Navigating Friction in the Cloud
Things in the IT and DevOps departments are getting a little testy...
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As more businesses leverage the unique capabilities of hybrid cloud technology, widespread challenges have emerged around managing hybrid cloud operations. In fact, recent research from the Ponemon Institute on how public, private and hybrid cloud infrastructures and emerging application container environments are being managed found that 70 percent of businesses have little visibility into the purpose or ownership of the virtual machines in their hybrid cloud environments. Sixty-eight percent of businesses lack a single user interface to view their entire cloud environment and 62 percent struggle to optimize IT capacity based on unknown utilization, visibility, and predictability. What’s more, 57 percent are increasing their business risks by violating policies about where digital assets can reside.
In short, it’s become increasingly difficult to reap any of the benefits hybrid cloud technology can provide without sacrificing visibility, control and costs. To overcome this dilemma, businesses need a new operational approach: one that marries traditional IT (i.e. the team or operations that prioritize governance and control) with the more modern concept of DevOps (i.e. an Agile team or approach that prioritizes speed when it comes to cloud provisioning). By successfully merging these two methodologies, hybrid cloud management can be simplified, the general ability to deliver IT projects on schedule and on budget can be improved, and overall IT service quality can be maintained.
How to Marry Traditional IT with DevOps
Merging traditional IT operations with DevOps isn’t always easy, though. Friction can quickly arise as IT teams, who are used to calling all the shots, may find themselves upstaged or even threatened by the relatively new and shiny appeal of DevOps. Additional bickering can ensue as IT teams tend to seek the consistency of cloud automation tools but only with adequate control, while DevOps teams care less about control and more about infrastructure speed and agility. Traditional change management and security practices do not work with DevOps, as these practices are too slow to react and instead act as an impediment to the velocity and agility demanded by developers and businesses. Furthermore, a basic lack of resources and general application complexity can serve as additional barriers to successfully marrying traditional IT with DevOps.
The key, then, is to appease both IT and DevOps teams by moving away from relying solely on traditional cloud management platforms, which were designed for managing legacy applications focused on a subset of virtual machines and infrastructure-centric capabilities.
Instead, businesses should embrace the features of next-generation cloud management platforms, which incorporate the benefits of traditional platforms (like provisioning automation, workflow orchestration, self-service, cloud governance, single pane of glass visibility, capacity rightsizing and cost management) while also reducing the friction and complexity associated with hybrid cloud management necessities, such as microservices, containers, serverless applications and the adoption of DevOps.
Next Generation Cloud Management Platform Benefits
The solution to this is to be proactive about using technology that marries IT and DevOps, specifically a next-generation CMP that can codify and automate the activities of security teams and compliance requirements, so it becomes baked-in, instead of being a reactionary afterthought. This frees up experienced security, audit, and change management teams to worry about higher order problems rather than the mundane and error-prone task of reviewing changes and trying to spot vulnerabilities and violations in a sea of otherwise valuable changes.
By leveraging next-generation CMP technology, businesses can gain the ability to support both their existing cloud application infrastructures and the ever-changing needs of any future environments. The technology’s governance capabilities maintain the integrity and optimize the cost of building, testing, running and decommissioning cloud applications without impacting the speed of business, and automation and orchestration capabilities eliminate error-prone manual tasks while also improving the performance of applications through process orchestration and cloud-native API consumption.
No matter a business’s size or particular vertical, managing multiple cloud workloads can be risky and expensive. Influence over cloud management and DevOps strategy is usually too dispersed throughout an organization, and a lack of service request and lifecycle management, as well as limited visibility into resource utilization, metering, and monitoring, can further contribute to hybrid cloud management complexity. DevOps and microservices enablement capabilities within next generation cloud management platforms can directly address these critical issues, and for businesses using a “cloud brokered” consumption model for accessing IaaS/PaaS public cloud resources, the technology can also serve as a seamless intermediary between end users and public clouds. As more businesses move to a brokered model where individual developers and operations staff interface with a DevOps pipeline rather than directly with the infrastructure, the need for visibility in to and control over processes is critical.
The Road to Becoming “Cloud Native” Is Winding
In the Ponemon Institute’s survey of over 600 business and IT professionals, 85 percent indicated they are solely responsible for managing all or part of their organization’s hybrid cloud operations, with an average budget of approximately $147 million. That’s an enormous responsibility for any single individual to realistically take on, and clearly, maintaining the status quo isn’t working. Case in point: 67 percent of survey participants said they are ineffective at managing cloud risks and 58 percent reported they are ineffective at managing cloud costs. Worse, lagging DevOps and microservice or containers-based enablement are costing the average enterprise $34 million USD per year.
Implementing hybrid cloud infrastructures and becoming a “cloud-native” business is a worthy goal, but the reality is, it’s a long, winding road. Businesses should continue to take advantage of existing cloud management platform capabilities such as provisioning automation, workflow orchestration, self-service, cloud governance, single pane of glass visibility, capacity rightsizing and cost management as they allow IT teams to deliver IaaS and enable value through business agility, operational consistency and efficiency savings. However, to finally overcome the hurdles of hybrid cloud technology and provide corporate governance and compliance to these environments without impeding speed, cost or agility, organizations must also embrace the next generation of cloud management platforms. In doing so, they can successfully marry the priorities and responsibilities of traditional IT with DevOps to ensure a more nimble and scalable future for their business.
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