How Many Clouds Can You Manage

A recent report by s – the IDC MaturityScape for Multicloud Management – found that 90 percent of enterprises surveyed plan to make use of multiple clouds. Their strategy is to match specific workloads and their dependencies to the cost, performance and security levels available from different types of cloud.

A 2016 study by 451 Research found that a third of respondents were working with four or more cloud providers, and the multicloud market is forecast to be worth $240 billion in 2018, according to research by Gartner.

Cloud Management Challenges

While this trend gives organizations greater flexibility in matching workloads to clouds, it can create challenges for IT teams responsible for managing cloud. IDC recommends moving from team or departmental level management silos to a set of reusable, standardized processes, tools and SLAs.

The aim is to develop a structured process that utilizes best practices and standardized tools, as well as leveraging cloud application performance monitoring and analytics.

To help teams move towards an optimum management model, IDC have identified five stages of cloud management maturity, with recommendations for progressing through the stages. The five management stages are:

  • Ad-hoc
  • Opportunistic
  • Repeatable
  • Managed
  • Optimized

Ad-hoc Management

In this environment, individual departments select a cloud model to meet their specific requirements. They manage the service themselves, usually with no structured process, and do not share resources or local best practice with other groups.

From a business perspective, the siloed environment can make it difficult to share data across the organization or scale effectively. As a result, business agility can be limited.

Opportunistic Management

At this stage, individual teams adopt shared best practice and utilize standardized provisioning, configuration and auditing processes. Collaboration between different operations teams leads to higher levels of workflow coordination and development of common operational policies and SLAs.

The business benefits because IT can make cloud resources available faster with an improved, more consistent user experience. The shared experience helps reduce overall costs and helps IT leaders make more informed decisions about investment in skills and management tools.

Repeatable Management

Organizations now recognize the operational and business benefits of implementing well-defined standards and best practices across all clouds. These standards reflect the requirements of all stakeholders. A shared automation platform also helps improve management productivity and consistency.

IT teams can now provision and support complex applications that depend on data and code hosted in multiple clouds. The choice of cloud deployment is now driven by business needs, rather than departmental selection.

Managed Level

At this stage, IT teams have an integrated set of monitoring, reporting and management automation tools that can be used consistently across any cloud deployment. They have the ability to compare and report on usage, costs and performance of each cloud deployment in a consistent way, and that can help them make more informed decisions about workload destinations.

The business now benefits from more consistent application performance across the organizations, as well as improvements in support costs and productivity.

Optimized Management

An optimized management process supports consistent provisioning, configuration and migration across all clouds. Management is now focused on application performance and dynamic capacity management to maintain SLAs at the lowest cost.

For the business, real-time agility and service innovation become a practical reality, enabling better competitive performance through faster digital transformation.

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