Unisys is packaging together existing and a few new consulting and management services in order to help enterprises better manage various cloud implementations.
Enterprises today may run applications in a wide variety of environments, including internal data centres, private clouds, hosted data centres and public clouds. Each environment has its own business and operating models, with different deployment and management tools, said John Treadway, director of cloud services and solutions at Unisys.
"When you pull that all together, you get a lot of benefits out of the cloud, but you may be introducing a lot of unforeseeable or uncovered risks. What you end up with is, you have less control and a greater risk of security breaches and governance and compliance issues," he said.
Some customers are turning to Unisys for help with deploying their second generation clouds, he said. "The first one they learned from, but they spent a bunch of money, and now they want to do something more mature," he said.
Unisys has now defined a set of methodologies and repeatable processes that it can use to help enterprises assess their cloud needs and then work through deployments. The company already offers Cloud Advisory Services and Cloud Management Services. It is adding new planning, design and implementation services and packaging the existing and new programs into what it is calling CloudBuild Services.
Though Unisys is not yet announcing partners, it is working with other vendors, so it won't only recommend that enterprises use its own cloud offerings. Unisys looks at three aspects of the cloud for customers: the applications, the data centre that will house the applications and how to tie all the services into a consistent management framework.
Unisys will help enterprises analyse the characteristics of applications to determine whether they should be moved to the cloud and, if so, whether they should be hosted in a public cloud, a private cloud or an internal private cloud. Those decisions will be based on factors such as how mission critical the application is, what kind of security requirements it has and how much data it produces.
"Doing that methodically helps customers decide 'where do I start with this cloud stuff and which apps should I move,'" he said.
When looking at an enterprise's applications, Unisys will also consider whether it makes sense to rearchitect older applications so they are suitable for the cloud. It will examine the cost to make those changes and the return on that investment.
Once it helps an enterprise determine which applications it wants to move to which type of cloud, Unisys will then help the enterprise closely examine which cloud vendors to use.
"We have a little bit of a 'slow down' mentality here," Treadway said. Many enterprises are not adequately evaluating the cloud services on offer in order to make the best decision about vendors, he said.
While there are 30 or more cloud services vendors out there, many enterprises are "fixated on the top level," he said. They tend to look at the management tools and processes layer. But they should make sure they know about important factors of the cloud service such as the storage model, network performance, security of workloads, how the vendor handles isolation of applications and whether the way the provider breaks out financial charges matches the way the enterprise charges business units.
"If you don't know how the cloud was built, how do you know your application will run correctly on it?" he said.
Some service providers are more transparent than others, he said. For example, companies such as Unisys and Savvis are relatively transparent, while others such as Amazon are more of a challenge to find out details about, he said. "I'm not saying Amazon should change. It's just important to know as much as you can. If there's an application for which not having that knowledge is not critical, feel free to put that application over there," he said.
The final component that Unisys wants to help customers with is managing the various applications that may be running in a variety of environments. Many enterprises may be running a handful of disconnected tools for monitoring and managing services. "It means there's a risk that things will fall through the cracks, either operationally or from a security perspective," he said.
Unisys can't offer one product that can connect all of those into a single portal, no one could, Treadway said. However, it can help customers reduce the number of management tools they use and integrate them into a single framework that makes management more straightforward, he said.
Customers that go through the analysis process with Unisys will participate in a series of workshops and will receive an operations document that proposes how the enterprise should move applications into the cloud. The cost of the process will vary.
It's not a quick process, Treadway warned. "This is so 180 degrees from the cloud in a box approach," he said, referring to offers from some cloud vendors to help customers move to the cloud in 30 days or so. "Typically, that won't be sustainable."