivity between Beeline's remaining data centers and Oracle. Beeline also uses Oracle Management Cloud for monitoring, Oracle Java Cloud Service, and the Oracle Database Backup service. Beeline had also been exploring containers. The company had produced their own custom Kubernetes environment, but is standardizing and consolidating on Oracle's open-standards-based approach as part of the deployment.

By consolidating on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, the company is avoiding extending the warranties of aging hardware, is closing two data centers, and, as a result, is saving roughly $1 million annually. A Beeline case study provides more details about their cloud adoption strategy.

"We're moving all of our disaster recovery and ancillary systems to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, which has enabled us to consolidate from four data centers down to two, with savings approaching one million dollars, annually."
Jason Creson, VP of Infrastructure, Beeline

Replace

Replace involves replacing current on-premises, self-managed applications with managed cloud services and SaaS offerings in the cloud. Instead of migrating your legacy applications, you can replace them with a cloud-based SaaS offering. This strategy is typically the best option for minimizing your IT management efforts and costs. You must consider your existing integrations and determine if the replacement offering provides the customizations and features that you need. Oracle provides the most complete, innovative, and proven cloud suite of SaaS applications that enable you to execute on this strategy and transform your business with the latest intelligent technologies such as AI and ML.

As part of its digital transformation journey, Western Digital Corp selected Oracle Cloud to help modernize its business processes. The company chose Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Cloud to bring together the core business systems of three multi-billion-dollar companies—Western Digital, SanDisk, and HGST—to extend its on-premises applications to the cloud and establish a modern business platform that can scale to support its future expansion plans and new technology innovations. As a result, Western Digital has been able to combine numerous applications, reduce approval times by 70 percent, rationalize suppliers by 50 percent and improve acquisition agility on a global scale.

"The process of rationalizing three large legacy systems and associated applications gave us a unique opportunity to drive change, as more than two thirds of our organization would have to undergo change no matter what application we selected. We needed a simple, yet scalable cloud platform that could power our rapidly growing business. With Oracle Cloud we have been able to consolidate applications, automate key financial workflows and radically improve productivity. Oracle has been the catalyst for change and is pivotal in our digital transformation journey."
Steve Phillpott, CIO, Western Digital

Rebuild

Rebuild involves architecting and implementing in the cloud from the beginning. It enables you to modernize and leverage the latest technical innovations. For example, you can replace your monolithic legacy application with a more modern architecture pattern like microservices or serverless.  

Rebuilding is the strategy that you need to leverage the latest cloud native technologies that are characterized by the use of containers, microservices, serverless functions, development pipelines, and infrastructure as code. Although the upfront time, effort, and costs to execute this strategy are typically the largest, the long-term benefits in agility, innovation, and modernization are also typically the largest.

Oracle’s press release from KubeCon highlights several stories from customers like CERN and Sauce Video that are successfully leveraging Oracle Cloud Native Framework.

"Oracle Container Engine for Kubernetes on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure has helped us scale our cloud technology, supporting our global growth while increasing reliability and performance, especially in the areas of video transcoding and creation. Getting started on Oracle Container Engine for Kubernetes was a breeze and now our team can develop and deploy faster than ever." Jon Girven, co-founder and CTO of Sauce Video

Journey to Oracle Cloud

When the right mix of strategies is finalized, most customers choose a phased approach to cloud adoption. Each phase implements a well-defined set of applications, functionality, or both. Proof of value is determined, and next phases are recalibrated based on new information. For example, for the retain or rehost strategies, the phases might be as follows:

  1. Develop and test in the cloud.
  2. Do backups and disaster recovery in the cloud.
  3. Implement a hybrid solution to extend current data centers to the cloud.
  4. Move production to the cloud.

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure provides a wide-ranging set of services and a robust ecosystem of consulting, system integration, managed services partners, and ISV products and offerings that enable successful execution of different cloud adoption strategies.Oracle Cloud Marketplace continues our commitment to offer the broadest and most advanced cloud portfolio in the industry. More than 4,000 Oracle Partner apps and services are offered on the marketplace, and the selection is growing rapidly.

Next, let’s look at some typical customer use cases, corresponding cloud strategies, and how Oracle Cloud enables them.

Modernizing and Migrating Applications from Corporate Data Centers to the Cloud 

Migrating Oracle and other enterprise applications to Oracle Cloud is a popular use case. This use case can generally be executed by using the rehost, replatform, and replace strategies. We provide expert professional services and a large network of partners to help you "move and improve" your enterprise applications.

