Be consistent: 6 reasons to reduce complexity across multicloud sprawl

    The opportunity and challenge of multicloud

    Today’s modern business landscape invariably and undeniably leverages multiple cloud platforms, both public and private. In fact, the average business uses five different cloud providers. This multicloud strategy is great for delivering flexibility: teams get all the capabilities they need to develop and operate applications that can vary in availability, cost, and performance requirements.

    But as Moor Insights & Strategy (MI&S) outlined in a December 2019 paper, “The challenge of operating in disparate cloud environments is that it easily fragments into separate tool sets for each cloud platform, particularly in the extreme between public clouds.” (See “Dell Technologies Delivers Consistent Hybrid Cloud Enabling Unique Enterprise Flexibility.”)

    So what happens when you have all these sprawling islands of disjointed cloud use? The Moor Insights & Strategy paper found that it becomes very difficult for IT to achieve consistency in the way they manage apps. That can mean compromises on everything from policy enforcement and security to compliance, cost management, and service level maintenance.

    Advantages of the public cloud

    The public cloud offers exceptional agility to application teams. Developers commonly need readily available computing capacity for short periods of work. Public cloud elasticity also enables cost savings for applications that don’t have a consistent capacity footprint, and this flexibility can ensure high availability even in worst-case scenarios.

    • Rapid app development via elasticity and breadth of features and services
    • Savings on apps with highly variable/unpredictable capacity consumption
    • Cost efficiency for specific use cases, such as disaster recovery

    Advantages of the private cloud

    While the public cloud has many advantages, the private cloud continues to be optimal for numerous use cases, especially for applications with specific requirements around performance, control, security, compliance, cost, or location.

    For example, transaction-intensive systems that serve as primary systems of record typically rely on exceptionally high throughput and low latency, which can be difficult in the public cloud. Another example is apps that require private infrastructure for regulatory compliance, such as in healthcare, government, or financial services.

    • Support for specific bandwidth and latency requirements
    • Full control of access, location, and configuration to address policy, security, compliance, and data sovereignty requirements
    • Cost optimization for applications with predictable capacity consumption

    The best of both: the hybrid cloud

    As the Moor Insights & Strategy paper found, “Public cloud and private cloud options are highly complementary. They enable purpose-built cloud infrastructure solutions for the different application lifecycle stages, such as the transition from experimental development to production operation and from unpredictable capacity needs to a relatively consistent footprint.”

    Consistency is key

    Unfortunately, the unintended consequence of leveraging all this flexibility is management complexity, and organizations everywhere are struggling with overly complicated multicloud environments.

    To find how enterprises are handling this complexity, Enterprise Strategy Group recently conducted a global survey of 1,257 IT decision makers at enterprise and midmarket organizations using both public cloud infrastructure and modern on-premises private cloud environments. According to ESG’s findings, fragmentation is only expected to increase over time and many organizations are looking for a consistent tool set for full-view management of policies, security, compliance, and cost optimization.

    Unsurprisingly, the organizations surveyed see tremendous value in cloud management simplification—and yet very few organizations had a high degree of management consistency. ESG asked whether organizations had consolidated cloud management tools, whether they used those tools extensively on-premises, and whether they used them across public and private clouds. Just 5% of organizations met all three criteria.

    By the numbers: The expected impact of cloud consistency

    When asked about the value of consistent infrastructure management across on-prem, private and public cloud infrastructure, respondents said they would expect

    Reduced costs on average
    Reduced outages on average

    6 reasons to reduce complexity across multicloud sprawl

    If your organization is struggling with multicloud management complexity, the following six reasons can help you understand some of the benefits of simplifying and unifying cloud management tools.

    1Consistency will drive IT operations efficiency

    If you minimize the time that IT spends on operational tasks, they can take on higher-value work: strategizing hybrid cloud initiatives, collaborating with lines of business on digital transformation projects, and finding new ways to drive innovation and competitive differentiation.

    So how can you optimize basic tasks? One way is minimizing the number of management consoles administrators need. With fewer tools to toggle between, administrators can ramp productivity faster rather than struggling with different interfaces and functional capabilities. Fewer tools can also reduce resources tied up in training and consulting services.

    Data from the ESG survey supports this: 78% of respondents agreed that increasing cloud management consistency would improve efficiency and simplify operations. When quantifying the person-hours saved, the mean response was 70.5 hours per week—the equivalent of nearly two full-time employees.

    say increased consistency would yield increased management efficiency/simplified operations.

    2Consistency will improve developer efficiency

    Increasing infrastructure environment consistency not only helps IT teams—it can help dev teams, too.

    Almost all IT decision-makers believe that increasing consistency would improve developer efficiency, according to ESG research: 97% stated it would make developers’ lives easier if they only needed to build for one environment, and 96% stated it would be easier for developers to push code to production. The majority of organizations (56%) think they could even push code daily by improving cross-cloud consistency.

