The Øresund bridge is more than a bridge. A consortium on its way towards a hybrid cloud architecture.

CASE

THE ØRESUND BRIDGE IS MORE THAN A BRIDGE. A CONSORTIUM ON ITS WAY TOWARDS A HYBRID CLOUD ARCHITECTURE.

The cloud transformation of The Øresund Bridge consortium entails both technological and cultural perspectives that call for new ways of working.

Here you can read about their cloud strategy, how they plan the cloud migration journey with Microsoft's Azure Migrate Program, and how Mugato provides visualizations that enable smooth communication between IT and business in the organization’s transformation.

The Øresund Bridge is in many ways a complex infrastructure. This goes both for the physical site, the organization, and the IT landscape.

The Øresund Bridge consortium consists of the bridge and the tunnel that connects Denmark and Sweden, and a toll station in Sweden. Add to that the office facilities for employees and consultants, and the administration offices in Copenhagen.

Christian Jørgensen, who is responsible for the IT Infrastructure at The Øresund Bridge consortium, explains that previously, server sites were located in Copenhagen and at the toll station in Sweden. Over the past years, these have been consolidated, and now resides at a new server site in Kastrup, Denmark. This is one of many projects in the organization’s overarching strategy for cloud transformation.

Christofer af Ekenstam, CIO at The Øresund Bridge, is responsible for the organization’s cloud strategy. He leads the ambitious cloud transformation the consortium is going through. In the strategy, he states that:

“The introduction of cloud contains two perspectives. One has to do with the technology itself, and that users can access applications in a secure, independent location.

The second perspective has to do with culture, and that the company understands or is educated in that the cloud provides an opportunity to work in new ways, which will benefit us.”

From The Øresund Bridge’s Cloud Strategy 2021-2025

Ekenstam and the team of IT workers in the organization generally have a deep understanding of the cultural change that a cloud transformation entails, and the need for corresponding working methods and new ways of communicating, that are intrinsically linked with a cloud transformation of this scope.

INITIAL FOCUS AREAS FOR IMPLEMENTING THE CLOUD STRATEGY

The Øresund Bridge’s initial focus areas for implementing the cloud strategy is to:

  • Introduce agile, automatized, and on-demand functions with associated working methods
  • Establish cloud services for the applications and systems that support it
  • Develop and implement a hybrid cloud architecture
  • Training and development of staff to make the most of investments.

From The Øresund Bridge’s Cloud Strategy 2021-2025

PLANNING THE CLOUD MIGRATION WITH MICROSOFT'S AZURE MIGRATE PROGRAM

When starting the journey of moving their systems to the cloud, The Øresund Bridge entered a collaboration with Microsoft for scoping this part of the cloud transformation. The goal is to finish the cloud migration project in 2022.

The project follows Microsoft’s Azure Migrate Program framework, slightly adjusted to fit the current project, and with a roadmap optimized for their particular needs and goals. Part of this process is a series of workshops conducted with Proactive to do the groundwork for the cloud migration plan.

Christian Jørgensen believes that they have benefitted from working with an external partner in this project. Since Proactive is experienced with the process of the Azure Migrate Program, they are aware of any potential challenge that might occur at each step of the program, which has agreed with what Christian and his colleagues have identified in the workshops.

THE ØRESUND BRIDGE USED MUGATO TO ANALYZE THEIR IT INFRASTRUCTURE, MAPPING ALL APPLICATIONS AND DATA FLOWS IN THE DIGITAL ESTATE

The groundwork for the cloud transformation has been to analyze the IT infrastructure, part of which has been to map all applications and data flows.

In their cloud strategy, the consortium states that “The Øresund Bridge consortium realizes that a deep understanding of the application environment is crucial for a successful adoption of cloud services.”

To gain this deep understanding of the application environment, they have mapped out all existing applications as part of an extensive assessment of the current application portfolio.

