It’s no wonder the adoption of hybrid cloud is exploding. Hybrid cloud combines the best of both worlds: the integration and optimization of both on-premises private clouds and third-party public clouds to handle the workloads and processes for which each is best suited. It’s becoming more and more clear that, at least from a cloud infrastructure standpoint, we’re going to be living in a hybrid world for the foreseeable future.
As powerful and versatile as a hybrid infrastructure can be, managing such an infrastructure is not without its challenges. In the absence of a robust cloud management platform (CMP), you’ll have to manage each cloud service yourself using each cloud service provider’s toolset. Unfortunately, companies don’t have the in-house expertise or resources to do this.
So, you’ll need a cloud management platform. At the same time, not all cloud management platforms are created equal. For this reason, there are certain criteria you must keep in mind to ensure that you select a CMP that enables you to get the most out of hybrid cloud infrastructure while optimizing your organization’s overall performance.
For best results, any CMP you select should support the following:
Self-service IT and user empowerment
Your cloud management platform needs to empower users to get what they need, when they need it, without having to go through a lengthy and frustrating provisioning process. When devs and others get frustrated, they start spinning up their own servers, which may even continue running unchecked after a project has ended.
Giving users a single, self-service interface let’s them easily manage and provision cloud resources on demand. Since administrators can set provisioning conditions, you can maintain critical controls over your infrastructure even as you provide end users more control over their access to resources.
With the right cloud management platform, there should be no need to learn new, vendor-specific user interfaces.
Having a number of vendor-specific features to choose from can be valuable, but having to grapple with multiple teams from multiple departments attempting to manage and access resources in separate environments is a drain on time, money and resources. You should only have one interface that easily communicates with disparate technologies on the back end, and enables undetectable changeover of technologies without missing a beat.
Brownfield deployment & discovery
Cloud management should never require that you rip and replace existing solutions. Your CMP should integrate with all your existing systems without hassles or workarounds and provide full visibility into your entire IT environment.
Without full visibility into your total ecosystem, it can feel like you’re staring into a dark abyss. You need a solution that can hunt down every last server in your IT environment and deliver a holistic view of both your IT assets and all activity running across them. This is the only way to continuously reallocate and optimize your environment.
Service lifecycle management & orchestration
The speed with which organizations need to deploy software and complex applications continues to accelerate. You need to keep up in order to stay competitive, but you also have to grapple with the entire service lifecycle and ensure a dependable, accurate build that holds up under compliance scrutiny.
With the right cloud management platform, architecting solutions in a repeatable, compliant fashion can be a breeze. The deployment of storage, network, and compute resources across multiple servers and clouds can be automated, replacing lengthy manual processes and ensuring a consistent experience for your end users. And thanks to this automation, you can consistently and repeatably maintain standards of compliance.
Role-based access control & governance
When it comes to resource provisioning, it is crucial to be able to control who gets access to what as well as what they can do with it. Maintaining control via manual processes, as has often been done in the past, is not only inefficient; it’s also prone to user error.
A robust CMP should also rely on automation to remove any complexity and uncertainty from resource provisioning. It can determine ownership of specific resources and automate approvals and configurations so they are triggered based on defined groups and services criteria. Not only does automated, roles-based provisioning benefit end users, it also allows admins to easily maintain a detailed and auditable access history for both on-premises and cloud-based systems.
Centralized management and reporting
Hybrid cloud infrastructures can have a lot of moving parts. And in a large enterprise, these infrastructures can support thousands of users.
Your CMP must be able to control this chaos and provide full visibility into your systems and their users. This requires a single “pane of glass” that can collect data from disparate technologies and provide a centralized view of activities across all environments. The system should also be capable of producing reports revealing true chargeback, showback, and overall cost. As important as these detailed consumption insights can be to senior management, they also improve decision making, budgeting and forecasting for IT admins.
Cost transparency & service health
At the end of the day, when managing a hybrid cloud environment, IT admins need to worry about two things: cost and performance. For this reason, the right CMP should support both cost transparency and insight into service health.
On the cost transparency side, you should be able to quickly identify expensive systems or usage outliers by owner and environment. You should also be able to visualize and compare the relative costs of public and private cloud resources. This will allow you to make sure that at any given time the enterprise is using the most cost-effective cloud for the job.
On the service health side, your CMP should facilitate continuous infrastructure testing, empowering IT to test all aspects of service delivery, including dependent processes and integrations, thus ensuring availability for end-users.
Extensibility for both legacy and future technology
Cloud technologies continue to evolve as do the cloud needs of your organization. This makes it very difficult to predict what sort of services or solutions your CMP will need to support next year, next month and beyond.
For this reason, extensibility is key to the long-term viability of any CMP. That is, your CMP needs to be flexible enough to work with what you have now and adapt to whatever is coming in the future. Extensibility allows you to grow your cloud environment in line with the shifting demands and the expanding possibilities of cloud technology.