Become familiar with the Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure

The cloud continues to be on the unstoppable growth path and is an omnipresent topic to this day. However, there is no general answer to the question of whether and in what form the cloud is right for companies. This must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. And this is exactly where the difficulty lies, since companies have different levels of knowledge and are at a different point. Microsoft has recognized this and provides extensive help. No matter whether you and your company are still in the very beginning or already very advanced. Become familiar with the Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure (CAF) and use it to make the right decisions and standards.

Idea of the Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure

In the past, companies have often experimented uncoordinatedly with the Microsoft Cloud and then found that they were unable to achieve their goals or they encountered other problems. In most cases, this is due to a missing or insufficient conception. Microsoft has recognized this problem and provides a Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure (CAF). The CAF is not only a comprehensive documentation of how to successfully make the path to the cloud. It also includes a range of support materials such as checklists, templates, surveys, tools, examples and best practices to help you make the journey. A list of these can be found here.

You're already in the middle of your journey to the cloud, but there was no CAF available at the beginning of your journey? No problem at all. Because the Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure is designed so that no matter where you are, you can work with it. Even if you have been running your environment successfully on Azure for years, the CAF will be useful and allow you to make improvements.

Structure and importance of the Cloud Adoption Framework

The Cloud Adoption Framework consists of four phases, whereby the phases Plan, Ready and Adopt form the core. In addition, there are two ongoing activities (Governanceand Manage), which accompany the phases throughout.

CAF for Azure phases
Source: https://docs.microsoft.com

The different phases of the CAF are not strictly defined. The phases are comprehensive, cover a wide range of scenarios and partly merge into one another. Which phases should be dealt with in what detail and how comprehensively depends strongly on factors such as company size, industry, underlying regulations, risk tolerance, etc. The following list shows what I consider to be the most important points in which the phases can be of assistance to you. But be aware that you don't necessarily have to go through every phase completely and in the smallest detail and that you can adjust the phases according to your well-being.

Define Strategy

  • Defining and documenting the motives (Motivation)
  • Determination of goals and the expected result (financial model)
  • Stakeholder analysis
  • Setting the right focus and priorities

Plan

  • Define the workloads involved
  • Training of the personnel required for the project
  • Developing the project plan for implementation

Ready

  • Selecting the most suitable base landing zone
  • Extend the landing zone at your own choice

Adopt

  • Create and define the migration scenario
  • Perform workload migration

Govern & Manage

  • Setting up a Governance baseline
  • Extending the Governance policies
  • Optimizing the cost-efficiency ratio
  • Defining and maintaining the roles and responsibilities (RACI)

Be aware that the Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure is not a sequential process, but that the phases are iterative. The phases are therefore not only to be run through once, but again from time to time. This supports lifecycle management. It also underlines the statement that you can use the CAF at any time. No matter where you are on your journey or how consistently and in detail you plan to go through the phases.

Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure iterative phases
Source: https://docs.microsoft.com

Start using the Cloud Adoption Framework

If you want to use the Cloud Adoption Framework, there are several entry points, all of which can be found at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/cloud-adoption-framework/. If you are still at the very beginning of your journey, navigate to the "Start your cloud journey" point. You will then be directed to the start of the framework and the Strategy phase. Read the instructions carefully and follow the necessary steps.

adoption framework get started

However, if you are already further along and know exactly where you are on your journey, simply navigate to the appropriate point in the appropriate phase. However, this is often not the case. For this purpose, Microsoft has developed the "Cloud journey tracker", which you can find in the Microsoft Assessments under https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/assessments/.

cloud adoption framework journey tracker

You will then be asked questions about each phase to find out where you are on your path. At the end, when you have answered all the questions, the assessment will give you an overview of how far you have progressed in each phase and where you should take action.

improve results of cloud journey tracker

Tips & Conclusion

The cloud has almost unlimited potential. But a successful introduction requires careful planning and a well-considered strategy. Quite a few have had to interrupt their journey due to lack of planning, start over or decide to continue with a solution that is only halfway satisfactory. The Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure helps you avoid such failure.

The framework is comprehensive and at first glance appears complex and overwhelming. For successful use, I therefore strongly recommend that you familiarize yourself with the CAF in advance. Start small, become familiar with the Cloud Adoption Framework and then continually expand the benefits of the framework in an iterative process. Everyone who has to deal with the CAF should take the short but informative course on Microsoft Learn.

Working with the CAF is not an individual effort. This is also mentioned in the CAF itself in the phase Strategy. For example, various business decisions are made that are not based on a single point of view, but should be discussed and brought about with foresight in workshops. For this reason, I recommend using the experience of third parties and entering into a partnership with a suitable partner at the very beginning. So before you start, make sure you have sufficient internal and external support.

The journey into the cloud can be compared as a metaphor with climbing Mount Everest. The Cloud Adoption Framework is for the journey into the Azure Cloud like Sherpas are for climbing Mount Everest. Although the Sherpas take on a big burden, advise and show the way, you have to walk it yourself, but you never do it alone. You first take care of like-minded people, a mountain guide and the necessary support of the sherpas. The few who renounce this, do so because of the challenge. It is clear that the way up Mount Everest is probably much more difficult.

Sources:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/cloud-adoption-framework/strategy/balance-competing-priorities

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/modules/microsoft-cloud-adoption-framework-for-azure/

https://aka.ms/caf

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