In the strategic frame for this, these features are identified as critical to the adoption of cloud services:

  • Application Inventory: Maintain a list of applications across the organization including key application features.
  • Assessment of the application portfolio: Carry out a comprehensive evaluation of the application list and recommend application transformation, retirement, replacement, and other practices if necessary.
  • Roadmap Application transformation: Develop and maintain a roadmap to control the development and transformation of applications in the portfolio.
From The Øresund Bridge’s Cloud Strategy 2021-2025

To map out applications and data flows in their IT infrastructure, IT workers at The Øresund Bridge used Mugato to analyze their IT infrastructure. In the AMP workshops, they collaborated with partners at Proactive to conduct this fundamental analysis with Mugato.

There were two overarching tasks in the workshop series. One was to identify the systems and applications that should be included in the project. The next was to decide which to move to the cloud and which to keep on-prem.

This is now finished. They’ve identified all servers to migrate, which has given them the foundation for migration of their systems to execute over the coming months.

The data foundation from the analysis has also informed the configuration of their new platform. To reach conclusions on how to do the optimal solution in Azure, they’ve used Mugato to assess information like current loads, and decide how the cloud platform will be sized to fit their needs.

Now they’ll create the landing zone, and next up is the construction of the entire network infrastructure for Azure. When that is set, they’ll test the new platform to ensure that the setup is optimal for all parts: the network infrastructure, the landing zone, and the security aspects, to ensure it adheres to the high security standards that the organization holds.

VISUALIZATIONS SUPPORT IT WORKERS IN COMMUNICATING INFRASTRUCTURE COMPLEXITY TO BUSINESS UNITS

Before conducting this analysis, IT workers at The Øresund Bridge already had a thorough knowledge of their infrastructure, and insight into traffic patterns and dataflows.

For Christian Jørgensen, responsible for the IT infrastructure, this knowledge comes from being a key agent in building their setup over the years together with vendors, consultants, and colleagues, so naturally, he says, he has a pretty good grip of how their infrastructure is connected.

With a multilayer firewall system, (WLAN segmentation and restriction with firewalls), and IBS-boxes connected to QRadar Security Intelligence, which also analyzes the traffic patterns in their infrastructure, they also have plenty of information on data flows.

Christian Jørgensen emphasizes that the analysis mirror what the IT departments know about the infrastructure. Even so, The Øresund Bridge has gained much value from using Mugato to map the digital estate in the initial steps of the Azure Migrate Program. Beyond fulfilling the functional need for inventorying, Mugato has provided a useful tool for communicating IT:

“I’ve had this challenge that whenever I start to explain CMA’s, virtual firewalls, WLAN, and ports to a group of managers, not many minutes pass before they are looking out the window.

With Mugato, we have a way to visualize this that makes it easy to digest, when you present it to someone like managers or people who don’t have much technical insight, because they only work with the business side of things.”

Christian Jørgensen, responsible for the IT Infrastructure at The Øresund Bridge consortium

This kind of knowledge can traditionally be difficult for specialized IT workers to explain to colleagues or leaders, who have an interest or an explicit need to understand the connections in the infrastructure but have lesser technical understanding or insight into the organization’s IT.

Mugato gives IT workers a way to visualize the infrastructure in intuitive ways, which can support and strengthen communication between IT and business.

For any suggested changes or large-scale transformations, the IT department must be able to explain to the organization what it takes, and what effects it will have within the infrastructure.

In daily operations as well as in digital transformations, The Øresund Bridge can benefit from simplifying the complicated explanations of ports, firewalls, and security matters, because they now have a tool to visualize it.

“That’s where I see Mugato as a useful tool. It gives you the option of showing all of this in a different way than with detailed overviews of firewall settings, which very few people actually understand!”

Christian Jørgensen, responsible for the IT Infrastructure at The Øresund Bridge consortium

By making visible the value chains in the work that is being conducted in the IT department and its connections to the core business, IT workers can ensure that this complexity comes into play in the organization.

The Øresund Bridge case is an excellent example of how the benefits of a cloud transformation can be more than merely technical.

Utilizing cloud technologies and SaaS solutions and maintain awareness of aligning the use of these with their strategic measures, they’ve gained a new method of visualization that allows for smooth communication throughout the organization, Mugato serves as a tool to enable new ways of working and supports The Øresund Bridge consortium in “enabling a more flexible and modern workplace,” as is an integral idea of their cloud strategy.


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