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7 Challenges of Managing the Cloud

8 December 2022

There’s no doubt that whilst the cloud offers businesses some undeniable benefits with the speed, flexibility and agility allowing IT infrastructure to be scaled to meet business demand, it’s also a major strategic decision and will require extensive changes to how you operate.

Some challenges are foreseeable, others will become apparent as you progress. So, in order to help to demystify what lies ahead, this installment of Vitado’s Cloud Basics series sheds light on the types of challenges that can arise when you begin using the cloud in practice.

1. ‘Seeing’ Everything Cloud Visibility

Like anything, managing public, private or hybrid cloud resources requires visibility – you need to be able to ‘see’ your resources and understand them, to be able to improve the efficient provisioning of resources, control and manage costs, tighten security and maintain strong governance.

Managing cloud is all about ensuring resources meet your needs as efficiently as possible and being able to analyze usage and forecast accurately to lock-in beneficial rates and control costs.

Gaining a complete view across all cloud environments with a multi-cloud management solution will help to make sure that everything is governed correctly and under control. Governance enables you to understand how resources relate to business need; why you need them and who paying.

So, you don’t just need information to be available, you need it in a format that is easily communicable. This is why multi-cloud management software is invaluable in making sense of the complex data available through your vendor portals. With information properly communicated, an organization can ‘see’ what’s happening and potentially about to happen.

Cloud offers businesses increased speed and agility to meet business demand, and so to manage cloud without diminishing these benefits, requires skills and a close collaborative effort across IT infrastructure teams, finance / procurement, leadership and business stakeholders.

The FinOps operating model has been created to address this challenge. Whilst there is still a cloud skills shortage across the industry, new multi-cloud management platforms (CMP) can provide a unified, clear view of your cloud resources across vendors.

2. Multiple Vendor Portals with No Standardization

Not only do you need to select a Public Cloud or Private Cloud Provider, each provider then offers thousands of options and combinations, so it can take a long time to fully understand the implications, best pricing options and resource types for each use case. Its also common to use use more than one vendor and utilize a multi cloud environment to avoid to avoid vendor lock-in.

There is also a lack of commonality across cloud platforms and how they operate, such as differing tagging constraints of each platform (see our Cloud Tagging Pitfalls blog for more info here). Multi-cloud management solutions such as Vitado can again help to combat this by unifying and simplifying management, so the standards you use to identify and organize resources can be designed to be consistent across your cloud environments. This enables you to see resources more holistically, through a single pane of glass solution.

Defining standards requires some knowledge, experience and the authority to change processes. But once done, your cloud asset management solution can help you to identify where your tagging and governance processes have and haven’t been followed. That insight is hugely valuable and helps to make sure that governance and cost management are maintained. (For guidance, we have blogs available such as an introduction to cloud tagging and how to create a future-proof cloud tagging strategy).

3. Forecasting Costs and Creating Budgets

When trying to manage cloud spending, estimates are challenging and can be unpredictable. You’re billed after you’ve used resources, but the rates you pay will depend on how well you can forecast and ‘reserve’ resources in advance, and then it’s incredibly easy to over-spend and under-utilize your investments.

The traditional approaches of provisioning more power than you need to allow for fluctuating demand, gets compounded in the cloud as you’re charged for every bit of that headroom. Therefore, understating what you could possibly need and provisioning resource more closely to demand is essential for cost management, as well as ensuring performance.

4. Accountability – Showbacks and Chargebacks

The strategic move from a traditional Capex / ownership model for IT Infrastructure to Opex / subscription models, can take some adjusting to. On top of this paradigm shift, Cloud bills are extremely granular, often with thousands of line-items that can make the internal processes of cross-charging other departments extremely difficult.

Showback and charge back are important, as it ensures teams have accountability for their cloud spend. When teams are informed and engaged, they are more incentivized to optimize cloud costs.

This again is helped by cloud management tools like Vitado that allow for the visibility of resources to be structured in accordance with the stakeholder – so you can show people the information they require much more easily.

5. Managing Commitment Based Discounts and Incentives

You can take advantage of discounts offered by cloud providers such as ‘reserved instances’ and Azure Savings Plans, which incentivize customers to commit to certain levels of cloud computing resources and in doing so, reduce costs.

The challenge here is making sure you’re not committing to something you don’t require and again, relies on the all-important ability to actively forecast what resources will be required, whilst balancing requirements across the business.

This is where a unifying, multi-cloud cost management solution is essential, as it will provide visibility and clarity over your data to identify trends and forecast with as much accurate information as possible. If a cost jumps up, your focus is directed to investigate and find out why. You can usually estimate next month’s cost from the trajectory of the month before.

6. BYOL Management

Bring Your Own Licensing, or ‘BYOL’ for short, saves money by enabling businesses with active software license agreements, to use some of their spare on-premises licenses within their cloud environments.

This reduces software costs in the cloud by as much as 80% in contrast to the standard pay-as-you-go model. The key word here though is ‘spare’, you have to have your on-premises license compliance in hand to be able to safely assign licenses to the cloud. BYOL works on a trust model, you declare that you have a license available when you select the BYOL option.

To manage BYOL therefore requires an understanding of both on-premises licensing and your cloud environments, as well as effective governance and cost management for both.

Fortunately, Cloud Asset Management solutions such as Certero’s new Vitado product, provide unified visibility and control over both on-premises and cloud environments, enabling licensing and BYOL to be holistically understood and controlled through a single platform solution.

7. Cloud Asset Management

The flexibility, agility and ease of spinning-up cloud resources opens up the risk of businesses paying a premium for cloud computing resource that’s wasteful, a potential security risk and ultimately not delivering value to the business.

Skills are an issue too, as is the general maturity of most organizations as they fight to get up to speed with Cloud Asset Management.

Help is at hand though – If you’d like to find out more about the solutions and services you can use to make sure cloud is visible and costs stay under control, and you can optimize your could strategy, contact Vitado today.

 

Cloud Asset Management

The flexibility and ease of spinning-up cloud resources helps businesses be more agile but also opens up the risk of businesses paying a premium for cloud computing resource that’s wasteful, a potential security risk and not delivering value to the business. 

The cloud can be tamed however with robust Cloud Asset Management; a combination of skilled cloud people, working to robust and thought-out management processes and underpinning everything, the technology in the form of a multi-cloud management solution to give you centralized visibility and control. 

Keeping these people, processes and technology can be challenging, especially with a global skills shortage around cloud. However, help is at hand – Certero and Vitado can support you with all 3 in the form of Vitado Cloud Asset Management Services, providing skilled resource, best-practice processes expertise and all under-pinned by the Vitado by Certero Cloud Asset Management solution. 

If you’d like to find out more about Vitado’s solutions and services you can use to make sure cloud is visible and costs stay under control, contact Vitado today. 

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How Vitado can help

Vitado offer helpful cloud management services and a unified technology platform to provide the full visibility and proactive alerting to gaps in processes and standards that helps to streamline cloud management and active cloud cost-optimization. To find out more about the Vitado solution, to arrange a demo or to speak to your local Vitado team about any of our services, simply contact us today.

Find out more:

 

Vitado Guide to FinOps Blog#2: How to Gain Sponsorship and Implement a New Structure

 

Complete Guide to Cloud Tagging– Download the e-book

 

Contact Vitado – Vitado has a global team of experts in managing IT costs, so if you want to begin solving your technology challenges, our unique technology and services are here to help.

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