Hybrid Cloud Management Challenges
The benefits of the cloud—reduced costs, greater IT flexibility, and more—are well-established. But now many organizations are moving to hybrid cloud management platforms. While hybrid clouds do offer a greater level of flexibility, control and security, they can also be enormously complex to manage. Recognizing the need to bring consistency and simplify operations of all on-prem and cloud landscapes, service management, monitoring, security and operations tool vendors have accelerated their efforts to update their products with features that can to greater degree minimize these challenges.
Here’s a closer look at five of the biggest hybrid cloud management challenges—and what your organization can do to overcome them.
1. Integration: Integrating private and public clouds so they behave and operate as a cohesive entity is one of the biggest hybrid cloud management obstacles. Recognizing that not all applications or systems and their dependencies will end up residing in the cloud and/or on-premises environments, understanding the patterns and tools required to move processes can be a daunting challenge for even the most seasoned cloud technicians. Adding to this complexity is the integration of legacy systems with cloud computing. Creating the infrastructure to manage this integration is far easier said than done, especially if hundreds of applications are involved.
2. Management and Monitoring: Most public cloud providers have native management and monitoring tools. Some of these are available through external facing API services. However, these need to be integrated with on-premises existing monitoring and management tools. Since customers do not want two run their environments with two set of tools, vendors of these on-premises tools are now feverishly striving to integrate public cloud providers into their products. However, integrating public cloud services into existing support procedures requires serious effort and expertise.
3. Network Design: Network latency and one of the primary factors when deciding how a system is optimized to run in hybrid cloud. An efficient hybrid cloud model must have excellent network design. Organizations need to account for various factors such as network bandwidth, management between public and private clouds, the impact of location on HQ and branch networks, the network requirements for each individual application, the security requirements of different types of data, Data Leakage Prevention and numerous other factors. Different sets of applications also need to operate in different parts of your cloud environment. Understanding the scalability requirements of each application will influence your network and infrastructure design. Finally, you must understand the limitations of public clouds when it comes to networking and then develop strategies to work around this.
4. Security and Compliance: The threat of a data breach or loss is possibly the most serious challenge when it comes to managing a hybrid cloud environment. The transfer of sensitive data needs to be strictly controlled via policies and procedure, together with network security. Existing security controls such as identity and access management need to be seamlessly expended in both private and public clouds. This can be done by replicating controls in both clouds, or by using a single identity management service for both public and private clouds.
Ensuring compliance with government regulatory bodies and industry standards on the handling of sensitive data, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act, is another critical consideration for hybrid cloud adoption. Establishing comprehensive compliance in one cloud is difficult enough, but hybrid clouds introduce additional complexities. To ensure compliance, the components of a hybrid cloud model should be evaluated as completely separate environments, as well as a holistic environment. It’s also important to note that both security and compliance should be an early consideration in the implementation process, as adopting them at a later stage could prove disastrous, not to mention expensive.
5. Hybrid Governance: A governance structure needs to frame important considerations when dealing with cloud network access, on-demand services, resource pooling, and rapid elasticity. Start by putting in place practices to govern task automation. It’s also important to develop communication and training methods to effectively inform employees and other users.
The good news is that a variety of tools can be used to make hybrid cloud management easier.
For instance, a cloud management tool with native cloud APIs can function as a single pane of glass across all your providers, making infrastructure truly hybrid.
These tools and platforms can also help your organization better monitor activity, analyze utilization, and manage SLAs across departments and cloud platforms. At the end of the day, the right tools can help turn your cloud management obstacles into amazing business opportunities.
By Fahim Khan
Fahim Khan is an accomplished management consultant and IT executive, working with global Fortune 100 companies within a wide variety of industries. He currently serves as Global Head of Cloud Transformation Solutions at Brillio. As a multi-specialty practitioner, Khan is unique in bringing a breadth and depth of experience working through complex and competitive business and technology challenges.