Mastering the Management of Complex Cloud Environments
Cloud environments continue to get more complicated as businesses evolve. Most businesses now use at
least one public cloud and one private cloud. Research indicates that most businesses probably use a combination of three to four, and some are even introducing fog or edge computing to the mix. Management of this complex cloud environment has proven to be difficult, and will likely only become more difficult as complexity increases.
More Clouds Mean More Management
Cloud computing can make your organization more agile and productive, yet cloud computing in and of itself can add to the complexity of your IT infrastructure if not carefully managed. Obviously your private cloud is managed in-house, but if your organization is like many, you have either or soon will be using a hybrid cloud environment with both public and private cloud computing. In addition, many businesses are using four or more cloud vendors, and researchers predict 86 percent of enterprises will need multi-cloud solutions as early as next year. Using multiple vendors only increases the complexity.
Cloud Computing Only Increases in Complexity
Cloud computing can be a challenge in any environment, as organizations deal with stability, cost, security, or other issues inherent in making this transformative switch. However, the complexity of the infrastructure itself requires careful management and some of this stems from the very benefits cloud computing provides. The complexity is always going to be there. Managing it as such is required. As Joe Kinsella says in a post at CloudTech, “The success of your cloud strategy will be directly affected by your willingness and ability to confront and manage this complexity.” So how can you master it and stay on top of all your cloud properties? It could be it’s time to look outside the organization for help.
Use a Third-Party Service to Help with Management
Cloud providers can give you the ability to take advantage of a complex cloud solution. However, that doesn’t mean the vendor will meet every need you might have. There might be one or more situations unique to your industry or business that still have to be managed. For example, an article in NetworkWorld tells the story of a business that needed additional security, and they found it in third-party vendor Dome9. As cloud computing environments grow ever more complex, vendors will continue to identify and respond to needs, developing software to help with the management. If you have a particular need within your organization, be proactive and find vendors that can help.
Outsource to a Managed Services Provider (MSP)
If you’d prefer to outsource all the management, rather than only part of it, consider using a managed services provider (MSP). An MSP is going to be ready to manage your cloud solution for you from day one, because that’s what they do. Using an MSP also means you’re more likely to stay up-to-date on technologies and adapt them when appropriate. You can rely on the MSP to keep your data secure even when hosted externally. And you can free your IT department to focus on internal customer needs while the MSP handles the hardware and software aspects of your cloud computing.
Choose the Right Vendor and/or Solution
As complex cloud computing explodes, third-party options for managing these environments are also increasing, including the MSP choices, so carefully seek out the vendor you will rely on. Also think about other possible solutions for achieving cloud computing with less complexity. Check into options such as Cloud Lifecycle Management solutions, for example, that can ease the transition to cloud computing by facilitating the connection with your legacy systems with the cloud. It can also enable Cloud as a Service (CaaS) for ultra-fast deployments and ease of management.
Vendors are starting to offer more customized solutions as well, so you might not be making an apples-to-apples comparison when considering your options. Be prepared with a list of your requirements and concerns before you even start the search. A list provided by Coalfire offers eight security and privacy issues to consider when evaluating vendors, for example.
Only Use the Cloud Solutions You Really Need
As I stated above, many organizations are turning to multiple vendors to build custom cloud computing solutions (that don’t tie them to one vendor). This is not required, however, and no one should assume that multiple vendors are needed. Be careful in your assessment of your needs and what vendors can offer you. Err on the side of fewer solutions first, to keep complexity in check and management easier to do. More vendors, solutions, and complexity can be added later if needed—and when your staff is ready to take them on.
This post was brought to you by IBM Global Technology Services. For more content like this, visit IT Biz Advisor.