The Open Group Cloud Ecosystem Reference Model – Architectural Considerations for an Enterprise Cloud Ecosystem (Informative)
This section provides considerations that are significant in the development of an Enterprise Architecture for the Cloud Ecosystem using the Cloud Ecosystem Reference Model.
A Cloud Service may be deployed on an infrastructure with one of the following deployment models.
“A public cloud is one in which the cloud infrastructure and computing resources are made available to the general public over a public network. A public cloud is owned by an organization selling Cloud Services, and serves a diverse pool of clients.” (Refer to NIST SP 500-292.)
“A private cloud gives a single Cloud Service Consumer’s organization the exclusive access to and usage of the infrastructure and computational resources. It may be managed either by the Cloud Service Consumer organization or by a third party, and may be hosted on the organization’s premises (i.e., on-site private clouds) or outsourced to a hosting company (i.e., outsourced private clouds).” (Refer to NIST SP 500-292.)
“A community cloud serves a group of Cloud Service Consumers which have shared concerns, such as mission objectives, security, privacy and compliance policy, rather than serving a single organization as does a private cloud. Similar to private clouds, a community cloud may be managed by the organizations or by a third party, and may be implemented on customer premises (i.e., on-site community cloud) or outsourced to a hosting company (i.e., outsourced community cloud).” (Refer to NIST SP 500-292.)
“A hybrid cloud is a composition of two or more clouds (on-site private, on-site community, off-site private, off-site community, or public) that remain as distinct entities but are bound together by standardized or proprietary technology that enables data and application portability.” (Refer to NIST SP 500-292.)
The following example Cloud Services deliver packaged capabilities to an enterprise Cloud Ecosystem. These services may be deployed on a number of environments including private and multi-tenant.
- Business Process as a Service (BPaaS) is an example service with the capability provided to manage an entire business process as a service in the cloud. Generally, the underlying capabilities of a BPaaS platform (i.e., software, technology, infrastructure resources, etc.) are owned and managed by the Cloud Service Provider. However, the Cloud Service Consumer is the source authority for information/data that traverses through the business processes.
- Information/Data as a Service (DaaS) is another example Cloud Service where Cloud Service Providers make available sets of information/data and associated metadata using one or more established standards. All other authorized services can make use of the information/data (or subsets thereof) and not worry about maintaining its quality. This class of service is especially useful for large and complex data sets such as geometrics and/or open government initiatives.
The following is a recommended list of specialized roles with some defined responsibilities (though not a comprehensive list of specialized roles) for an enterprise Cloud Ecosystem. The specialized organizational roles augment the roles defined in the Cloud Ecosystem Reference Model:
- Cloud Service Administrator: A person who administers cloud systems.
- Cloud Services Strategist: A person or strategic business unit (e.g., Cloud Services PMO) of an enterprise that develops Cloud Services strategies and provides guidance on how to transform business into using Cloud Services.
- Cloud Service Manager: A person who is in charge of providing guidance and direction of cloud computing efforts. This person leads a team (e.g., Cloud PMO) to ensure consistency in the cloud computing business and service delivery models of an enterprise.
- End User: A person who interacts with and uses a Cloud Service. End users are often unaware of how their services are provided or procured. Examples of these actors include employees, mobile users, and web users. (Refer to TC1 – Reference Architecture.)
Cloud has extended enterprise boundaries and the security of enterprise information/data is one of the primary issues surrounding cloud adoption. Security boundaries are extended from a self-managed environment to an external and somewhat untrusted environment of the cloud. Some of the security considerations are:
- Ability to secure intellectual property and capital assets
- Evolve the security capabilities to support cloud deployment
- Effectively manage confidential information and apply regulatory policy requirements (records management)
- Define an approach for how to enable policy-based service delivery
- Considerations for Identity, Entitlement, and Access Management (IEM) and/or Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) for the enterprise Cloud Ecosystem
Some of the strategic business objectives for consideration include:
- Allow the CIO to focus on business information and applications providing direct business value to all stakeholders, rather than supporting platform and infrastructure
- Reduce or eliminate continuously evolving IT infrastructure investments
- Efficient management of business processes in a Cloud Ecosystem
- Seamless collaboration and integration capabilities with partners, suppliers, and back-office
- Standardization of business processes for consistent and cost-effective use (standardized capabilities consumed by all applications; hide implementation complexity of core business capabilities)
The following business objectives are targeted by enterprises in order to capitalize on the cloud computing IT delivery model to achieve business excellence:
- Rapid business service enablement
- Cost-effective and standardized service models (standard process, tools, and technology)
- Built-in self-service accessibility capabilities
- Lower total cost of ownership
Gain higher cash flow since capital expenditures on Cloud Services are typically lower as they are based on the pay-as-you-go pricing model. At the same time, there are challenges/considerations that need to be resolved to achieve target business agility. Some of those challenges are:
- How business capabilities, both existing and new, are to be assembled quickly
- Cloud Services change management
Provide a mechanism to evaluate and address business requirements as to what needs to be processed internally and what services can be processed externally.
Portability and interoperability aspects to ensure disparate services, perhaps provided by multiple Cloud Service Providers, can seamlessly interact.
