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The tipping point for cloud management is nigh

David Linthicum | Sept. 19, 2012
As organizations move from dozens to hundreds of services, the ad hoc management approach simply won't work any more

Businesses typically don't think too much about managing IT resources until they become too numerous and cumbersome to deal with on an ad hoc basis -- a point many companies will soon hit in their adoption of cloud computing.

As enterprises continue to use IaaS (infrastructure as a service) and PaaS (platform as a service) cloud services to solve pressing business problems, the number of cloud services used will continue to grow. Although dozens of services are relatively easy to track, many companies are quickly using hundreds or even thousands of services. This means they're approaching a tipping point where the number of services used exceeds IT's ability to manage them manually.

At some point, companies have to get serious about how they'll manage these cloud services, including monitoring use, uptime, security, governance, and compliance with SLAs.

Of course, they should have tackled these before adopting those cloud services, but that's not how most people think. As a result, you'll have to retrofit a cloud services management strategy and technology on the fly. It's kind of like changing tires on an 18-wheeler as you're hurtling down the road.

Say you're approaching or have reached this tipping point -- what's an IT manager to do?

First, create a management strategy. Each business uses cloud computing services differently and so requires different approaches. You must define the features of cloud service management, including monitoring, use-based accounting, and autoprovisioning.

Second, pick one or more technologies that can help meet the services-management objectives defined in your strategy. Many tools are available, either on-premises and cloud-delivered. Map out a path for implementing that technology, being very careful not to break legacy systems. Remember, the truck is hurtling down the highway.

Finally, consider how all of this will scale. As you expand the use of cloud computing, you will have more services to deal with, so you'll discover more tipping points. The ability to use and manage thousands of cloud services from hundreds of cloud providers is the end-game here. Prepare for it now.


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