Cloud spending is on the rise. According to Gartner, worldwide public cloud spending is set to reach $302 billion by 2021. While the adoption of cloud technologies has soared, organizations are beginning to realize that widespread cloud adoption comes with a wide array of novel demands for IT teams. As a result of these cloud-related challenges, more than half of IT decision makers use a mixed approach towards traditional IT and the cloud. This approach, called hybrid IT, seeks to combine the best of on-premise and cloud environments.
Effective cloud spend management can greatly assist in the implementation and handling of hybrid IT environments. In fact, 80 percent of enterprises feel that cloud spend management is one of their key challenges. This feeling is not unfounded: without effective cloud spending tactics, your organization’s cloud effort may feel expensive and unstructured. Contrarily, with effective management of cloud spending, your organization’s burgeoning cloud infrastructure will have the opportunity to become fully-fleshed and holistic. This way, your hybrid cloud environment can offer far more benefits than drawbacks.
A holistic approach that is focused around controlling cloud spending is imperative to a successful hybrid IT deployment. To achieve this level of success, there are several necessary steps when implementing a hybrid cloud solution:
Retire Underutilized Applications
A common first step when transitioning to cloud-based networks is conducting an evaluation of your current software environment. During this first step, organizations are often introduced to the concept of a hybrid cloud. As the overall IT estate is assessed, your IT team will become aware of underused or unused applications. These discoveries are often neglected or missed by existing decommissioning programs. By identifying these applications, your IT team will be able to decide which workloads should not survive the transition to the cloud.
Organizations must be proactive in retiring these applications, since storing them on the cloud can incur significant costs and disrupt attempts at proper cloud spend management. However, retiring applications is not a one-step process. The amount of time required to properly retire a program often helps IT teams realize there is merit to maintaining an on-premise environment. When the organization is properly prepared, they will be able to retire the old, extraneous programs. Maintaining an effective cloud spend management program will allow your organization to transition to the cloud in a simple way while minimizing costs.
Remedy Compatibility, Cost, and Security Concerns
When organizations begin moving data and applications from an on-premise environment into their new cloud environment, they often realize that not every application is well suited to a public cloud. Some applications that require a high standard of security may be better implemented on-premises, rather than a cloud environment. This is not necessarily because the cloud is insecure by nature, but because many IT teams do not yet have the intricate knowledge or resources required to keep data completely safe on the cloud. Full cloud security also requires that IT teams have excellent visibility and control over their network – something that cloud implementation efforts do not usually have in their early stages. Instead of risking a mistake in the management of the cloud which could lead to a breach of sensitive data, it may be better for your IT team to stick to familiar territory.
Another cloud controversy that is solved by a hybrid IT approach is compatibility issues. For example, legacy applications that are only compatible with operating systems like Windows XP cannot be ported in their unaltered state to cloud services like Azure or Amazon Web Services. To make these applications cloud-compatible, organizations would need to invest quite a bit of money into either recoding the software, or implementing a container platform to run these applications. With the existing costs of digital transformation and spending on cloud migration, many organizations would rather not make such a large investment unless absolutely necessary.
These sizeable expenses point to the prevailing issue with an entirely cloud architecture: the high costs of implementation. Organizations that are new to cloud migration may have a difficult time properly budgeting across the entire lifecycle, leading to exploding costs that disrupt cloud spend management efforts. To properly migrate software onto the cloud, organizations must have a firm grasp on the security and compatibility of their software, and have an idea of how much those features add into the expenses of a cloud migration.
Implement a Consumption-Based Approach
There are a variety of solutions to confront the issue of increasing cloud costs. It is important to migrate only the most widely used applications to the cloud, and leave the remaining, underutilized programs on the on-premise data center. Doing so will help to optimize spend by leveraging cost effective computing and storage capabilities with OpEx funds, rather than CapEx funds. Moving to the cloud means organizations can optimize OpEx funds, avoiding heavy upfront CapEx investments in infrastructure, to focus on the daily costs of cloud services.
Determining which applications are sufficiently utilized will require a proper SAM strategy with sufficient visibility into entitlements, inventory, and consumption. This way, your organization will understand what software they own, how that software is currently being used, what software the organization is entitled to use, and how they are allowed to use that software. This will help your organization determine what applications can move to the cloud, so be sure to have those capabilities before making any decisions.
Once you have identified the most utilized applications across your network, there are some final considerations to make. Ensure that these applications are going to be fully compatible with the cloud, and that they do not contain extremely sensitive information that could prove catastrophic in the case of a data breach. By making these final assurances, organizations will make great progress towards optimizing their cloud spend.
Design a Long-Term Strategy
A proper transition to a hybrid cloud takes monetary investment, skills, and most of all, time. For that reason, it is paramount that your organization designs a long-term strategy to ensure your strategy remains as effective and cost-efficient as possible. Instead of simply “setting and forgetting” your hybrid IT solution, it is a better idea to constantly study how all aspects of the cloud can be used to maximize your potential benefits.
Consistently researching and modifying a long-term cloud strategy isn’t easy. Cloud spend management software such as PyraCloud can help create a clear vision of how your organization consumes cloud resources. Being able to identify, track and allocate cloud expenses back to relevant business units within the organization enables IT Leaders to understand how these assets are consumed across the business, and by whom. This is critical in cloud governance and spend management. PyraCloud also offers a single pane of glass view across your on-premises and cloud environment, which provides insights from point of purchase, complete with contract and entitlement data. Being able to track consumption with PyraCloud enables organizations to right-size their software investment in addition to properly governing and managing software across on-premises and the cloud. PyraCloud can assist with cloud spend management, help you optimize your organization’s cloud environment, and provide crucial visibility for a long-term hybrid IT strategy.
While the cloud hasn’t completely outpaced the on-premise data center, organizations are wisely planning to make the cloud a large part of their overall IT strategy. However, complicated software environments do not make the conversion to a pure cloud infrastructure an easy change. The long transition into a cloud environment naturally creates these hybrid cloud environments, which come with unique challenges and additional complexity.
With a clear vision and strategy, it is possible to properly implement a forward-thinking hybrid cloud environment. By retiring underutilized programs, migrating programs based on compatibility and consumption, and implementing a long-term hybrid cloud strategy, your organization will be on the right track to fully reap the benefits of a hybrid cloud.