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Journey to Cloud Computing

S&P Global pursues cloud-first vision with abstraction across hybrid clouds


S&P Global, which has thrived for more than a century through embracing the new, is engaged in a cloud-first transformation journey that ties together the Company's infrastructure and business visions. As part of the cloud-first strategy, we have been consolidating and modernizing data centers and transforming some of them into private clouds via a Cloud Exchange, resulting in drastic reductions to traditional provisioning time.

Read related content about how S&P Global implemented Agile.

With a history tracing back to 1860, S&P Global is one of the oldest and most respected names in financial intelligence. From its headquarters in New York City, S&P Global provides intelligence that is essential for companies, governments and individuals to make decisions with conviction. Its more than 21,000 employees worldwide are focused on the real-time information that is vital to the world of business.

The company, which has thrived for more than a century through embracing the new, is engaged in a cloud-first transformation journey that ties their infrastructure vision to the business vision through the following initiatives:

• Consolidating and modernizing data centers and converting some of them to private clouds

• Providing an abstraction layer across best of breed public and on-premises private clouds

• Moving applications and services to cloud-native and microservices architecture and leveraging container and serverless technologies (e.g., infrastructure services, IaaS; and extended services, or PaaS) where it makes sense

Consolidating and modernizing data centers

Like many enterprises, S&P Global has several data centers around the globe. The company is adopting a Cloud-first strategy, migrating into the public cloud or, for infrastructure that needs to run within our data centers, providing a similar experience. The specific requirements for these workloads to stay on-premises include:

• Regulatory compliance needs that prevent these to be migrated to a public cloud

• Compute-intensive workloads that are cheaper to run in-house

• Need to be closer to on-premises infrastructure services for performance and security reasons

However, the user experience of running these data centers with their legacy technologies is not in line with S&P Global’s target service levels and optimal cost of operations.

As part of the cloud-first strategy, the company is consolidating and modernizing their data centers and transforming some of them into private clouds via a Cloud Exchange. This effort resulted in an immediate benefit of drastically reducing traditional provisioning time—purchasing hardware, provisioning a server, installing and configuring system software—that could take weeks to complete. With a modern private cloud environment in their data centers, S&P Global is now able to slash infrastructure provisioning from weeks to just minutes.

With turn-key deployment and API-driven private cloud infrastructure, S&P Global developers are enjoying the fact that they can go from idea to execution immediately, without the painful delays.

Delivering abstraction across private and public clouds

S&P Global has been using public cloud technologies for many use cases that are best fit for those environments. The company also recognizes there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all cloud solution or a single cloud that solves 100% of all of their needs. This fitness for use case perspective inevitably leads to an approach that requires multiple public clouds and on-premises infrastructure. The flip side of this approach is that it reduces workload mobility and puts an additional burden on developers to learn the details and nuances of multiple environments.

From early on S&P Global saw the need for a platform which could serve as an abstraction across best-of-breed technologies that would allow them to work across public clouds as well their on-premises private cloud resources.

S&P Global has introduced a multi-cloud abstraction platform which did not disrupt development efforts or add complexity or cause developers to have to un-learn anything.

With this platform in place, developers should be able to easily re-create everything in minutes if they move from one cloud provider to another, saving them from countless days and weeks of re-inventing the wheel and giving S&P Global the ability to “build once and deploy many.”

This type of abstraction takes the pain—and time—out of mixing or switching cloud providers, converting to private cloud, or pulling workloads to on-premises infrastructure.

Moving applications to microservices architecture

S&P Global’s cloud-first strategy also includes initiatives to modernize their applications and to move towards a cloud-native and microservices architecture and automated deployments through Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment (CD) tool chains. Their longer-term vision is to move from traditional servers and virtual machines to a world of containers and ultimately into a serverless world while leveraging the abstraction platform to gain the benefits of the best of breed public cloud and private cloud technologies.

Collaboration with Platform9

S&P Global worked with Platform9 to accelerate their cloud-first initiatives. In particular, this collaboration is enabling S&P Global to:

• Transform some of the legacy data centers into modern private cloud environments that reduce infrastructure provisioning time from weeks to minutes

• Provide an abstraction layer across public and private environments to enable workload portability and improve developer productivity

• Focus on simply consuming cloud (via the Platform9 managed service) instead of managing it themselves with the associated management and OpEx overhead

Working with Platform9 has helped enable a part of S&P Global’s vision with a solution that would meet several criteria, including:

• Operational ease of use

• SaaS-managed delivery model

• Subscription-based consumption model

• Non-disruptive abstraction platform that does not impose any developer overhead