The Right Tools to Manage Your Hybrid Cloud Environment Effectively
Complexity can challenge IT teams as they combine public and private clouds, but management tools can help to maintain control.
- by Yakov Prokoshin
- Cloud Client Executive | February 26, 2019
Hybrid cloud deployments are growing in popularity for a reason: They allow organizations to gain the benefits of public cloud computing while maintaining the control of their own private clouds.
But maintaining a private cloud is a technical challenge, and integrating public clouds with a private cloud greatly increases the complexity. This challenge is exacerbated for many organizations by a wide array of constantly evolving applications and supporting technologies. Managing the whole thing can tax the skills of even the most advanced IT teams.
Effective management of a hybrid cloud requires organizations to design solutions for simplicity and scalability, adopt tools that streamline management, and work with either internal or external talent that possesses the knowledge and experience to support and improve the environment over time.
Cloud Management Platforms
As cloud environments have grown more complex, numerous single-pane-of-glass cloud management platforms have sprung up in the marketplace to help organizations improve visibility and control over their cloud resources. These platforms are especially important for organizations that take a multicloud approach, as manual management processes almost always become cumbersome and inefficient as hybrid environments grow in complexity.
Organizations have a wide array of options when selecting a platform, with vendors such as Microsoft, Google, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), RightScale, CloudBolt and others all offering cloud management software. These platforms frequently include the following features:
- Multicloud management: Many cloud management platforms can facilitate interoperability among clouds, allowing applications built for one environment to operate on others without additional code.
- Automation: Cloud management software can programmatically manage applications that require repetitive tasks.
- Future proofing: Because cloud computing continues to evolve, it is important for any cloud management platform to be able to keep up with IT innovations.
- Cost management: A cloud management product will provide cost reporting, forecasting and showback. This is important not only because costs can spiral when they aren’t closely monitored, but also because IaaS pricing can fluctuate frequently. Management software can automatically track pricing trends to keep organizations from overspending.
Hybrid Architecture and Management Best Practices
Cloud management platforms give more visibility and control to IT administrators while also automating a number of tasks, but they can’t substitute for careful planning and the ongoing implementation of best practices. This starts with a careful and objective assessment of an organization’s existing infrastructure. If this step is given insufficient attention, IT leaders may not learn until late in the process that certain workloads aren’t a good fit for their model — setting themselves up for cost and management headaches down the road.
Next, organizations must create guidelines and policies to determine whether an application is placed in a private or public cloud, considering factors such as performance, regulatory requirements and geographic restrictions. Many organizations have found that implementing their hybrid cloud in stages leads to a more successful deployment (which, in turn, fosters trust and buy-in from executive leaders, end users and customers). Often, this means building out a private cloud first, and initially selecting a small number of applications and workloads to migrate to private and public clouds.
During this early stage, an organization may try multiple cloud vendors, and then either pick the best fit or use several providers in a multicloud environment. This testing will not only help organizations to determine the best public cloud for their workloads but may also reveal issues with critical hybrid cloud components, such as the network. For example, a hybrid cloud implementation can lead to a spike in the amount of encrypted traffic that application networking solutions need to address.
For most organizations, manually addressing these new demands will lead to inefficiencies. For example, some IT leaders estimate that load balancers are overprovisioned by up to 80 percent in large-scale hybrid cloud environments due to fears about demand outstripping capacity. These inefficiencies can be avoided through automation tools, such as next-generation load-balancing solutions that use analytics for predictive autoscaling.
Through careful assessments, meticulous testing, appropriate policies and automation solutions, organizations can avoid a number of cloud management problems.
To learn more about how to optimize your hybrid cloud deployment, read the CDW white paper “Managing the Hybrid Cloud.”