We make it easy for you to replace your on-premises applications with SaaS offerings in Oracle cloud. If you have complex or highly customized environments that can’t easily move to a SaaS environment, we offer automated migration tools, quick provisioning tools, and backup tools. You can also bring your own Oracle Database licenses. Typically, your apps and data move as-is, and you can keep your customizations and integrations.  

  • Oracle E-Business Suite Cloud Manager provides a graphical user interface for creating, managing, and configuring Oracle E-Business Suite environments on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.
  • PeopleSoft Cloud Manager is an orchestration framework for provisioning and managing PeopleSoft environments on Oracle Cloud.
  • JD Edwards One-Click Provisioning is a streamlined, efficient, and automated framework for easily deploying JD Edwards EnterpriseOne in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

Many enterprise customers and software companies use Oracle products as the foundation of their applications and products. Oracle makes it easier for these organizations to build solutions that take advantage of our cloud-based applications, and managed platform and infrastructure services. Everything we run in our cloud is consistent with what you run in your data center, including Oracle Database; the surrounding ecosystem of tools like RAC, Data Guard, and GoldenGate; and all the third-party data and management tools. Oracle’s broad array of compute, networking, and storage services offer industry-leading price for performance. 

Nonproduction, Cloud Bursting, or Multicloud Environments 

Many customers start their cloud journey with relatively simple workloads like dev, test, sandbox, lab, and demo/training environments. Disaster recovery, and database and content backup and archive are also popular use cases for getting started in the cloud. Some customers also leverage cloud for additional temporary capacity during cyclic or seasonal capacity spikes. These use cases can generally be executed using the retain and rehost strategies.

For such use cases that extend your existing data center to Oracle Cloud, or if you're considering hybrid options, we provide private access via VPN or FastConnect to enable your applications in the cloud to communicate with on-premises applications and components over a private network. As a result, all of your integrations with components and other apps continue to work seamlessly. 

And if you’re looking for a cloud model but require that infrastructure be managed on premises, we offer Oracle Cloud at Customer.

Building New Cloud Native Applications

Enterprises are building new cloud-based applications for transformation initiatives, competitive advantage, and using the latest technology innovations to deliver next-gen apps for their users. This use case can be executed using the rebuild cloud adoption strategy. 

Cloud native technologies leverage the cloud to enable faster software development and build applications that are resilient, manageable, observable, and dynamically scalable to global enterprise levels. Oracle is a Platinum member of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), which oversees several projects. Oracle Cloud Native Framework is an open cloud native development solution with deployment models for public cloud, on premises, and hybrid cloud. The Oracle Cloud Native Framework is composed of the recently announced Oracle Linux Cloud Native Environment and a rich set of new Oracle Cloud Infrastructure cloud native services:

Our goal is to leverage the industry-leading development streams in open source and elsewhere, making our cloud compatible with what you are already using successfully.  

Operating and Scaling Workloads with Special Characteristics, Such as AI, Mobile, and HPC

These types of workloads stress infrastructure in a different way than business productivity apps do. They also have special performance needs: generally, they are spun up, they are run near maximum of capacity for a defined amount of time to generate a specific result, their results are stored, and then they are spun down.

Oracle offers on-demand HPC infrastructure based on the most advanced compute, storage, networking, and software technologies at a fraction of the cost of building it yourself. You can use compute instances with the latest NVIDIA GPUs and Intel Skylake processors, including high-core-count and high-frequency options, up to 51.2 TB local NVMe storage per compute instance and non-oversubscribed 2 x 25 Gbps (1 x 100 Gbps for RDMA) network interfaces. 

Big Data applications on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure enable organizations to analyze data across Apache Hadoop, Apache Kafka, NoSQL, and Oracle Databases.

The Oracle Data Science Cloud service enables data science teams to easily organize their work, access data and computing resources, and build, train, deploy, and manage models on the Oracle Cloud.

Through Oracle’s ready-to-go, AI-powered cloud applications, business teams can drive better business outcomes through intelligent features such as next-best offers in our Customer Experience (CX) suite or smart candidate lists in our Human Capital Management (HCM) suite.

Conclusion

This post:

  • Introduced the five phases of a cloud adoption project: evaluation, planning and assessment, implementation, operations, and optimization/evolution
  • Explored six different cloud adoption strategies for moving applications to cloud: revisit/retire/reoptimize, retain, rehost, replatform, replace, and rebuild
  • Looked at Oracle products and services that support different cloud adoption strategies and enable enterprise use cases for successful journeys to cloud

Whether you’re bringing your first workloads to the cloud or are experienced with cloud native apps, Oracle Cloud has solutions tailored to your needs. 

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