As of March, I joined Forrester’s infrastructure and operations (I&O) team, covering cloud, containers, and modernization and the wider transition to cloud-native computing and practices. It’s a fascinating time to take on this assignment alongside Forrester analysts whom I’ve long admired. I’m eager to get started. By way of introduction, I’ll start with my current cloud strategy thesis.

While the debate is far from dead on the ideal compute infrastructure — on-premises, tenancy models, edge, etc. — the answer is resoundingly all of the above. This has become the de facto market stance with every industry conference touting its own flavor of hybrid cloud messaging over the past few years. The message: I&O professionals today can choose from a growing number of cloud and application modernization platforms to more easily identify a strategy that makes sense for their organizations.

For some, this may mean sunsetting their own data centers and moving those applications to the public cloud — the proverbial lift and shift — while also looking for opportunities to build cloud-native applications and modernize in the new environment. Others may choose to revitalize on-premises facilities by adapting cloud-native platforms and practices and using them to modernize those data centers instead. Some legacy organizations with massive technical debt may even decide to build everything anew (or mostly new), embracing cloud-native technologies from hyperscale public cloud providers.

And just as organizations have started to accept the movement of workloads gradually toward cloud platforms, the advent of edge computing presents even more options for deploying IT infrastructure for some industries. But how can one decide what to do?

Decisions about what infrastructure should be deployed where can be daunting. The transformation of IT infrastructure in recent years has opened a gap between what an organization can do based on technology alone and what it should do based on budget, compliance, regulatory frameworks, and the availability of technologists to build, scale, and support those solutions.

While some organizations will gravitate to the newest technologies, incorporate open source tools, and build a strategy across three separate public cloud platforms, others will be inclined to take a more measured approach based on the burden of rigid policies or internal politics — or the continued viability, importance, and even differentiation of legacy systems that can be adapted or integrated into modern IT operating environments, rather than simply replaced. No two strategies will be identical, and each must strive to be a pragmatic solution for its computing needs.

These issues have been the focus of my work, most recently at the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, where I participated in the Cloud Center of Excellence on behalf of the risk management group. At Discover Financial Services, I was a member of both the infrastructure architecture and cybersecurity architecture teams and was involved in the initial migration to the public cloud and container infrastructure. I view this work through a security and governance, risk, and compliance lens: I hold the CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) and GSEC (GIAC Security Essentials) certifications and have helped lead onboarding of security tools, overseen vulnerability management efforts, and managed penetration tests of applications, networks, and endpoint computing.

My work is also informed by years of experience as a technology and cybersecurity journalist, which involved countless discussions with IT and security pros. I have seen these issues from the vendor perspective as well, having worked as technical writer for a number of leading technology firms.

I look forward to collaborating with Forrester clients. Connect with me at Forrester for briefings, inquiries, and advisories on the cloud, containers, and modernization. I plan to start taking calls on May 10 after my initial ramp-up.