These capabilities become even more critical when an organization operates in a multi-cloud environment. It is exceedingly difficult for companies to keep abreast with the constant changes in pricing, service offerings and capabilities, and invoicing complexities across multiple cloud providers.
IT organizations can take advantage of commercial constructs that tie applicable portions of support costs to cloud provider utilization through percent-of-spend consumption models. Risk of incurring cost increases can be managed through gainshare models for ongoing optimization activities. In addition, IT should educate developers and application owners that the flexibility of the cloud requires constant inspection and awareness of cloud consumption to control costs. By creating awareness and accountability based on actual consumption, the business can take advantage of innovation while also helping IT control its cloud provider spend.
4. Cloud security management
Although how data is secured in the cloud is continually changing as cloud provider capabilities evolve, a core set of standard security functions need to be in place and managed in every cloud environment. Deployment of advanced security services needs to be considered based on data classification and regulatory requirements. Opportunities to optimize the cost of providing these security services through cloud provider native capabilities should continually be evaluated. It is essential that the new operating model and managed cloud provider adhere to regulatory and compliance requirements and augment security controls with cloud-native capabilities.
5. Cloud management platform
To enable cloud management, optimization and consumption management, we advise organizations to no longer think in terms of “tools” that manage a set of given infrastructure but rather in terms of a “platform” that manages a hybrid set of cloud components (public, private and legacy). This platform should evolve over time as cloud innovation expands and delivers new opportunities to drive technology and business value.
A cloud management platform should deliver on three primary capabilities:
- It must operate across a complex, multi and hybrid cloud estate that includes legacy and private cloud environments, along with multiple public cloud providers. Having a single control plane across the entire estate is critical for auditing the journey to cloud and maximizing its effectiveness.
- For cloud optimization, the cloud management platform must deliver on usage data, cloud tagging, monitoring of new services, and predictive analytics, to name just a few functions. To support cloud spend management, the cloud management platform must provide billing analytics, cloud credit optimization, price simulation and market comparison data.
- The platform needs to evolve over time. As public cloud providers evolve and bring innovation to the market, a cloud management platform must be able to embed this innovation on an ongoing basis or, at minimum, not hinder or limit its use by developers.
Putting it all together
To continuously optimize the management of your cloud environment, look to focus on four sets of activities:
One of the reasons that a public cloud implementation can deliver such a high level of automation is because of its focus on standardization. The standardization of the service catalog is needed to automate and industrialize services. Thus, it is important to bring this same level of standardization when building a private cloud. With a well-defined set of service options for compute, storage, and networking, companies can effectively automate and operate a private cloud to behave similarly to a public one.
Create an agile cloud operating model
Companies need to rethink and reinvent their operating model to address the challenges of Agile, cloud, and software-defined infrastructure. The operating model must be able to
- Shift the focus and structure the organization around services.
- Address multi-speed delivery.
- Provide governance across the business, technology and operations organizations.
Transform and upskill the organization
Cloud and Agile both require a completely new set of skills that are not easy to find in the market. For example, operators of the future will no longer be “eyes on glass.” They will be developers writing the next data ingestion, analytics algorithms, visualizations and automations. It is critical to develop comprehensive programs to re-skill your workforce to operate in Agile and cloud.
Use hyper-automation platforms and tools
Platforms and tools are at the heart of cloud. To meet the growing demands of the business, an IT organization cannot scale simply by throwing people at the problem. That approach is too costly and difficult to execute and will not provide a path to agility and operational efficiency. Instead, companies should tap into the power of applied intelligence—using analytics, automation and artificial intelligence to improve and optimize how the company operates. A new cloud and Agile operating model, coupled with the increased use of tools and platforms for analytics, automation, and AI—collectively referred to as “AIOps”—is becoming core to how we drive agility, operational efficiencies, and cost savings as we rotate to “New IT.”
Conclusion: Improving your cloud business case
Operating in the cloud typically means that a company will spend over two-thirds of its budget creating cloud solutions and roughly one-third managing them. This has been the case for legacy and private cloud estates. With advancements in automation and analytics, the cost of managing estates (and particularly those in the cloud) has significantly decreased.
Unfortunately, this decrease has mistakenly led companies to not question adequately enough how much they are spending in the cloud. In some cases, ignoring this factor causes companies to spend more in the cloud than they previously were in their legacy estates, with obvious negative repercussions for the overall business case.
By “running different”—combining cloud managed services, optimization capabilities and consumption management, all powered by AIOps—organizations can drive an improved business case across their infrastructure estate by reducing the cost of managing the environment and of the estate itself while unleashing the full business potential of cloud.