This post is co-authored by Thomas Maurer, Senior Cloud Advocate, Azure.
Tailwind Traders1 is a retail company that is looking to adopt Azure as part of their IT strategy. The IT team is familiar with deploying infrastructure on-premises and is now researching what they need to do in order to run their workloads on Azure. In this blog post, we will walk you through Tailwind Traders’ experience to run its workloads on Azure using Cloud Adoption Framework and Azure landing zones guidance.
What are landing zones?
Regardless of where you are hosting your workloads, there are certain components you need to support those workloads. If you think of the on-premises world, when you start a new datacenter, you need to ensure you have things like electricity, cooling, networking, and physical security before you can start to really install any of your servers or workloads. When you are hosting your workloads in the cloud, there are certain things you need to start installing on your servers or workloads like networking, monitoring, identity and access management, and subscription and tenant creation. When putting workloads in the cloud, you should also think about things like compliance and security needs, as well as your disaster and backup plans. They don’t always need to be there from the start depending on the organisations’ needs, but thinking about them can certainly help your journey go much more smoothly. And that’s what a landing zone is, it helps you think about and build that foundation you need for hosting your workloads in Azure.
Tailwind Traders is excited to explore more about landing zones and how they can enable them to design and implement an appropriate environment for their workloads to live in Azure.
Landing zone choices
When researching the landing zones, Tailwind Traders found there were several options. Start small and expand, enterprise-scale, and partner landing zones.
The start small and expand landing zone is a great place to start for organizations who are just beginning their cloud journey and need a guiding hand but are not sure where their journey will take them just yet.
The enterprise-scale landing zone is designed to help organizations looking for rapid deployment (6-8 weeks) and have an immediate security or compliance need for their workloads.
Partner landing zones are offerings from systems integrator (SI), managed service providers (MSPs), or independent software vendors (ISV) who have designed a landing zone solution based on their extensive experience and the methodologies within the Cloud Adoption Framework.
Picking the right one
Tailwind Traders is excited to be embarking on the Azure journey and excited that using landing zones will help them implement that journey quicker. However, they are worried about choosing the wrong landing zone and what impact that will have on their journey in the longer term. If they were to choose the wrong landing zone, they could end up running into the scenario where they must start again, or execution is taking longer than planned, or even running into skilling challenges as they were not ready for some of the implementation techniques.
Tailwind Traders needs to think about some key things before they start to choose a landing zone, and answering these key points can help guide them to the right landing zone.
They should think about their operating model; how does the organization run its IT department? Do they run a decentralized model where each team is focussed on a workload or single area? Maybe they run a traditional central operations model where one central IT team controls everything. Or perhaps they are running an enterprise operation model where common utilities are shared, but departments or teams have some autonomy over certain workloads or areas. Understanding your current operating model and where you’d like to be when moving to the cloud can greatly impact which landing zone you choose.
They also need to think about how quickly they are looking to implement workloads in Azure. Is this project time-sensitive and needs to be delivered by a certain date? Understanding project delivery times can be key to which landing zone route Tailwind Traders head down.
Security, governance. and compliance needs or requirements are also something they need to discuss and fully understand. Are there any regulatory compliance policies they need to have in place? They don’t need to fully have security and governance policies defined, but they certainly need to understand what direction they would like to head in and how that will affect their landing zone choice and design.
And the last thing they should consider is deployment methods for the landing zone and workloads. Tailwind Traders should think about how they want to deploy their workloads, do they do it manually, or would they prefer to go with an automation approach. Again, they don’t need to necessarily know the full answer to this, but understanding the direction they would like to head in will help them with landing zone choices.
If you have already some workloads in the cloud, which have maybe been put there by necessity or by shadow IT, you might not have the luxury of starting from scratch like Tailwind Traders are. To help you on your journey things like the Cloud Journey Tracker can help you understand where you currently are and where to look within the Cloud Adoption Framework for further guidance.
It’s possible to pick the wrong landing zone, but hopefully, understanding your organization’s operating model, project timeline, security, governance, compliance, and deployment needs will mean you pick the right one to start your cloud journey.
We will be exploring Tailwind Traders and their cloud adoption journey in future blog posts. However, if you want to learn more about the Cloud Adoption Framework and how it can help accelerate your cloud adoption journey, then Azure Enablement Show is a great place to start.
1Tailwind Traders is a fictional company that we reference within this blog post in order to help illustrate how companies can leverage the Cloud Adoption Framework in real-world scenarios.