Within a business, there may be many people with “architect” in their title — for example, business application architects, data strategy architects, network architects, and platform architects — and each of these people traditionally report to their respective domains. For clarity across the roles we sell to, we refer to these people as IT planners to differentiate them from the EA role. Because of this spectrum of different IT planners in other domains, businesses need to create a single function that will unify the complex relationships between the various environments these IT planners operate in.
With that said, the cloud architect role is responsible for developing a logical road map for how existing and new technology investments will evolve to meet future business needs flexibly and cost-effectively. As the rate of technology change increases, the cloud architect role has become increasingly crucial to business operations and strategic planning.
To succeed in this environment, cloud architects must earn the trust and respect of their business peers to get and keep a seat at the business planning table. Thus, the role must be able to translate and prioritize business requirements with IT investments, options, and delivery choices.
In the past, cloud architects spent a lot of time educating their peers about networking, storage, applications, servers, and security. Then, they would leverage technologies from an approved list of vendors that the entire enterprise could reasonably support while ensuring that they provided end-users with reliable technologies. Now, cloud architects must bundle these products into integrated application and infrastructure services that enable other IT and business professionals to rapidly configure different technology combinations to cost-effectively meet the rapidly changing business requirements — with high availability, reliability, and security.
Now that you know more about who they are, follow these 6 hints to read cloud architect roles like an open book.
1: Roles and Responsibilities
Cloud architects may take on multiple roles within their organization. The most common of them include working as or in:
- System Architect
- Cloud Service Owner
- Enterprise Architecture
- Chief Enterprise Architect
- VP Enterprise Architecture
Cloud architects are professionals with a unique set of knowledge, and their responsibilities derive from that specialty. Some of those responsibilities include:
- Create and evangelize an overall technology design plan.
- They significantly influence IT decisions because they set the future-state direction and make the core decisions about platforms to standardize. Determine which vendors are strategic.
- Work directly with stakeholders to comprehend solution problems and identify opportunities.
- Work with application developers, engineers, and designers to deliver innovative technology solutions using AWS, CCP, or other public cloud services.
- Responsible for collecting and defining technical requirements to enable business processes and integrations
- Led the team of engineers and IT specialists to design effective, efficient, scalable, and secure applications within the organization’s Cloud software platform.
- Ensure that solutions created by the development team stick to technical architecture standards
- Responsible for writing and reviewing codes and also contributing to all technical discussions and architecture planning
- Maintain clear documentation and standards for cloud operations in the organization.
- Stay up-to-date on emerging technology trends and promote an environment of learning.
- Responsible for monitoring the production environment and advancing the obtainable monitoring setup as needed.
- Sustain performance and availability of production systems in AWS, GCP, or other public cloud infrastructure to achieve optimal uptime.
- Responsible for designing & managing the solution engineering related to specific business problems
- Evaluate and work on project constraints such as technology, risks, scope, cost quality, time & resources.
- Design, configure, operate and perform maintenance on networking and computer systems.
- Responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of an organization’s IT networks and services
- Overseeing, improving, and upgrading enterprise services, software, and hardware
2: Gain Points
Before interacting with them, we must know why we help cloud architects. Some operations we can help them with are:
- Minimize disruption to the business to ensure core processes are supported while growth is enabled.
- Developing a more predictable and simplified future-state plan for applications, storage, and observability
- Deploy and scale new technologies effectively and rapidly. Deploy new business solutions without overwhelming existing systems or business users.
- Connect business and technical information. A typical breakdown, or the information the cloud architect role needs, is: There is a business strategy that requires certain services, supported by specific capabilities, connected to certain processes, running on particular applications (that might support multiple functions), providing specific sources of information, and running on certain technology platforms . . . and so on.
- They are ensuring new solutions work as envisioned. Solutions and capabilities should scale quickly and be cost-effective for the business to manage or own. This requires having a road map for how new applications and technologies can be deployed predictably into a well-designed environment.
- Successfully and securely maintain a hybrid environment
3: Pain Points
It is also essential to understand a cloud architect’s pain points and address them, helping them visualize how you will resolve some of the pains they face in the short term or long term.
