Organizations are adopting cloud computing to accelerate service delivery. Some try to deliver cloud economies of scale in their private data centers with the mantra “automate everything,” a philosophy often simpler in theory than practice. Others have opted to leverage public cloud resources for the added benefit of the pay-as-you-go model but are finding it difficult to keep costs in check. Regardless of approach, cloud technology poses the same challenge IT has faced for decades: how to assure application performance while minimizing costs.
Within this new territory, however, a number of trends take addressing this problem to heightened levels of complexity and difficulty:
- Cloud computing and self-service portals increase the speed, frequency, and volume of changes to a given environment. A recent report by McKinsey found that cloud-savvy leaders can provision x86 servers in a private cloud within 60 minutes, or in a public cloud within 30 minutes - gone are the days where a lead time of days or weeks was acceptable.
- Public clouds offer speed and elasticity but come with the challenge of controlling the cost overruns. Too often, developers and applications teams will spin up cloud instances faster than what IT can deliver in private cloud. This “Shadow IT” results in unknown, unmanaged, and often abandoned cloud resources, which cause surprising spikes in overall spend. Accordingly, RightScale’s 2017 State of the Cloud Survey reports that optimizing costs in the cloud is the top initiative for surveyed organizations.
- Containers and microservice architectures allow (with extensive automation) development teams to push small, but numerous, changes to parts of their applications rapidly and repeatedly. Netflix, for example, has enabled its developers to launch hundreds of software changes a day. Enhanced speed is made possible, but with it come exponentially more moving pieces in the environment.
- Multiple technologies are a given – multiple clouds will soon follow. “Heterogeneous” is no longer just about multiple hypervisors, databases, or storage flavors in an environment, but multiple environments, whether on-premises, in a cloud, or across multiple clouds. For example, the RightScale Survey cited above also found that 85 percent of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy. Can your organization afford to have a different approach for performance-cost management for every workload and every cloud?
It quickly becomes apparent that the self-service enabled by cloud computing and the microservice application architectures made possible by containers create highly dynamic environments with more moving parts. At the same time, the industry offers a multitude of technologies, clouds, and payment models for IT to service their business and control costs.
Every organization is different, as are their choices about what solutions best suit them. IT is now managing more heterogeneous environments than ever—and naturally, that heterogeneity extends to clouds.
These trends make assuring application performance while maximizing efficiency considerably more challenging. What’s more, this challenge is ushered in by an era in which enterprises are becoming technology companies as a matter of competitive advantage. IT is under greater pressure to both facilitate and support this rapid development, therefore leveraging cloud technologies with rapidly increasing adoption as a response; Morgan Stanley’s AlphaWise CIO Survey predicts that by the end of 2020, 49% of application workloads will reside in the public cloud (up from 19% in 2017).
The complexity of infrastructure management has been increasing exponentially since inception. Virtualization pushed it to new limits. Today, cloud and cloud native technologies do the same, but at even greater scale.
It's time to rethink your approach to IT. The goal of IT is to achieve rapid service delivery and unparalleled performance while simultaneously minimizing costs. No matter where you are in terms of IT maturity, however, leveraging software to enable environments to self-manage has benefits from day one and as you progress towards IT service excellence, transforming the experience of leaders, administrators, and end-users.
Check out our eBook to learn about the five stages of IT maturity and how no matter where an organization exists today, adopting an autonomic approach that allows workloads to self-manage on any infrastructure or cloud can help!