Digital transformation is leading to greater adoption of cloud technology and while this brings many benefits, enterprises also need to be aware of the challenges involved in cloud management, such as performance, expertise, security, portability and cost. Here, we will give an insight into these five management challenges and look at ways to overcome them.
Enterprises should expect optimal performance from any applications they move to the cloud and this is reliant on the services of the public cloud provider. To prevent issues caused by inconsistent performance, it is essential to choose a vendor that can guarantee high-availability and which has the tools in place to monitor performance.
Any contract a company enters should include a Service Level Agreement (SLA) which gives a guarantee of the resources and services it will receive. To ensure this happens, enterprises should have management tools of their own to track performance. This way they can ensure the vendor meets its obligations.
Cloud environments are different from self-hosted datacentres and this can mean enterprises have gaps in IT expertise when it comes to managing their cloud-based services. This is becoming more apparent as the rapid pace of digital transformation causes organisations to move more workloads to the cloud – which itself is undergoing constant technological change.
Enterprises face a number of challenges, including how to use cloud management platforms, agile development methodologies, integrate cloud and on-site systems and how to work with the various cloud tools, like DevOps, AI and machine learning, now at their disposal. Additionally, the move towards web-scale development will require IT staff who specialise in specific fields to gain wider expertise in areas such as operations, admin and coding.
Managing this requires training to give existing IT staff the skills they require; however, to fill essential gaps, enterprises should also consider the recruitment of new staff with cloud experience or buying in third-party specialists. Alternatively, there is the option of bespoke IT solutions from the cloud provider which would know the environment better than anyone else.
Security is a major challenge for all enterprises and migrating to a cloud environment brings a new layer of responsibilities. Public cloud networks are, in the main, exceptionally secure and robustly protected. Vendors have to comply with stringent regulations and international standards and face significant fines and reputational damage if security is lacking. To ensure security, therefore, they employ a wide range of advanced security tools and implement comprehensive policies and procedures to keep customers safe.
The biggest cloud security challenge is faced by organisations wanting to develop on-site private cloud environments and which lack the expertise and tools that public cloud vendors have at their disposal. Developing an on-site private cloud means the organisation is fully responsible for managing data security and regulatory compliance. It will need to decide which tools to use and learn how to use, manage and maintain them effectively. Finance, training and resources, together with the complexities of managing the security of multiple cloud services make private cloud security a challenge for many enterprises.
The way enterprises use the cloud is changing. Today, many use a multi-cloud approach, placing different workloads with different public cloud service providers. They may, for example, store data with a vendor that charges the least for storage while running a critical application with a vendor that has specialist expertise with that particular app.
As organisations may want to quickly move workloads from one vendor to another, it is important to avoid vendor lock-in – a situation where the enterprise is so tied to the architecture and tools of one vendor, it becomes impractical to move.
To move between cloud environments, the new cloud provider needs to be able to replicate the environment where the application was previously hosted. Today, this is far easier to do as standards bodies, industry consortiums and vendor collaborations are developing technologies which enable app interoperability. Technologies, such as containers, enable applications and their operating environments to be quickly moved, though there may still be compatibility issues that need to be addressed.
When choosing a vendor, enterprises should look carefully at the terms of the contract to ensure that there are no contractual reasons that tie them to the service provider long term.
Cloud migration offers enterprises both significant savings and cost-effectiveness. There are no capital expenditure costs for hardware nor the associated overheads for running it. Considering the amount of IT resources companies may require, the savings here can be significant.
Additionally, cost-effectiveness is achieved through the operation of the cloud’s pay as you go charging structure. With the ability to limitlessly scale resources up or down on demand, organisations will only ever pay for what they use. However, as they migrate more workloads to the cloud and collect increasing quantities of data, the costs can rise over time, as can vendor fees.
To manage the cost of using the cloud, many companies now deploy a cloud usage analytics platform. This can help them discover where resources are being used unnecessarily and help them find more effective ways to manage their workloads.
Cloud migration brings enterprises a range of important benefits: reduced capital expenditure, cost-effective scalability, high availability and access to advanced technologies like AI, machine learning, IoT and data analytics. To prevent problems arising during and after migration, the challenges mentioned here must be considered as part of any migration plan.
For information about managed IT solutions, including cloud, visit Hyperslice.com.