The IT spending on the cloud has been on a massive increase post-COVID-19 crisis owing to the host of benefits that the cloud brings to the table.
Gartner estimates that as organizations adopt hybrid work models, the IT spending that is shifting to the cloud will increase. The cloud will make up an estimated 14.2% of the total global enterprise IT spending market in 2024 (up from 9.1% in 2020)!
Adopting cloud computing in the business world is now a no-brainer. The cloud brings to the table optimized resource utilization, cost savings, and agility amongst a host of other benefits. Cloud-based frameworks are essential, especially now, to drive the anytime-anywhere work environment, enable collaboration between dispersed teams, and improve productivity by driving availability.
The cloud’s value proposition has been further validated by the pandemic as organizations looked for systems and technologies that enable business continuity. The on-demand, scalable cloud models are critical enablers of business transformation, a transformation that is imperative to accommodate the new normal.
Read: Cloud is Not Necessarily Cheaper, But You Should Go to the Cloud Anyway
Given the host of benefits, most organizations having some form of cloud presence today. However, when it comes to maximizing the benefits of the cloud, robust cloud management becomes imperative. Here are a few things about cloud management that organizations must know of.
What is cloud management?
The flexibility and cost advantage provided by the cloud has seen enterprise IT deploy more and more applications to the cloud. However, along with this came a few questions:
- How to streamline the security monitoring process of all these applications and services?
- How to maintain compliance with assurance especially in the wake of stringent regulatory policies like PCI DDS and GDPR?
- How to get clear visibility into the utilization of cloud assets and get more clarity on operational and security status?
- How to ensure interoperability and also manage cloud costs?
The answers to these and other such associated questions rest in cloud management.
Cloud management is how organizational administrators control and orchestrate all the products and services that reside in the public, private or hybrid cloud infrastructures. It is the centralized administration of an organization’s infrastructure and servers, data storage, network platforms, servers and applications, and more. Resource deployment, data integration, disaster recovery, and use tracking all fall under the purview of cloud management.
What cloud management is not
Cloud management provides a layer of simplicity over complex cloud environments. It helps in enabling scalability and speed of business and drives productivity and eventually profitability.
However, cloud management is often confused with cloud computing. These are not interchangeable terms. Cloud computing refers to the delivery of cloud services over the cloud. It provides the rules of engagement to the organization. Cloud management, on the other hand, is the process through which these rules are executed. It ensures that the virtual resource pool of applications, services, and storage can be accessed on-demand.
Cloud management thus becomes an amalgamation of software, automation, policies, governance frameworks, and people to determine how to optimize cloud computing services.
Why do you need cloud management?
Cloud technology is constantly changing, especially with advances such as Containers and Kubernetes. As cloud computing changes, cloud management has to adapt to these changes to make sure the benefits of the cloud are never impacted.
The lack of cloud management makes the cloud unhealthy and impedes the organization’s ability to optimize operations. In its absence, organizations cannot simplify the complex cloud environment and end up with symptoms such as high cloud bills, lack of transparency on resource allocation, usage and costs, compromised security, and poor audit and governance. Inability to protect assets against vulnerabilities, data loss, and downtimes are also side effects of ignoring cloud management.
What skills does cloud management need?
Along with the basic technical skills, organizations need to have strong cloud expertise to optimize cloud management.
The true potential of the cloud cannot be achieved by hosting it like a data center. An understanding of the kind of applications/processes/services that are hosted, their technical dependencies, performance goals, etc. help in designing robust management strategies that ensure secure, anytime-anywhere availability. Some of the key required skills include
- Expertise in designing robust cloud strategies including elements like Cloud Readiness assessment, security roadmap, etc.
- Experience in designing strategies to make the transition to the cloud smoother
- Experience in cloud-to-cloud movement, workload migration, validation, and performance testing, operations run books, etc. to ensure a successful, cost-effective transition with zero business impact.
Further having deep domain expertise is also important as this makes cloud management much smarter and effective. Domain expertise gives insights into the workings of an industry and helps in proactively determining trends and their influences on IT and the organization. With this knowledge, organizations can determine which applications should be moved to the cloud, how to optimize performance, where to introduce automation, and where to implement new-age technologies like AI.
Read: How to Build Rock-Solid Cloud Strategy
Cloud management is essential for cloud optimization
Cloud management enables organizations to manage their entire technology estate across the clouds in use. As such, it is only with cloud management that organizations can optimize the cloud.
The cloud is built for scalability and has the infinite ability to scale up or down. However, it is this flexibility that often impedes organizations from using the cloud most efficiently. Organizations have to get the full picture and gain visibility into costs and usage patterns to optimize usage across the cloud and business application ecosystem. With cloud management, organizations can identify and assign appropriate resources to appropriate workloads or applications and ensure high availability and performance.
Which cloud challenges does cloud management solve?
Strong cloud management capabilities are essential to keep cloud assets safe from attacks and vulnerabilities, downtime, and data loss. Some of the challenges that arise in the cloud are:
- Lack of complete visibility into multi-cloud environments. This can cause instances of shadow IT, and also lead to security concerns. It also becomes difficult to measure and manage usage.
- Interoperability issues that emerge from vendor lock-ins and impede the organization’s ability to migrate in and out of cloud services.
- Cloud costs can increase and become prohibitive in the absence of robust cloud management. It is essential to have strong cloud experience to automate policies for governance, having solid risk reports and remediation plans along with trends and forecast reporting.
- Difficulty in driving smooth cloud migration that is fast, cost-effective, and has a minimal business impact. Expertise in cloud migration services is essential to enable smooth cloud to cloud movement, easy migration of workloads, smooth validation, and performance testing.
- Challenges in managing multi-cloud environments owing to the complexities such environments bring. Having strong cloud cost management strategies, automation, auto-scaling capabilities, and other tools and strategies can ease off some of these issues.
- Data security and privacy are also essential priorities that can be challenging for organizations to manage. Implementing the right security applications, encrypted file systems, etc. prevent instances of a cloud attack. Adopting tight security protocols and having the right measures in place to boost data security, coupled with clear insights on disaster recovery tests make cloud management easier.
The primary attractions of the cloud are cost savings, scalability, modernization opportunities, easy DevOps adoption, and more. In the wake of the increasing competitiveness of a dynamic market, the cloud gives organizations the agility they need to remain competitive and innovate fast. However, the true benefits of the cloud emerge only with strong cloud management capabilities – only then, organizations can generate true value from cloud investments.