erwin Expert Blog

Enterprise Architecture for the Cloud – Get Ahead in the Cloud

It’s almost 2018, so there’s a good chance a portion of your business relies on the cloud. You’ve either moved some legacy systems there already, or you’re adopting entirely new, cloud-based systems – or both. But what about enterprise architecture for the cloud? After all, it’s the glue that helps tie all your disparate IT threads together.

The transition to the cloud is owed heavily to improvements in its technology foundation, especially increased security and safeguards. For the likes of governments, banks and defense organizations, these enhancements have been paramount.

Additionally, organizations across industry increasingly turn to the cloud to keep costs low and maximize profits. These options are usually easier and cheaper to install than their on-premise counterparts.

A 2016 RightScale study found that 31 percent of the 1,060 IT professionals surveyed said their companies run more than 1,000 virtual machines. This demonstrates a sizeable uptick compared to 2015, when only 22 percent of participants answered the same.

The rate of adoption is even more impressive when you consider how forecasts have been outpaced. In 2014, Forrester predicted the cloud market would be worth $191 billion by 2020. In 2016, this estimate was revised to $236 billion.

The cloud is big business.

Enterprise architecture for the cloud

Why Enterprise Architecture for the Cloud?

We’ve established the case for the growing cloud market. So why is enterprise architecture for the cloud so important? To answer that question, you have to consider why the cloud market is so expansive.

In short, the answer is competition. Although there are some colossal, main players in the cloud market – Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, Google Cloud Platform and IBM make up more than an estimated 60% – they act as hosts to smaller cloud businesses spanning copious industries.

Unlike the hosts, this layer of the cloud market is incredibly and increasingly saturated. Such saturation is due to an even more complex web of disparate systems for which a business must account.

And said business ­must account for these systems to establish what it has right now, what it needs to reach the organization’s future state objectives, and what systems can be integrated for the sake of efficiency.

If enterprise architecture (EA) isn’t actioned in bridging the gap between an organization’s current state and its desired future state, then it’s fundamentally underperforming.

Enterprise Architecture for Introducing Cloud Systems

The above details how EA benefits a business in managing its current cloud-based systems. The primary benefit being the ability to see how and where the newer, disparate cloud systems fit with legacy systems.

But EA’s usefulness doesn’t start once cloud systems are already in place. As established, a key objective of EA is to bridge an organization’s current and future state objectives.

Another key objective is to better align an organization with IT for better preparation in the face of change. In this way, EA enables organizations to make or face enterprise changes with minimal disruptions and costs.

Cloud systems have disrupted how businesses operate already.

And with competition in the cloud space as populated as it is today, more disruption is coming. Therefore, having well-executed EA will make it easier for businesses to manage such inevitable disruption. It will also enable organizations undergoing digital transformation to implement new cloud systems with less friction.

Data-Driven Business Transformation

erwin Expert Blog

Data Modeling in a Jargon-filled World – The Cloud

There’s no escaping data’s role in the cloud, and so it’s crucial that we analyze the cloud’s impact on data modeling. 

erwin Expert Blog

Multi-tenancy vs. Single-tenancy: Have We Reached the Multi-Tenant Tipping Point?

The multi-tenancy vs. single-tenancy hosting debate has raged for years. Businesses’ differing demands have led to a stalemate, with certain industries more likely to lean one way than the other.

But with advancements in cloud computing and storage infrastructure, the stalemate could be at the beginning of its end.

To understand why multi-tenancy hosting is gaining traction over single-tenancy, it’s important to understand the fundamental differences.

Multi-Tenancy vs. Single-Tenancy

Gartner defines multi-tenancy as: “A reference to the mode of operation of software where multiple independent instances of one or multiple applications operate in a shared environment. The instances (tenants) are logically isolated, but physically integrated.”

The setup is comparable to that of a bank. The bank houses the assets of all customers in one place, but each customer’s assets are stored separately and securely from one another. Yet every bank customer still uses the same services, systems and processes to access the assets that belong to him/her.

The single-tenancy counterpart removes the shared infrastructure element described above. It operates on a one customer (tenant) per instance basis.

The trouble with the single-tenancy approach is that those servers are maintained separately by the host. And of course, this comes with costs – time as well as money – and customers have to foot the bill.

Additionally, the single-tenancy model involves tenants drawing from the power of a single infrastructure. Businesses with thorough Big Data strategies (of which numbers are increasing), need to be able to deal with a wide variety of data sources. The data is often high in volume, and must be processed at increasingly high velocities (more on the Three Vs of Big Data here).

Such businesses need greater ‘elasticity’ to operate efficiently, with ‘elasticity’ referring to the ability to scale resources up and down as required.

Along with cost savings and greater elasticity, multi-tenancy is also primed to make things easier for the tenant from the ground up. The host upgrades systems on the back-end, with updates instantly available to tenants. Maintenance is handled on the host side as well, and only one set of code is needed for delivering, greatly increasing the speed at which new updates can be made.

Given these considerations, it’s hard to fathom why the debate over multi-tenancy vs. single-tenancy has waged for so long.

Diminishing Multi-Tenancy Concerns

The advantages of cost savings, scalability and the ability to focus on improving the business, rather than up-keep, would seem to pique the interest of any business leader.

But the situation is more nuanced than that. Although all businesses would love to take advantage of multi-tenancy’s obvious advantages, shared infrastructure remains a point of contention for some.

Fears about host data breaches are valid and flanked by externally dictated downtime.

But these fears are now increasingly alleviated by sound reassurances. Multi-tenancy hosting initially spun out of single-tenancy hosting, and the fact it wasn’t built for purpose left gaps.

However, we’re now witnessing a generation of purpose-built, multi-tenancy approaches that address the aforementioned fears.

Server offloading means maintenance can happen without tenant downtime and widespread service disruption.

Internal policies and improvements in the way data is managed and siloed on a tenant-by-tenant basis serve to squash security concerns.

Of course, shared infrastructure will still be a point of contention in some industries, but we’re approaching a tipping point as evidenced by the success of such multi-tenancy hosts as Salesforce.

Through solid multi-tenancy strategy, Salesforce has dominated the CRM market, outstripping the growth of its contemporaries. Analysts expect further growth this year to match the uptick in cloud adoption.

What are your thoughts on multi-tenancy vs. single tenancy hosting?

Data-Driven Business Transformation