Cloud migration poses a number of complex issues which are quickly outpacing the ability of most organizations to manage it effectively. Many have migrated into new environments rapidly but are now facing the challenges and complexities of managing fast-growing applications and infrastructure in the public cloud.
Challenges such as governance, security, talent management, cost and vendor lock-in are some of the biggest roadblocks on the path to comprehensive cloud management. Plus, with the fast-and-furious pace of workloads, cloud adoption can quickly go from a dream IT initiative into a nightmare of out-of-control costs, a lack of adherence to internal policies and controls, reliability challenges, and, in the worst cases, data breaches and regulatory fines.
One trailblazer in this space is Joe Kinsella, CTO and Founder of CloudHealth Technologies and we recently had an exclusive interview with him during the acquisition of his firm by VMWare. The cloud services management company is touting a new tagline, "Better Together." referring to taking the best of virtualization and cloud and coupling it with what CloudHealth does best.
They help customers by automating cloud management, finding unattached volumes and also making recommendations on the best instance type.
Joe says they have 3,800 customers, 140 partners and he said, " We let enterprises fulfill business transformation."
He further explained, they allow partners to provide repeatable services such as migration, assessment, cost-management and government. They are managing six-billion dollars of cloud spend.
He explained the VMWare acquisition gives them first-mover advantage in the enterprise space and he expects more big players making moves - referring to likely acquisitions.
In terms of the biggest mistakes he sees, it is the decentralized nature of cloud adoption where companies could have 600-700 Amazon accounts on various credit cards. Some organizations have 1,200 teams using cloud. This gave the teams innovation and agility. This freed these organizations from the shackles of slower moving data centers but caused consequences like security issues.
He said, "These data exposures can put you on the front page of the Wall Street Journal." He further explained, lack of central management causes budget overruns and potentially SLA issues.
With central management, he explained, teams can govern the use of cloud, ensure best practices are being met, implement proactive monitoring as well as compliance and reference architectures. In addition, companies get security, resilience and better performance.
We asked about initiatives like at WalMart where suppliers are "encouraged" to leave the Amazon cloud and he explained, their cloud migration recommendation feature allows for "what if" analysis. The tool understands how applications perform, how much network capacity is needed, CPU bursts and memory needed at peak volumes.
Another question we asked was about security and forgetting that Amazon clouds need to be secured. We have seen a few reports of researchers finding some of these servers. His response was their security compliance would help catch such issues.
He proposes decentralized management with centralized governance. he explained that one of his customers launches and shuts down 10-15,000 VMs per day! "Who did this before? he exclaimed."
He said, "The relationship is ephemeral, changing the way we think of applications." He continued, "This amplifies the pace of change."
What is the future of cloud?
Joes sees it this way. Each of the following depend on the bullet below it - think of them as tiers of a sandwich:
- Business Services
Cloud is disrupting infrastructure but now the entire sandwich gets disrupted but durability and performance must be maintained. He says, smart software will configure and operate this. "This is where AI and ML come in," he exclaimed.
Business service management will understand the context around business outcome and orchestrate the lower-level components to make this happen.
The bottom line is intelligent orchestration will continue to move up the tiers to ensure businesses are able to rely on services across clouds and they will be configured and managed in an automated fashion.
Edited by Erik Linask