What is Cloud Operating Model

Published: 7 February 2022

Reading time: 2 minutes

The Cloud Operating Model is a high-level representation of how an organization will deliver on its Cloud Strategy. It is a blueprint for organizing effectively to deliver the capabilities and outcomes required to deliver value through cloud services. Once the Cloud Strategy has been defined, ratified, and communicated, the Cloud Operating Model defines the operational processes required for an organization to execute on the strategy.

Cloud services (either created or brokered) cannot be supported effectively by traditional Enterprise IT organizations. The siloed approach to operations – network, operating system, storage, middleware, and security teams – is less effective when supporting cross-functional, cross-domain services. These specialized teams remain critical to providing the subject matter expertise in their respective domains, but a dedicated set of resources, processes, and technologies is required for the effective creation and management of cloud services.

The Cloud Platform is a critical component of the Cloud Operating Model. It supports the creation and management of cloud services and includes the technical capabilities required to adopt some of the operational best practices used by the hyper-scale cloud providers to increase operational efficiency in enterprise organizations, such as self-driving operations and programmable provisioning.

The Cloud Platform provides the technical capabilities needed to support the following types of cloud services:

  • Private Cloud Services – Built internally, typically using on-prem infrastructure, on the cloud platform.
  • Brokered Services – Public cloud services brokered and managed via the cloud platform.
  • Public Cloud Services – Services built and maintained outside of the cloud platform with the potential for the platform to discover and bring under management.

Like everything related to “cloud” in the industry, there is no agreed-upon definition for “Cloud Operating Model”. Similar concepts are described as “Cloud Adoption Framework”, “Cloud Operating Architecture”, “Service-Oriented Model” or any other number of combinations.

We define the “Cloud Operating Model” as the operational processes required to maximize the benefit from the adoption or creation of cloud services. In other words, which operating concepts will the organization adopt in order to operate more like a cloud service provider – to be able to rapidly scale services and resources, onboard or create new services efficiently, and provide a secure, trusted cloud platform for internal and external consumers.

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