Managing a Multiple Cloud System: Go It Alone or Get a Partner?
It has been a while since the only major factor in choosing a cloud services provider was the application or development environment that would be implemented. For most modern businesses, running multiple implementations of multiple applications–often across multiple clouds–has become the norm. This can actually lead to increased levels of complexity, rather than the simplification that cloud services are meant to provide. It is important to carefully choose a partner to help manage those services.
For those with experience managing a locally hosted application, managing cloud-based applications isn’t particularly difficult in and of itself. Many of the required skills and common processes transfer seamlessly. If the company’s cloud implementation is simple, in-house management is certainly a feasible solution.
With every new cloud environment that enters the mix, however, the complexity increases exponentially. Not only is it necessary to learn the operation of each environment, but also the myriad ways in which they need to interact with each other. Keeping track of all that is a full time job. In such a situation, the merits of specialist outsourcing are readily apparent.
Safe and Sound
Two of the commonly touted advantages of cloud services are security–largely thanks to point-to-point encryption–and disaster recovery, thanks to easier backup procedures and the simplicity of re-routing network traffic. Point-to-point encryption is a wonderful thing, but multiple clouds mean a greatly increased number of points that, in turn, someone has to monitor.
Likewise, disaster recovery is much faster and easier in the cloud, but when resources are spread over multiple systems, someone needs to know not just what must come back up and in what order, but where all the parts of each service, application, or data set are.
The Bottom Line
The most important factor is often cost–or in this case, billing. The vast majority of cloud services billing is consumption-based, which can result in some surprising invoices at the end of a billing cycle. When the different pricing models of each cloud and variable usage of a multi-cloud environment are factored in, it can become all but impossible to produce consistent or even predictable costs. There are tools that can help with this, but for many businesses the best tool is a services management partner that specializes in multi-cloud management.
When deciding whether to bring on a management partner to help with cloud services or to go it alone, it comes down to whether the organization can devote the personnel and resources required to properly manage the services in-house. That decision depends on the complexity of the system.