by Eric Kraieski
The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements were laid out in 2017 and just become a reality last month. As the May implementation date loomed, there has been much discussed about the impact of the pending legislation. But what seemed to be missing from the conversations was how IT will manage yet another variable when implementing hybrid IT strategies where hosting and service delivery is more federated and dynamic.
In the complex environment of hybrid IT, you need to either know the blast radius when there is a data breach so you can make appropriate notifications and corrective actions. Conversely, when you add additional infrastructure, you must also account for any impact to existing applications and services. GDPR did not create these problems – these already existed in mixed physical, virtual and cloud environments.
As organizations grapple with this challenge, it reminds me of a book I read several years ago, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, written by surgeon and celebrated author, Atul Gawande. In the book, Dr. Gawande makes the case that, despite the expansive information available thanks to technology, failures continue to occur, whether in his health care field, in finance, government or the legal field. And Dr. Gawande believes that the reason is simple:
“Avoidable failures are common and persistent, not to mention demoralizing and frustrating, across many fields – from medicine to finance, business to government. And the reason is increasingly evident: the volume and complexity of what we know has exceed our individual ability to deliver its benefits correctly, safely and reliably. Knowledge has both saved us and burdened us.”
However, the challenge with IT is that the environment is constantly changing with new services being added, new infrastructure and even new architectural approaches for resiliency. The checklist cannot be isolated and rigid. The checklist must be dynamic, current and managed in real time across many different roles and responsibilities in the organization.
Here at TDS, we help organizations transform their complex IT environment to new cloud, platform, application and data centers while reducing project risks and costs. Through the hundreds of migrations that we have done over the past 16 years, we’ve learned important lessons about the criticality of mapping all servers, applications and their interdependencies and then sequencing the tasks to build a successful migration plan.
To capture this proven process, we invented software – a sophisticated form of the checklist Gawande recommends – to capture and visualize all the environment data and confirm their accuracy, identify dependencies, create interactive runbooks, and generate important progress dashboards. It offers our clients access to this proven, step-by-step process for managing complex and time-sensitive migrations and eliminates the headaches of working with disparate tools and static spreadsheets.
Maybe even more important, having a single source of information eliminates the risk of missing key applications and dependencies and helps cut through the noise to focus on the details that are necessary to make good decisions.
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A global manufacturer worked with AWS to accelerate their ability and de-risk their complex cloud migration. Not only did they need a solution that would store the customer’s portfolio data and manage a comprehensive two-year wave plan consisting of over 50 migration waves, they needed an agile solution to managing the weekly changes. “In over 10 years of managing wave plans, I have never seen a customer with so many weekly changes. Unfortunately, we aren’t just talking about simple changes where an application is assigned a new owner, or a server receives a different IP address; we are talking about massive amounts of relationship and dependency changes. Some weeks, we see over 300 new dependencies and an equal number of removed dependencies. We might also see dozens of net-new applications and servers,” said the AWS consultant managing the project.
We recently collaborated with a solutions architect at AWS on a blog to describe how TransitionManager provides the necessary insight to understand complex environments to help teams analyze, plan, understand, and reduce the risks associated with migrations.
When teams use a single platform they can take a holistic view of their project. Rather than using discrete tools to individually track spend, identify security vulnerabilities, and manage governance, an orchestration platform enables teams to assess and evaluate these areas - and more - in relation to each other. And this leads to better decision making, better planning, and improves the likelihood of delivering expected business outcomes.