Cloud and Data Center Consulting

The world of IT is undergoing a paradigm shift as traditional network elements transition to a cloud-based model.  We no longer live in a world where computing power and capabilities are directed by the number of servers you run within your IT organization.  Cloud computing allows organizations of all sizes and various industries to take advantage of a more efficient and flexible way to organize, manage, deliver and consume IT services.  But the cloud model is more than just a set of new technologies – it is a new approach for provisioning and managing IT resources within an organization. You recognize and understand the many benefits that a cloud infrastructure can provide your business – but are you ready?

Many organizations understand the benefits of cloud computing but are challenged with determining a transition plan from a traditional network infrastructure to a cloud based one.  There is not a “one size fits all” solution when it comes to determining the best cloud environment for your business – and more importantly, how to best integrate the cloud with your existing business infrastructure and processes.  Many organizations are simply not staffed with the personnel power or the technical expertise necessary to create a comprehensive plan to shift towards a cloud infrastructure.

Cloud Advisory Services

The Cloud Advisory Services  from AT&T Consulting can help your organization determine the best cloud architecture to fit your needs and how to make that transition no matter where you are in your journey towards the cloud.
The Cloud Strategy and Roadmap is a comprehensive engagement to help you develop a specific cloud adoption strategy and migration plan.  The engagement is delivered in phases utilizing a structured delivery approach and typically encompasses the following activities:

  • Gathering detailed business requirements
  • Performing application and infrastructure discovery, including compute platforms, network, storage, databases and business continuity and disaster recovery models.
  • Analyzing your organization’s current operations model
  • Performing security and risk management assessment
  • Determining the appropriate target cloud deployment model, architecture and design
  • Developing a strategic (18-24 month) phased roadmap for  Cloud deployment
  • Optionally, conducting the financial analysis necessary for a supporting business case for cloud deployment

The engagement also produces an executive presentation and detailed report outlining our recommendations and approach with respect to the objectives listed above. 

Cloud and Data Center Transformation Advisory Services

The Cloud and Data Center Transformation Advisory Services take the selected Cloud strategy and evaluate the gaps which may  impede successful Cloud transition and transformation.  Readiness and validation activities typically include evaluation of the data center physical plant’s ability to support private cloud services and long term data center growth requirements.    The service also includes analysis of legacy applications for migration to virtualization and cloud services, and other migration and readiness considerations including security, capacity, performance, and orchestration and provisioning management modeling.  Sub-offerings within the umbrella of Cloud and Data Center Transformation Advisory Services include:

  • Data Center Facility Assessment
  • Data Center Consolidation and Relocation Planning
  • Data Center Migration and Transition Execution
  • Security and Compliance Assessment

Data Center Facility Assessment

The Data Center is comprised of both IT infrastructure and facility infrastructure (cooling, power, and physical plant).   A synergistic equilibrium between the two must be maintained to ensure continuity of critical services. The business demands of adding more and more equipment to the data center floor not only impacts the physical space occupied, but can also overburden MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) systems.  This is manifested by maxed out power distribution and poor heat exchange, or “hot spots”.   AT&T Consulting understands these challenges and leverages state of the art power and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modeling technologies.  This allows us to evaluate the current data center facility infrastructure and the impacts of IT, as well as taking into account future growth projections.  Key activities within this Assessment scope include the evaluation of the current data center facility and existing IT infrastructure from an IT and MEP impact analysis perspective, collection of IT asset and MEP configurations, modeling of current and projected CFD, and the development of facility recommendations with cost benefit analysis for improvement and optimization.

Data Center Consolidation and Relocation Planning

As a business evolves, so does its IT domain and the associated need to continuously refresh and change its computing facilities. Corporations also evolve inorganically, through mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. In many cases, these corporations end up with a plethora of data centers and an unbalanced capital and operational cost structure. With an increased emphasis on cost reduction and simplification of the IT operating model, companies are looking to downsize, consolidate, and optimize their data center assets.   AT&T Consulting can assist in this process by evaluating the strategic vision to consolidate and supporting that vision with a pragmatic plan for consolidation and relocation. Key program activities include the validation of corporate vision and strategy, determination of key sourcing strategies (in-source, outsource, co-source), establishment of target state requirements and architecture, analysis of migration strategies, and the development of customized consolidation recommendations and/or relocation plans for data center transformation.

Data Center Migration and Transition Execution

Data Center migration and transition can be a very daunting task for even the most seasoned IT organization. Successful migrations require extensive planning, program governance and preparation to minimize risks and service continuity impacts. A focus on planning limits the risk of potential rework and back-outs and is a principal tenet of our Data Center Migration program. This program helps our customers manage the logistics, leadership and technical resource coordination, application service performance and availability profiling and baselines, application service migration, physical equipment moves, and testing and acceptance processes and procedures that are key activities in any large scale migration. AT&T Consulting leverages our migration methodology and program governance approach, which are a culmination of extensive best practices to meet even the most demanding of schedules and move complexity.

Security and Compliance Assessment

This assessment ensures that security compliance requirements are met when using Virtualization or Cloud-based resources, approaching your proposed deployment from an assessor’s point of view. The offering focuses on evaluating  how security regulations such as PCI, FISMA,and HIPAA may apply to your current or target Cloud environment. We identify potential  compliance gaps and recommend appropriate remediation steps. This includes readiness assessments for PCI, HITRUST and other applicable regulations and industry standards. AT&T Consulting can evaluate your compliance through a Strategy and Roadmap engagement  or assess gaps on post migration environments and identify compliance impacting issues.

