If ever there was a job title that didn’t exist when I was in school, it would be ‘Cloud Architect’. But now, with more and more businesses shifting to a cloud-centric way of working, there is an increasing need for specialist skills in cloud strategy, orchestration, adoption, optimsation and other key areas. Trustmarque is proudly investing in our Cloud Solutions Team and nourishing a growing set of skills and capabilities that support our customer’s modern datacentre and cloud challenges.

Here, we introduce you to our Lead Cloud Architects and get their perspectives on going cloud native, Microsoft Azure and what it means to be a Cloud Architect.

Neel Dev
Neel DevAzure Technical Manager

Background: I have been in IT since 1999 in various guises. As I was a Biotech undergrad, I came into IT from the angle of genomics and bioinformatics. After 5 years in this area, I moved away from algorithms and PERL scripts to hardware at Hewlett-Packard where I was a VDI Specialist for several years. Since 2012, I have been heavily involved in the areas of hybrid datacentres and public cloud, having worked for Pulsant, Misco, Insight and now Trustmarque.

Professional qualifications or success: MCSA Cloud Platform

What interests you about the cloud?  The ability to democratise services like cognitive services, Big Data and Analytics and IoT. Even in the infrastructure space, ASR provides companies with a low cost Disaster Recovery option, as opposed to having  a second, inactive datacentre on their books.

What does it mean to be a cloud architect?  It means being able to work with real customer environments to leverage the business benefits of the cloud. Whether that is creating a hybrid infrastructure or purely public cloud.  It is about knowing the best place for individual customer workloads from a business perspective rather than focusing on technology concepts.

Tell us something interesting about Microsoft Azure: Azure is by far the best option for hybrid cloud solutions in my opinion. Only Microsoft have a foot in on-premise environments via AD, SQL and Windows Server and Desktop and cloud via Azure.

Top tips for a successful cloud migration: Do your homework first! Otherwise costs will spiral and security attack services will abound.

Adrian Fish
Adrian FishCloud Architect for Capita

Background: I have spent 30 Years as an IT Consultant and Solutions Architect, primarily covering datacentre design, implementation and migration, performance and capacity analysis, VDI and virtualisation.

Professional qualifications or success: Microsoft MCSE and VMware VCP 

What interests you about the cloud? Freedom. You can easily integrate your on-premise solution with the cloud to provide a hybrid environment or just deploy entirely in the cloud. Cloud reduces the amount of time needed to deploy and maintain on-premise datacentres. New cloud services and enhancements are being released each day, allowing you to adapt your environment quickly without a long procurement and deployment process.

What does it mean to be a cloud architect?  The rapid changes and enhancements in the cloud are forcing traditional hardware and software vendors to change their thinking. Companies like Cisco, Citrix, Dell EMC and NetApp are realising they need to integrate their on-premise solutions with cloud solutions. As a cloud architect we look at customer requirements and then identify the available options for both cloud and on-premise. It is an exciting area to be working in.

Tell us something interesting about Microsoft Azure:  Infrastructure as Code (IaC) allows you to deploy and update your Azure environment using code.  The code can be easily modified and tested in development and then deployed to production. This enables you to have full control, roll-back changes, identify what and who has made modifications, and ensures any changes made outside of the code are removed. In the event of a serious incident, the environment can be redeployed from any of the code stages.

Top tips for a successful cloud migration: Planning, security and costs. Your cloud environment should be carefully planned and designed so that it can easily scale and adapt without complex re-engineering and migration. Once you have your strategy and design, the environment can be quickly scaled out and altered as needed.

Callum MacAllister
Callum MacAllisterCloud Architect – Azure SQL, Data and Analytics

Background: I’ve now spent over 25 years in the IT business. The vast majority of that time has seen me specialising in how to use Data & Analytics to drive business change through fact-based decisions.

