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Solution architect, reinvent yourself for the cloud

J. Peter Bruzzese | May 4, 2015
Solution architects are facing extinction unless they reexamine and reinvent themselves.

SAs need to consider the customer they're working with and be able to determine if the base offering from Microsoft is enough. In the case of email services, you may need to look at your long-term data plan with Microsoft, which might be a concern from a data portability or compliance perspective, and the ability to provide proper management and discoverability.

Look, we all know a product like SQL Server is fantastic, but when we think "big data," we think Hadoop, right? Not every organization needs Hadoop, but when it makes sense -- when the solution architect says it makes sense -- it's time to build that into the design. The same is true with regard to cloud-based email management. Just as on-premises Exchange is surrounded by an ecosystem that SAs can reach into to add to their design, there is a similar ecosystem within the cloud for Office 365.

The is true of the other building blocks as well. Microsoft has taken solid solutions such as Exchange and stretched them and added to them so as to provide for the other building blocks. This will work well in many cases -- but not all.

For example, when you blueprint your move to the cloud, as a "Cloud SA" you have to consider if the built-in security offerings are "good enough" for your needs or if a layered approach would be better. The same questions apply to availability options. Does the organization you are migrating need not only availability but also some form of disaster recovery? (DR doesn't currently exist within Office 365, where Microsoft is content to provide native data protection -- so no backups.)

In the cloud as on premises, when you understand the architecture and can make suggestions based on each of the essential computing workloads for a messaging solution, you remain relevant, not only when considering Exchange but when looking at all forms of cloud computing (services, platforms, and infrastructure) because you now have to mitigate risk. Start with the base building block that Microsoft has done a fantastic job with (Exchange), then determine whether the other blocks are adequate for your customer.

Become a "risk management" expert for the cloud: a cloud solution architect. Doing so will help you to remain truly relevant in this ever changing world of clouds.

Source: Infoworld


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