Modern Enterprise CIOs are focussed on continuous innovation, enabling their developers to help their business stakeholders in the rapidly changing business landscape. In their quest for agility, many decision makers focus on building cloud native apps that can be deployed on public clouds. Enabling your developers to deploy their applications to public cloud definitely increases the agility and helps them go to market much faster than anytime in the past but, in any modern enterprise, agility today doesn’t automatically translate into agility tomorrow. In order to retain the flexibility to innovate rapidly in the future, you need to look beyond the cloud service providers. You technology choices, application architectures, your deployment process, etc. all play into your ability to innovate rapidly in the future. We are hearing stories about users who deployed their apps on EC2 few years back facing the dilemma of having to rearchitect their apps for Containers and Serverless.
As an enterprise IT decision maker, you need to have a strategy that helps you to maintain the flexibility to enable your developers to use any cloud service or cloud service provider while also ensuring that they are not locked-in (I am not talking about vendor lock-in here) and they can use any service that is suitable for their application needs. We published Modern Enterprise Framework to help decision makers on their strategy. The four tenets of the Modern Enterprise Framework are:
- Multi Cloud
While talking to many IT leaders about this framework, we usually came across the question of how they can apply the framework while evaluating various platforms. We started thinking about it and decided to identify a metric that will help modern enterprise decision makers evaluate platforms better. This metric will be used as we evaluate various platforms available in the market for our research. This will help our readers understand how we see these platforms in the context of retaining the flexibility to be adaptive in the future and maintain the agility.
Introducing Modern Enterprise Form Factor
Today, we are introducing Modern Enterprise Form Factor, a simple metric that will tell you the level of flexibility you will get from the platform, provided your application architecture and processes are aligned. Without the right architecture and embrace of, say, DevOps, the platform alone cannot magically give the flexibility to innovate continuously. In other words, this metric cannot guarantee the platform advantage. This metric serves as an indicator for how much a specific platform aligns with the Modern Enterprise Framework we have put together.
How scoring works?
The Modern Enterprise Form Factor has a maximum score of 4 with each of the tenets contributing a maximum of 1 point each. A perfect platform that can provide you the flexibility to continuously innovate in the future will have a score of 4. This section explains how we score across all the four tenets of the framework.
- Abstraction: While a developer level abstraction will fetch 1 (eg: Google App Engine or Heroku), raw IaaS where you can start and stop virtual machine will get 0
- Composability: Composability is critical in allaying some of the architectural lock-ins due to the opinionated nature of the abstractions. This value will fetch a 1 if the applications can interact at two layers of the stack with one of them being OSS, 0.5 with both layers being proprietary and 0 if there is only one API at the platform abstraction level. Good examples of composability include Red Hat OpenShift with APIs at the platform layer and Kubernetes layer or Pivotal CloudFoundry with their API at open source version of CloudFoundry
- Portability: Portability is about smart architectures that allows organizations to change the applications fast without incurring high costs. In the case of evaluating application platforms, it also implies industry standard encapsulation that provides two way portability across platforms. Think of OCI compliant containers ported across platforms. A platform with OCI compliant containers and two way portability will get a 1, a platform that offers one way port of OCI compliant app gets 0.5 and proprietary platforms gets a 0
- Multi Cloud: Multi cloud is another dimension for retaining the flexibility to innovate and the platform needs to support multiple cloud providers. 1 for supporting multiple cloud providers and 0 for a single infrastructure provider
This is the basic framework for evaluation. While this is not exhaustive in every situation, this should give IT decision makers a starting point for platform evaluation. As it is the case with any good framework, this will also evolve and we request your feedback on this framework. In the coming weeks and months, we will be evaluating various platforms and score their Modern Enterprise Form Factor which should help the IT decision makers evaluate various platforms easily.