The enterprise Cloud Ecosystem enables consistent enforcement of various applicable regulatory, auditing, and compliance-related business requirements. The Cloud Ecosystem offers services capabilities that define, integrate, and align compliance activities of enterprise governance bodies in order to apply consistent adherence to compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
Enterprises are attempting to evolve current business solutions to take advantage of dynamic allocation of resources with Cloud Services and the use of an SOA approach to modularize business solutions including application overhaul and consolidation.
The following are some of the technical considerations to ensure that an enterprise is prepared to take advantage of the cloud.
Where appropriate, consider an application framework that enables standardized Cloud Services capabilities to create, execute, and manage enterprise cloud business solutions. A common application framework, built on the Cloud Ecosystem Reference Model, provides an effective mechanism to manage interactions and collaborations with Cloud Service Providers.
Ensure that the Cloud Ecosystem has a cloud connection service capability that serves as a seamless connector from one cloud environment to another (e.g., private cloud environment to external/public cloud environment). A cloud connection service ensures secure connectivity when traversing different network boundaries seamlessly, and enables performance improvement capabilities (e.g., compression).
The Enterprise Architecture of the Cloud Ecosystem requires that cloud solutions are tolerant of network failures and bandwidth inconsistency. The architecture needs to accommodate these new assumptions associated with built-in architectural enabling mechanisms to efficiently communicate/exchange information consistently in an enterprise Cloud Ecosystem.
The inherent capabilities of utilizing standard network access in distributed applications may impose technical constraints that will require additional capabilities (e.g., caching and continuous synchronization of information) to support expected service response time. On the other hand, local/diversified applications may require some customization/coordination of Cloud Services and therefore have low potential to replicate without alterations. In either case, it would be ideal to describe a holistic enterprise cloud architectural strategy to avoid unintentionally creating silos in the Cloud Ecosystem.
Cloud computing is extending enterprises’ trust boundaries for business operations to effectively achieve targeted business objectives. In order to optimize business relationships with extended enterprises that include heterogeneous Cloud Service Providers, the enterprise Cloud Ecosystem must efficiently manage business operations with its changed nature of IT delivery. Enterprises are now responsible for brokering cloud-specific solutions of Cloud Service Providers that meet the established policies on cost-effectiveness, solution viability, and business expectations related to IT performance. For example, the ability to rapidly provision IT services without spending large amounts of resources is one of the major practices that impacts business operations of an enterprise. The following summarizes the key business operational considerations for the Cloud Ecosystem.
The target objectives for cloud operational excellence are to lower overall operational expenditure and operational optimization to achieve a sustainable and long-term improvement of an enterprise. Also, operational excellence effectively manages all aspects of enterprise governance that include application, data, SOA, corporate, and IT governance.
The enterprise must adopt an IT strategy that not only builds internal clouds but also utilizes external clouds to enhance business agility and support:
- Operational support optimization
- Fully tested operational procedures
- Automated change and configuration control
Due to several internal and external factors, most enterprises are shrinking their IT capabilities. Enterprises would like to efficiently utilize their finite resources on innovation and engaging their strategic Cloud Services suppliers and partners to leverage available Cloud Services and expertise in order to meet business objectives. The focus of enterprises is now to train the workforce with these new realities that requires the workforce to become an IT enabler and orchestrator.
The enterprise Cloud Ecosystem manages any Cloud Service-related incidents and enables an effective mechanism to perform root cause analysis, store incidents-related information for further analysis, and provide an effective service to evolve Cloud Services so future incidents can be prevented.
The enterprise Cloud Ecosystem provides the capabilities to meet expected Service-Level Agreements (SLAs). For example, it provides a mechanism to seamlessly handle network failure and address performance-related SLAs. While engaging Cloud Service Providers, the enterprise must carefully negotiate SLAs to ensure that its requirements are explicit and fairly managed. The Cloud Ecosystem will provide a mechanism that provides opportunities/insights in real-time to make adjustments to SLAs with Cloud Service Providers during their active relationship period.
In order to reduce IT service costs, enterprises require efficient enablement of Cloud Services. Cloud Service Providers provide many options to optimize licenses and contracts needs associated with their Cloud Services offerings along with an expedited auto-provisioning process and flexibility to adjust Cloud Services to meet immediate business requirements.
The externalization of IT is the movement of IT resources from direct enterprise control and ownership to one or more external service providers. This requires new operational capabilities to build relationships with external Cloud Service Providers to expedite Cloud Services provisioning to meet business needs, within effective pricing parameters. Cloud Service Providers will provide effective Cloud Services management through such capabilities as a self-service, quickly provisioned, show back-based IT consumption model.
As enterprise boundaries continue to disappear, their ability to rapidly provision IT services without large capital expenditure is appealing to budget-minded executives. IT organizations are taking an “adopt and go” strategy to satisfy internal customer IT consumption requirements. For example, many IT organizations are utilizing Cloud Service Providers with effective life-cycle management (i.e., in/exit/migration of services) to support non-critical IT services (e.g., development and test applications). This requires an effective strategy to engage Cloud Service Providers in enabling cloud solutions, shifting Cloud Services from one Cloud Service Provider to another, and discontinuing Cloud Services of Cloud Service Providers when required.
The enterprise Cloud Ecosystem shall consider providing an integrated monitoring view and performance reporting capabilities in order to achieve better performance, accountability, and business results from its Cloud Services. The Cloud Ecosystem shall enable a real-time and efficient allocation of underlying resource workloads in order to provide optimal use of running Cloud Services.