Imagine getting on a roller coaster without a passenger safety harness. Instead, you hold on to a bar with your own strength to avoid getting propelled out of your seat. Additionally, when you start going too fast, you have to manually pull the brake lever—hoping that the rest of the riders in the attached cars do the same when it’s necessary. For extreme thrill seekers this might be tempting, but to the rest of us it sounds ridiculous. It would take a lot of practice and a deep understanding of every twist, turn, and climb of the cars to successfully ride this roller coaster without a tragic outcome.
Some organizations are providing this same, roller coaster experience with unguarded access to public clouds for end-users. They’re letting end users get on a ride and hang on for dear life, hoping that they don’t end up in peril. The analogous ride is open access to public cloud resources with a lack of adequate controls and security. Obviously not as tragic as the imagined roller coaster ride, public cloud access is wide open for end users to tempt their fate in infrastructure provisioning that doesn’t go so well. As many organizations are going through rapid digital transformation, they have already had the misfortune of going to some public cloud experiences unprepared.
The Trough of Disillusionment
Rick Kilcoyne, VP Solutions Architecture at CloudBolt applies a phrase, “trough of disillusionment” to describe the hype of new technology. Plenty of marketing provides details on what appears to be a groundswell of adoption of one technology or another available to developers and end users, but it varies greatly to what is really happening on the ground. This is particularly true with plenty of large organizations, including our current customers.
Rick says, “New solutions for serverless, Kubernetes, and Infrastructure as Code [IaC] are on the horizon, but many of our enterprise customers really just need controlled access to specific sets of VMs that have been orchestrated with proper, secure configurations and available as self-service resources.” Furthermore, end users want the complexity configured for them on the backend for predictable, repeated tasks that are standardized rather than having a custom order and fulfillment for each provisioning request.
Enterprise end-users who’ve gained access to public cloud resources for their organization are hopeful to have agile compute power, save money, and deliver digital business solutions faster and some of them do. However, all has not gone so well for a lot of them and central IT is not that thrilled for a number of reasons. For example, check out this article, “5 times when cloud repatriation makes sense”. The race to public cloud resources has reached this trough of disillusionment but does not have to stay that way.
In order to alleviate this issue, consider advancing a cloud control strategy. With this strategy, you put a safety harness on the roller coaster ride of public cloud resources. It also means coordinating the roller coaster ride for everyone who gets in a seat or accesses public cloud resources. Everyone on the ride knows that the resources are controlled and will stop and start at the appropriate times. This also means that the controls will be in place for when newer sets technology are adopted by an organization for Kubernetes, serverless computing, or IaC.
The Before and After of Cloud Control
Consider the following “Before” scenario as symptoms of a not having a good cloud adoption strategy that could be improved by more complete cloud control with outcomes described in the “After” scenario.
Having one or more of the following symptoms indicates a lack of solid cloud controls in place:
- Disparate teams across the organization are accessing public cloud resources independently from:
- The same public cloud provider with multiple accounts that span many different users and team environments
- Competing public cloud providers (for the same or similar resources) without comparing price and functionality across all providers
- IT departments, CFOs, CIOs, and other IT leaders are having “sticker shock” from monthly cloud spending bills
- Security policies such as “least privilege” access have been violated while current and former employees have access to environments without the need
- Very little access to public cloud resources has been granted to the majority of users because current IT policy concludes that it’s just too risky
- Lengthy provisioning processes are still in place because only a small set of users have the expertise to oversee and deliver public cloud resources effectively
Advancing a cloud control strategy provides for the following outcomes:
- Organizations will have one corporate account for each public cloud provider to get the best rates based on the total volume of resources used across the whole organization
- Reserved compute power that has been purchased with big discounts can be shared across teams instead of being stuck and unused for a single team
- IT leaders will have usage and spending visibility across all public cloud provider accounts to make the best decision for which environment matches the specific needs of end users
- IT spending will be controlled from each public cloud environment using:
- Best-venue execution strategies based on cost, performance, and security
- Automated approval processes to speed up provisioning processes
- Guardrails for spending using quotas and limits and right-sizing resources
- Comprehensive scheduling for powering on and off resources efficiently
- Lifecycle management of resources
- Each end-user will have least privilege access to only the resources needed to complete the requirements of their job
- Many more end users will be able to access and use the agility of public cloud resources because they will have controlled access that does not violate security policies or exceed IT budgets
Having complete cloud control means that you’ve implemented a solution like CloudBolt. Your roller coaster ride will be as it should be—exhilarating yet safe.