Some of their pain points might be the following:
- Define an overall vision of the organization’s IT environment and plan for how that environment will flexibly and responsively change to meet evolving business demands.
- They are controlling IT complexity. People in cloud architect roles must devote significant time and effort to unravel the complex interdependencies between their data, applications, servers, and networks.
- They are developing more applications in the cloud. In addition, large enterprises are moving to the cloud and having to make trade-offs in their application and data strategies to meet the unique needs of their business.
- They are factoring in intermittent connectivity. Often, devices are disconnected from a data warehouse or data center. Whether it’s a sensor on a factory floor or a connected vehicle, cloud architects cannot always assume reliable, fast network connectivity for devices.
- Overcoming disconnectedness and data capture challenges. When site network outages at the edge happen, they can have downstream impacts. For example, imagine local video cameras that connect and save captures to autoscaling containerized service deployment locally before transmitting back to the cloud. Pod receivers spin up and write to disk when many cameras are active. But the local cluster that prepares data for transport may only be able to send data back to the leading corporate data center or cloud at specific planned times or after considerable local filtering workloads are applied. There needs to be a strategy to ensure that disks do not fill up capturing video in the event of a long gap between syncing data.
- They are mitigating risks of hardware failure and serviceability. Hardware and upgrade failures happen when using on-premise software: An upgrade to devices or services can fail, leaving clusters or machines in a failed state. Disks can experience hard, bad sectors. NICs can fail. Power supplies burn out. All of these can lead to business disruption.
4. Cloud Architect Role Map
5: Typical Tasks and Activities
To help you get in their shoes, here are some tasks and activities cloud architects perform:
- Collaborate with leadership and global engineering to understand the current data landscape to build out a data strategy that includes architecting a cloud-based warehouse with improved data analytics EDW / AI / ML capabilities
- Oversee Data Warehouse / Data Analytics / AI (including Social Media AI) / ML from a technical perspective, having accountability for recommending innovative technology to improve performance, scalability, and maintainability while driving roadmap execution.
- Retain, hire, & grow a regionally dispersed global team. They are implementing engineering best practice processes and metrics to improve the efficiency/effectiveness of their team while also providing visibility to internal stakeholders.
- Provide estimates on the time required to implement roadmap capabilities.
- Engage closely with Engineering to help determine the best user experience, technical implementation methods, and a reasonable implementation schedule.
- Seek opportunities to improve the speed of data ingestion and data quality via automation and machine learning
- Resolve roadblocks and escalate to management when appropriate
- See inside the complexities of the overall cloud architecture to optimize speed, relevancy, and scale
- Define, develop, build, and sustain enterprise data, governance, and quality
- Effectively drive business culture and technology change in a complex environment
- Coordinate, allocate and manage resources and projects across multiple teams
- •Consistently maintain knowledge of current trends and developments in the field of data management and analytics
- Define data & analytics strategy, oversee data governance, identify and define data analytic investments and opportunities
- Collaborate with departments to create performance dashboards to identify, prioritize, develop, analyze, evaluate, and communicate critical datasets and performance metrics
- Manage Operational and Capital Budgets to meet target goals and initiatives.
6: Questions to Consider
Finally, here is a list of questions you might want to consider before interacting with a cloud architect to ensure you create a personalized approach towards them.
- Are you aiming to improve or digitize a business process or a product?
- What is your cloud strategy?
- How are you doing with data center space (cloud) and hardware (on-prem)?
- How do you help employees find documents and tools more quickly?
- How do you get enough visibility to know how your most important applications are performing?
- What data types are you currently managing?
- Are you getting more data-driven in your workflows? How?
- What is the cloud strategy for your company? Where are you with it right now?
- What do you think about multi-cloud?
- How do you currently monitor cloud-native apps?
- How do we help Development and Operations teams orchestrate and work across departments?
- How do you determine where applications are run? What does that process look like?
- How do you currently get visibility into your hybrid cloud environment?
- How do you find what you’re looking for irrespective of the data type, which includes structured, unstructured, geo, and metrics data types?