Cloud management: key to a productive cloud

In today’s increasingly connected world, the way enterprises run their cloud estates is crucial to business success. As a result, IT leaders are left to juggle innovation and risk with cost optimization to get the most from cloud performance.

Multicloud, by its very nature, is complex. As a result, it has created the need for a management strategy, tools, policies and governance that can smoothly and effectively orchestrate services across a multi-vendor vista. Cloud management outlines how solutions and services operate in the cloud, including data flow, access control and scalability.

“Multicloud can result in more infrastructure silos and more interconnected services with an array of dependencies that are hard to keep track of and, as a result, harder to troubleshoot. These factors can complicate the task of ongoing management,” explains Liam Rogers, Analyst at 451 Research.

Cloud management enables IT to efficiently manage resources, make necessary adjustments to optimize performance, automate processes and monitor usage and associated costs.

Getting the most out of cloud

A multi-cloud approach is becoming standard among most organizations. Eighty-nine percent of respondents in a recent report said they have a multi-cloud strategy, and 80 percent said they are taking a hybrid approach by combining the use of both public and private clouds. As cloud use matures, the big issue is that multicloud complexity will rapidly outpace benefits if a robust management foundation isn’t put in place.

Cloud has triggered the emergence of consumption-based IT offerings, pervasive agile development and continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD). These have fast become the foundation stones of digital transformation. They demand, however, that organizations re-visit their infrastructure/applications management and operations as a matter of urgency.

Successful transformations need meticulous planning. Therefore, it is a good idea to instigate a Centralized Cloud Center of Excellence (CCOE), which is basically a best-practice approach to developing a framework for cloud business operations. This demands a team of experts with defined KPIs and objectives.

“A CCOE is particularly effective in organizations where IT is distributed into the business units but is also useful when IT is centralized. It is most important for agility-focused cloud adoption but is also useful for cost-efficiency-focused adoption,” explains David Smith, Distinguished Analyst at Gartner.

Gartner suggests that the CCOE should be the primary vehicle for leading and governing cloud adoption across all service models, including infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS). As well as creating policies around cloud management, the CCOE can help IT with vendor management and raise awareness of the cloud across the enterprise.

Cloud management is essential to achieving business goals

A well-designed cloud management strategy enables IT teams to get the most from the agility, dynamism and scalability the cloud offers. To leverage the performance levels cloud promises, it is essential to have a plan to make sure management and monitoring layers are in situ from the outset alongside best practices and procedures.

It is imperative that you have a business-driven cloud management strategy that meets your organization’s unique requirements. The infrastructure, operations and applications you put in place will be central to achieving your business goals.

It is important to note that cloud management is a continuous process that requires careful planning and commitment. You need to test application and infrastructure performance continually and monitor metrics, for example, to ensure the cloud is meeting business demands and your enterprise is staying current.

Planning multicloud management tooling

A cloud management tooling plan is an essential part of a cloud management strategy with the fast-expanding number of applications across multiple cloud infrastructures. It is central to selecting and deploying the most suitable tools for your requirements. As Gartner points out, the aim is to minimize the number of tools to do the job well. A well-thought-out strategy should include a combination of solutions based on cross-platform consistency and platform-specific functionality.

The tools, however, are only as good as those that use them. IT teams must have the knowledge and best practices in place to harvest the maximum information from their output.

Dealing with cloud sprawl

Due to the skills drought and resourcing issues, many organizations are finding it difficult to manage their growing cloud estate.

Instead of attempting to rein back control, they are turning to trusted partners to get end-to-end visibility of their clouds. This approach frees up IT teams to focus on business-generating projects. Orange Cloud Management tools, for example, together with a single pane of glass on processes, provide visibility on cloud spend, performance and the end-user experience.

Visibility is the key to cloud success

Organizations often say that the easiest part of their multicloud journey was the deployment. Management is where the pain kicks in. The bad news is that cloud management is not going to get any easier. The good news is that if you have complete visibility of your cloud environment from the beginning, you will be on track to harvest the business benefits that the cloud has promised.

Deploying, optimizing and managing a multicloud strategy requires great technical maturity, which is where a trusted partner comes in. Find out how we can help you get the most from your cloud investment here.

Jan Howells

Jan has been writing about technology for over 22 years for magazines and web sites, including ComputerActive, IQ magazine and Signum. She has been a business correspondent on ComputerWorld in Sydney and covered the channel for Ziff-Davis in New York.