According to a recent Forrester Research survey of IT decision makers, two-thirds of those pursuing hybrid IT in their digital transformation quest did so without a comprehensive plan. The result? A chaotic hybrid cloud deployment model that can be costly – not only economically, but also in terms agility and governance.
What causes this haphazard cloud use, and what new tools, processes, and methods are available that help IT leaders reign in their hybrid IT sprawl?
Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, discusses these issues in a recent BriefingsDirect, Voice of the Analyst hybrid IT management strategies. In this podcast, Gardner talks with Rhett Dillingham, Vice President and Senior Analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy, to get his take on multi-cloud sprawl and what can be done to contain it.
Jerry-rigged, multi-cloud management tools aren’t working
Gardner and Dillingham describe how enterprises today are using at least one public cloud and many are using multiple public clouds—in addition to their private infrastructure. Although public cloud deployment has matured over the years, the typical enterprise doesn’t have the tools needed to understand the optimal cloud mix in terms of purchase and consumption options. When you combine that challenge with determining an accurate cost model for private infrastructure, the task can become overwhelming very quickly.
The challenge is how to manage these infrastructures in terms of costs, security, and governance. Commonly available management tools only work on a cloud-by-cloud basis; a single tool that consolidates the management of all resources is hard to find. Although many organizations already have management tools for solving a variety of issues relating to heterogeneous systems, existing toolsets don’t extend to the public cloud.
The enterprise clearly needs better cloud management tools and services. These tools should encompass the entire hybrid infrastructure (aka hybrid estate) – from multiple off-premises, public clouds to numerous on-premises, private clouds. Until these tools or services are deployed, the problem of cloud sprawl will continue to grow.
What’s available now to better manage multi-cloud sprawl?
According to Dillingham, private infrastructure vendors are delivering new management capabilities, but actually managing clouds isn’t where most of them started. The rush to adopt public cloud – and the focus on agility over cost-efficiency – promoted a culture of visibility and reporting, but not governance. Therefore, many of the tools available are better at delivering visibility, instead of the management. Yet both visibility and governance are needed for enterprises to be able to get the most out of their hybrid IT infrastructure.
A number of vendors are innovating in this space. Dillingham gives the example of HPE OneSphere from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). HPE OneSphere is a multi-cloud management solution that delivers visibility and governance capabilities along with the analytics enterprises need to make better cloud decisions.
Managed services are also starting to appear—the next logical step in helping the enterprise gain better management of their multi-cloud chaos. This type of service analyzes and optimizes the enterprise’s footprint across various cloud infrastructures on the basis of agility and cost comparisons.
Managing hybrid IT with tools or services?
Gardner wonders if enterprises should think of cloud management oversight and optimization as a set of services, rather than a product or a tool. He mentions, HPE GreenLake Hybrid Cloud, a new service that delivers cloud-native operations, compliance, financial control, and more for public clouds. “Is that the way to go?” Gardner asks? “Should we think of cloud management oversight and optimization as a set of services, rather than a product or a tool? It seems to me that a set of services, with an ecosystem behind them, is pretty powerful.”
Dillingham explains that he believes in a three layer approach. The first is the multi-cloud infrastructure management tool, whether it is consumed as software or as a service. The second is the professional consultative services around the tool, which helps the enterprise take full advantage of the tool. And the third is a decision on whether you need an operational partner from a managed service provider perspective.
Dillingham explains, this is where “HPE is stepping up and saying we will handle all three of these. We will deliver your tools in various consumption models through a software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery model with HPE OneSphere. And we will operate the services for you beyond that SaaS control portal – into your infrastructure management, across a hybrid footprint with the HPE GreenLake Hybrid Cloud offering. It is very compelling.”
Lots of moving parts. Choose carefully—with a long term view in mind.
Gardner concludes the podcast by asking Dillingham what the end user needs to consider to be successful in a cloud-first organization. With so many moving parts, what things should be top of mind?
Dillingham explains that it’s a complex process – and the enterprise needs a plan that includes many aspects. And that’s where you may want to enlist a professional services partner, to help walk you through the decision-making process. This discussion should include where you want to be in three, five, or even 10 years. The most important aspect to consider, according to Dillingham, is the goal. And this goal needs to be considered with a long term view in mind.
To listen to the complete podcast, click here. To learn more from HPE about managing your multi-cloud environment, check out this link. Read more from Rhett Dillingham on controlling hybrid cloud costs in a recent Forbes article.
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