    This increase in consistency accelerates releases while giving organizations the flexibility to deploy code to either on-premises or public cloud infrastructure based on the application’s requirements, without needing to refactor an application if the desired location changes over time.

    say increased cloud consistency would enable them to achieve daily code push frequency.

    Case study: Bank leumi

    Banking on hybrid cloud transforms business

    Bank Leumi delivers code to production in hours, not weeks, thanks to a hybrid cloud model built with Dell Technologies.

    Watch Video

    3Consistency will reduce risk

    Ensuring that cloud instances are configured properly and patched efficiently is critical to preventing exploits and data loss, as well as minimizing downtime associated with attacks. As the number of cloud instances on different platforms rises, so too does the difficulty of maintaining proper security and configuration.

    One potential solution is to standardize on a single public cloud vendor, but this leaves organizations at risk to infrastructure pricing changes, SLA modifications, difficulties with compliance mandates, being locked into that vendor’s technology roadmap, and a host of other “single point of failure” risk vectors.

    Another solution is to consolidate the management of cloud instances to a single interface, allowing administrators greater visibility and eliminating configuration and patching blind spots. Nearly 3 out of 4 respondents (74%) in the ESG survey agreed that greater consistency would reduce risk and enhance security.

    3 out of 4
    said cloud management consistency would cut risk and enhance security

    4Consistency will improve workload mobility

    More than 4 out of 5 organizations consider the freedom to deploy workloads wherever they want as a top-five technology initiative, according to the ESG survey. Nearly as many (74%) see increasing infrastructure consistency as helping cloud onboarding and migrations.

    Respondents said that with more infrastructure management consistency across clouds, it would take 35% less time on average to change where an application is run. So that means if an organization typically takes three months to move a workload from one cloud to another (or back on-premises), that migration could happen a full month faster.

    on average, respondents expected a 35% reduction in estimated cloud migration time by improving cloud management consistency
    reduction in estimated cloud migration time

    Case study: State of Illinois

    How hybrid cloud saved the state $26 million in 5 years

    To serve its citizens, the State of Illinois created a digital front door to provide better, more efficient services.

    Watch Video

    5Consistency will reduce cost

    As applications become more portable, organizations can adjust where workloads run in real time to capitalize on changing economic profiles among clouds—for example, if a public cloud provider cuts their prices or if a technology refresh dramatically reduces on-premises operational costs.

    Technical impacts such as these have a direct effect on costs. Nearly 7 out of 10 respondents in the ESG survey foresee increased cloud management consistency driving down overall costs, and the average estimated savings was 19%.

    7 out of 10
    foresee increased cloud management consistency driving down overall costs

    6Consistency will improve business agility

    Data and software are often an enterprise’s secret sauce—whether it’s an auto manufacturer’s IoT-powered predictive maintenance algorithm reducing downtime, or an oil and gas company using AI to better locate resource deposits. Technology innovation drives business innovation.

    The expected technology benefits of increased cloud management consistency are likely to also drive business agility. Application developers will push code more frequently, releasing new features faster. IT operations teams will be freed up from mundane infrastructure break-fix tasks to collaborate with line-of-business counterparts.

    The ESG survey found that by improving management consistency, respondents expected on average to reduce launch or product cycle time by 6.1 weeks, and roll out 5.2 net-new products or services annually. Cloud management consistency has the potential to transform organizational innovation.

    Expected to reduce launch or product cycle time by
    6.1 weeks
    on average

    Case study: Baillie Gifford

    Accelerating IT service delivery

    See how this fund-management services firm is utilizing hybrid cloud.

    Watch Video

    Consistent cloud operating model is a game changer

    Organizations on the leading edge of unified cloud management and orchestration have already achieved significant early gains, in everything from security to agility to cost savings. According to the ESG survey, some of those benefits have even outpaced expectations.

    Wherever your organization is on its cloud journey—even if you’re just getting started and fearful of making a misstep—start with thoughtful analysis on how best to move toward a more consistent infrastructure management experience, to simplify operations and drive cloud efficiency and effectiveness.

    Only Dell Technologies APEX Cloud Services offers consistent infrastructure and operations across cloud environments, spanning private infrastructure and the top public clouds of AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, as well as 4200+ cloud partners available via subscription/lease or usage-based. We’ve helped others manage cloud sprawl, and we can help your organization, too.

    See how APEX Cloud Services can help

    Learn More
    • Disclaimer: ESG Research Insights Paper “The Cloud Complexity Imperative: Why Organizations Must Unify and Simplify the Management of their Sprawling Multicloud Environment” commissioned by Dell Technologies, VMWare and Intel Corporation, February 2020. Results are based on a survey of 1,257 IT decision makers from 11 countries and benchmarking consistent operations management across both public cloud and modern on-premises private cloud infrastructure. Actual results will vary. Full report: https://www.delltechnologies.com/en-us/cloud/analyst-reports/solutions/cloud-complexity-imperative.htm