Key Highlights:

  • Evaluate security readiness for cloud computing
  • Discover and assess vulnerabilities and risks specific to the target cloud operating model
  • Assess external providers, internal structures and application architecture for security threats
  • Identify and recommend remediation activities to help  achieve compliance when leveraging cloud or virtualized solutions
  • Optionally, support of remediation activities

Cloud and Data Center Transformation Implementation Services

Cloud and Data Center Transformation Implementation Services  are an umbrella offering providing a spectrum of planning, design, implementation and operational services.  Typically following a Cloud and Data Center Strategy and Roadmap, this service moves the customer into the more detailed design and implementation aspects of data center transition and transformation.   Typical lifecycle  activities include architecture, design, integration, optimization, and migration of applications to a cloud or virtualized environment.    These services encompass the data center or cloud infrastructure (compute, network and storage), orchestration, federation, management and security of the proposed data center or cloud service. 

Sub-offerings for Cloud and Data Center Transformation Implementation Services include:

  • Virtual Infrastructure Design, Integration and Planning
  • Data Center Network Architecture and Engineering
  • Data Center Storage Architecture and Engineering
  • Data Center Optimization

Virtual Infrastructure Design, Integration and Planning

Many companies have already embraced the movement towards a virtualized server and desktop environment. The benefits of this migration extend beyond reduced footprint -- the data center itself benefits both physically (minimizing facility MEP impacts) and operationally (minimizing administrative and operational complexity). The virtual infrastructure provides additional flexibility by assisting in quicker time to market for application services, as well as providing greater risk management controls during data center server and application consolidation and migration activities. AT&T Consulting has an extensive history of virtual infrastructure services, including the development of numerous white papers and authoring books on the subject. Our approach to the virtual infrastructure considers the lifecycle from planning, architecture, integration and into the operations of virtual server and desktop infrastructure. Our work scope can encompass business case development, server virtualization assessments, server and desktop virtualization pilots and proofs of concept, full scale planning, design and migration services, and server and application consolidation and rationalization.

Data Center Network Architecture and Engineering

The Data Center network architecture is a key component of the Service-Oriented Infrastructure. How the network infrastructure is designed and implemented plays a key role in what level of service availability and survivability the IT resources can offer. In many cases, the network is grown organically with little consideration for future growth or physical/logical separation requirements. As the application services infrastructure expands, it becomes more of a challenge to maintain and purposefully plan for performance and availability of the network. The AT&T Consulting Data Center Network Architecture and Engineering program focuses its attention on this most vital underpinning of the Service Oriented Infrastructure – the network. Additionally, it is paramount to understand not only the data center WAN and LAN infrastructure, but also the remote site WAN infrastructure in order to match expected application performance and availability characteristics on an end-to-end basis. AT&T Consulting follows a standard, proven approach that includes the following activities: identification of touch points within the current environment, creation of configuration standards, development of test plans (network and end user), development of integration and migration plans and process for turnover to the operational environment. As-built documentation and knowledge transfer are key deliverables. Design areas of focus are LAN Architectures (IP Routing Architecture, Layer 2 Switching), WAN Architectures (MPLS VPN, IPSEC VPN, and traditional VPN), WLAN Architectures, Ethernet Fabric Architectures, Optical Architectures (DWDM, SONET), Content Delivery Architectures, IPv6 and QoS Architectures.

Data Center Storage Architecture and Engineering

The demand for data storage is exploding, which is driving up costs, amplifying the risks of data loss or exposure, and complicating plans for disaster recovery and compliance. To cope with this exploding demand, organizations are turning to better zoning techniques, the tiering of data storage, the utilization of fibre channel and new transport technologies (iSCSI, FCoIP, FCoE) and cloud-based storage for relief. As such, any data center consolidation or Cloud transition needs to address the design and engineering requirements of legacy storage.  Networks need to evolve in order to support the growing demands of highly virtualized environments and private cloud architectures.

While Fibre Channel is still the de facto standard for storage networking in the data center, new technologies are enabling new storage architectures while extending the life of this robust, reliable, and high-performance technology. This enables organizations to continue leveraging their existing IT investments as they build cloud-optimized storage networks to solve their most difficult business challenges.

Our service is focused on helping you achieve the following objectives:

  • Unleashing the full potential of private cloud storage with unmatched scalability, performance, and reliability
  • Identifying simpler and flatter low-latency storage connectivity to reduce network complexity, management, and costs
  • Optimizing data center connectivity and data replication over distance with integrated high-performance metro and global connectivity
  • Simplifying and centralizing end-to-end Storage Area Network (SAN) management with comprehensive diagnostics, monitoring, and automation
  • Maximizing performance for I/O- and bandwidth-intensive applications
  • Protecting legacy investments in existing SAN fabrics and automation tools while reducing operational costs and minimizing business disruption

Data Center Optimization

The corporate Data Center can be viewed as one of the most complex and costly of ecosystems within IT.  It houses the collective intelligence and competitive differentiation of the company and may be its most prized asset. How well the data center provides critical IT services is the measure of its ability to adapt to the new -- and rationalize the old -- in terms of technologies and operating practices. Those ever expanding technologies and new operating practices represent a real challenge as many organizations struggle with diminishing floor space, cooling and power; at the same time attempting to expand the number of new IT services just to keep pace with business demands. The AT&T Consulting Data Center Optimization program focuses on all aspects of this computing ecosystem (IT and Facility) in a universal context. Our program is executed in a fit-for-purpose orientation, meaning that we can evaluate the entire Data Center ecosystem or specific parts of it. The primary goal is to provide an assessment of existing facility and IT infrastructures and identify opportunities for optimization of each. Additionally, existing vulnerabilities relating to service and business continuity are evaluated. Key activities and outputs include: assessment of current IT and facility (MEP) infrastructures, identification of vulnerabilities and optimization opportunities, establishment of target state requirements and architecture, analysis of gaps between current and target state operating capabilities, and a customized step based recommendations deliverable that defines the data center optimization and transformation action plans.