Professional qualifications or success: I successfully used Data & Analytics to turn a failing company from a multi-million pound loss-making business to a financial success.  I was also one of the first people in the UK to implement a true Business Intelligence system way back in 1996 and several more then followed over the next 20 years!

What interests you about the cloud?  The ability to bring analytics and powerful decision making to the people that actually make the decisions. It helps deliver the right data, to the right people, at the right time.

What does it mean to be a cloud architect? To be able to think differently. The size of the data set is no longer a barrier to getting results, the possibilities are way beyond anything we’ve ever seen before.

Tell us something interesting about Microsoft Azure: The best feature of Azure is its popularity and its advantage over the other Cloud providers, for example integration with Office. The fact that the best analytics available today can be delivered and consumed by anyone using all the tools they are familiar with is truly fantastic.

What are your top tips for a successful cloud migration? Take the time and effort to understand the dependencies between your data sources and how they interact with one another. And understand the importance and sensitivity of your data as this key driver behind your cloud architecture.

Nadeem Javeed
Nadeem JaveedCloud Architect for Healthcare customers

Background: As a lead solutions architect over the past 20 years, I have designed and deployed various application and infrastructure workloads. I have led the delivery of infrastructure and software solutions ensuring compliance with enterprise architecture with the best of breed engineering principles. My commitment to excellence has been demonstrated by designing various hybrid cloud strategies with VMware/EMC Pivotal Cloud foundry and GCP / Microsoft Azure / AWS with Middleware and Backoffice applications. I also enjoy speaking at Tech forums.

Professional qualifications or success: Microsoft Certified Solutions Master,  VMWare Certified Professional, Dell/EMC Storage Professional , Microsoft Solutions Expert: Cloud Productivity | Messaging

Tell us something interesting about Microsoft Azure: The big three leading public cloud computing providers Microsoft Azure, AWS and Google Cloud Platform have their own strengths and weaknesses that make them ideal for different use cases. Azure’s greatest appeal is that all of your existing Microsoft workloads VDI, SQL, AD, CRM, .net code will work seamlessly on Azure. Your Server environment will connect to Azure and you will find it easy to migrate on-premises apps via an array of migration tools. Furthermore, Azure’s deep focus on the hybrid cloud will help you bridge your legacy datacentre environment with the rapidly scalable and feature rich Microsoft public cloud.

What are your top tips for a successful cloud migration? Start small and grow. Understand and validate all your dependencies. Set effective monitoring and usage alerts on all compute/storage/network. Deploy a robust roles based permissions model. And finally, prepare to up-skill your IT staff.

Josh Storm
Josh StormCloud Architect for Government customers

Background: I started in IT as a Junior Engineer, working on various infrastructures of different sizes. I grew to become a Technical Consultant working with customers to find the ideal solutions ranging from Azure services, hybrid datacentres, virtualisation and Office 365.

Professional qualifications or success: MCSE – Cloud Platform and Infrastructure

What interests you about the cloud? The constant flow of new services and technologies readily available around the globe to improve the IT world today.

What does it mean to be a Cloud Architect? To help customers understand the art of the possible. To help them see where IT can benefit the business by being cost effective, secure and scalable without the need to develop complex platforms to run the services. Being able to help the customer to achieve better outcomes makes it all worthwhile.

Tell us something interesting about Microsoft Azure: Azure provides the platform to take IT to the next level without significant upfront investment. Automation and additional services such as IoT and Cognitive Services allow for IT functions to take advantage of cutting-edge technologies without the large on-premise footprint.

What are your top tips for a successful cloud migration? Due diligence. Ensure you understand your infrastructure and dependencies before moving to the cloud. Start from the ground up and leverage Trustmarque’s abilities to assess your infrastructure and expose the systems that would benefit the business by being in the cloud.

Book an appointment with our expert Cloud team and see how we can support your Microsoft Azure strategy.

Talk to your Account Manager or register your interest.

By Katherine Murphy. content enthusiast