Cloud Architects: The Unsung Heroes of the Cloud
By Van Diamandakis, Jun 17, 2021
Migrating and modernizing your large-scale data and applications to the cloud demands serious technical prowess, skill and finesse. Brute force just doesn’t work – which is why 62% of migration efforts are harder to complete than expected or fail. And the widespread adoption of hybrid cloud models only makes the picture more complex. The Cloud and all of its innovation, hyperscale and economic benefits is an absolutely vital part of any organization’s digital transformation and ecosystem, and that’s what makes Enterprise Architects or Cloud Architects (Architects) the unsung heroes of the cloud universe.
In this post, we’ll drill down into what the Architect does, what she needs, and what we can do to improve her effectiveness in this challenging and vital role.
What is a Cloud Architect?
In a sentence: Architects are the champions of organizational cloud strategy.
One of the Architects' key roles is to help the company avoid risk and ensure a successful, cost-effective transition to the cloud. They are responsible for both designing and implementing cloud solutions – meaning they need a strong grasp of both the business and technical requirements of any cloud solution.
Architects are the champions of organizational cloud strategy.
Yet despite the need to understand the underlying technology of cloud solutions, an Architect’s job is actually not as technical as one might think. Especially in younger companies, the Architect is at least as involved in business processes as they are in technical details — and considered a key company decision maker.
A major part of an Architect’s mandate is change management and stakeholder engagement. This means they are responsible for informing, updating, and (most importantly) creating consensus among all relevant parties — then translating this consensus into real-world solutions. So much of an Architect’s time is spent on this organizationally-challenging task that they are humorously referred to as "Chief Cat Herders.”
Up to 50% of Architects may actually not have “Cloud Architect” as their formal title. Some are called “Enterprise Architects” or have a data-related title yet still do the job of an Architect. Some companies have two roles that together form the Architect role — one technical and one with a business focus. And in companies that have already begun their move to the cloud, or have already migrated apps and workloads, the Architect role may be delegated to an IT team member.
Yet at its heart, the role of the Architect remains mission-critical to businesses, and it is in the organization’s interest to effectively facilitate the Architect’s tasks. How can we do this?
What Cloud Architects Need (and What They Lack)
Architects work under very well-defined and tight timelines. The Chief Data Officer typically will give the Architect a 5 bullet point cloud strategy and leave it up to the Architect to write the 40 page plan and be responsible for the overall success of the cloud migration project. And they absolutely feel the pressure of delivering on time and budget without business disruption. Often, timelines are so tight that Architects have trouble gathering the information they need about migration planning, technology, engineering resources and consulting vendors. In fact, they often don’t even have time for a pilot. At the same time, even under the intense pressure of a looming deadline, they still need to liaise with stakeholders to get buy-in for the migration strategy they choose.
Regarding their resources, a quick review of multiple online cloud migration guides is revealing. Cloud architecture, like so much crucial enterprise-scale planning, does not figure prominently in most. Hardware, software, data center expenses, bandwidth, etc. – yes. The cost of an Architect’s months or years-long efforts - less so. Thus, Architects find themselves lacking the resources they may need to effectively plan for cloud migration.
How WANdisco Makes Architect’s Lives Easier
WANdisco’s LiveData Cloud Services makes Architect’s lives easier by dramatically alleviating the two key pain points above – time and resources.
Our LiveData Migrator solution automates and simplifies the cloud migration process – helping Architects meet tight migration SLAs. For example, at the heart of LiveData Migrator is the capability of non-blocking file system read/write. For Architects, this means that during a petabyte-scale migration, mission-critical enterprise applications can still fully access, ingest, and update data. This is a massive time saver. Previous generations of cloud migration tech required costly and risky multiple passes to migrate data. This can take three to six months to work, and block users from making changes during the entire period.
Further, LiveData Migrator performs data migrations without requiring special Hadoop resources or expertise – it works seamlessly out of the box with many popular products and vendors (e.g. cloud providers, SIs, MSPs). This helps Architects minimize the IT burden (and cost) of custom code maintenance, and also enables faster time-to-value and adoption of AI and machine learning.
Finally, LiveData Migrator eliminates the costly business disruptions associated with migration. Migrations of any scale can begin immediately, and be performed while the source data is under active change without requiring any production system downtime or business disruption, and with zero risk of data loss.
The Bottom Line
For the unsung heroes of the cloud, gaining time and conserving resources remain key challenges. By empowering Architects to deliver more with less, LiveData Migrator helps companies avoid risk and ensure a successful, cost-effective transition to the cloud.
Van Diamandakis, SVP Marketing at WANdisco
Van is a proven Silicon Valley technology executive with over 25 years of operational experience that draws upon his track record leading global marketing transformations, driving to meaningful financial events including IPOs and acquisitions. Van has been at the forefront of B2B technology marketing and brings a unique ability to marry creativity, data, technology and leadership skills to rapidly build brand equity and successfully navigate tech companies through inflection points, accelerating revenue growth and valuation.