Today’s organizations are making the move to the cloud for a number of reasons, but there are three that many have in common: agility, efficiency, and innovation. The cloud frees these organizations from the infrastructure restrictions of legacy hardware and on-premises technologies, enables development teams to view infrastructure as a utility that’s accessible to an API, and allows businesses to focus on the real purpose of their work—driving value for customers.
In terms of efficiency, we now have access to on-demand infrastructure and new technologies like data analytics and machine learning. It enables us to implement new architectural models and treat infrastructure as a readily available and infinitely scalable resource.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the technological shift that was already in motion, with businesses turning to the cloud to adapt to new circumstances quickly. The cloud eliminates the reliance on on-premises infrastructure and enables this flexibility, but introduces new challenges as well.
Challenges of successful cloud management
To take advantage of the cloud’s benefits, operations need to work together in a predictable and secure way. We’ve identified three primary drivers for new complexities in the cloud:
- Pace of change. In the cloud, everything moves faster. You don’t have to rely on on-premises hardware to deploy modern applications at scale. However, when you’re moving fast, the budget and security implications can often be an afterthought for teams that are focused on hitting project deadlines.
- Decentralization of management. With the recent trend from a centralized to a decentralized IT model, management responsibilities are now distributed across the organization. While decentralized access to infrastructure can be beneficial in terms of efficiency, it can also lead to silos and difficulty establishing standards around cloud spend and usage.
- Visibility and governance across multiple cloud platforms. Even though there are considerable advantages to multicloud, there’s no denying that it adds complexity. Multicloud significantly increases the amount of data involved and the difficulty of managing usage across the entire environment.
The infrastructure management complexity gap
During VMworld 2020, Mike Wookey and Joe Kinsella from VMware’s Cloud Management Business Unit explained how these challenges have led to an “infrastructure management complexity gap.” In the visual below, you can see a tipping point where complexity has risen as public cloud usage has grown, with an even greater increase since the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic made the cloud more valuable.
A new approach to cloud management
Solving the complexity gap and unlocking the agility, innovation, and efficiency of the cloud requires a new management approach.
As shown in the image above, it starts with ensuring the business is aligned on its intent, constraints, goals, and overall strategy. Under a common strategy, all lines of business and distributed teams need to prioritize collaboration. They should share best practices and standards around each facet of cloud management—cost and optimization, security, provisioning and orchestration, operations and analytics, service control, and third-party services—and then customize those standards for individual teams.
Across the entire cloud management engine, these organizations need to implement an integrated data layer that supports the governance of all clouds and services. Native cloud management solutions, for example, only provide visibility into part of a multicloud environment, and often come with restrictions on visibility into usage across a standalone cloud environment. Effective cloud management requires holistic visibility and control.
Altogether, this integrated approach to cloud management will empower organizations with the agility, efficiency, and innovation of the cloud, rather than overwhelm them with its complexity.
For more information on how to face the infrastructure management complexity gap and build a mature multicloud management practice, see our whitepaper: Benchmark Your Cloud Maturity: A Framework for Best Practices