Is as-a-Service a Cure for Cloud Sprawl?

As-a-Service solutions that bring order to chaos offer an intriguing alternative to the multi-cloud confusion.

Technology trends ebb and flow like the tides, but if you had to pick one that has staying power over the last decade-plus, it’s cloud computing. Your job as an IT leader; managing that cloud deployment—intentionally.

That means adapting to a multi-cloud world in which you align your consumption models to follow the data between private and public clouds, your existing infrastructure, as well as edge networks—anywhere data is consumed. And you’ll consume more of your compute resources as a service, paying for what you want when you want it.

It’s about cultivating a culture predicated on treating cloud like an experience, rather than a destination. Simply, it’s about executing multi-cloud by design. Except, of course, it’s not so simple.

How We Got Here

Step back for a moment. Reasonable minds agree cloud adoption has been more evolutionary than revolutionary. Organizations’ initial foray into the public cloud typically started with procuring compute resources from a single vendor. But that consumption quickly grew to multiple providers as companies’ business requirements changed.

The public cloud market is set to grow $494.7 billion in 2022 and expected to reach $600 billion in 2023, according to current Gartner® research

Over time, “cloud-first” strategies became a trend within the broader trend. Where cloud was initially nice to have, it became must-have, inverting the traditional IT procurement approach. Critically, the financial model flipped from CAPEX to OPEX, as organizations paid in renewable subscriptions rather than ponying up cash and waiting for the hardware to depreciate before beginning the cycle anew.

Yet rampant cloud adoption has yielded a messy phenomenon called “cloud sprawl,” resulting in a reckoning for IT leaders. For some, this has spawned a proliferation of services and workloads, sometimes running in multiple environments. Deployment profiles grew more unwieldy as organizations layered atop their cloud investments, including assets running in public clouds and private clouds on-premises. In some of these hybrid clouds, resources pass between private and public clouds and edge clouds, often through colocation facilities.

In fact, 74% of organizations had either fully completed or were making significant investments in multi-cloud environments, according to a Vanson Bourne survey commissioned by Dell Technologies in 2020.

Managing these multi-cloud environments remains a challenge, as IT struggles to automate workloads, including software containers running critical applications, across clouds while service-level agreements are hit and miss. That erodes cost efficiencies and ratchets up the risk that accompanies shared responsibility models across public cloud providers.

A Solution to Cloud Sprawl

To help curb the sprawl, IT departments must improve their cloud experience while focusing on achieving the outcomes the business requires. Organizations should explore flexible infrastructure that gives their users the simplicity and autonomy they need without sacrificing security and governance requirements.

Consistency matters, providing more predictability in costs, skill sets required to deploy the technology, as well as governance.

One option is to provide a cloud experience that is as easy as subscribing to online services consumers purchase. In this as-a-service model, you would navigate to a single dashboard, pick the virtual machines or capacity you need as a service, and scale those services up or down as your needs shift.

This allows you to take advantage of the self-service capabilities of public cloud services and bring that same cloud experience to your own private cloud, co-lo, or out at the edge.

This as-a-Service approach will ensure that you have complete control over your data, from where it is located, to who can access it and how it is protected. You, as the IT leader, determine cybersecurity incident response, so you can protect intellectual property and keep data private.

Importantly, your data resides in known locations to help satisfy compliance obligations so you can avoid issues that may violate data privacy, localization, and sovereignty requirements, as well as the penalties that may come with them.

Inside Dell, we are building our APEX portfolio to help customers address these challenges. By using Dell APEX, you don’t have to choose between the benefits of self-service and automation offered by working in the cloud and complete control over your infrastructure and data. You can operate consistently no matter where you are—the data center, the public cloud, a co-lo, or the edge.

We don’t think you should be limited in where you run your applications and we’ve created APEX to help you run what you want, where you want, the way that you want. We want to give you your cloud experience—and the speed, agility, and increased innovation that comes with it—no matter where you need it.

Learn more about our portfolio of simple and consistent cloud experiences delivered as-a-service: Dell Technologies APEX.

1 Gartner Press Release, Gartner Forecasts Worldwide Public Cloud End-User Spending to Reach Nearly $500 Billion in 2022, April 19, 2022

GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

Pete Manca

About the Author: Pete Manca

Pete Manca is an accomplished senior executive with a history of creating, marketing, and selling high quality solutions to mission-critical enterprise customers. In his current role as Senior Vice President and General Manager of APEX, Pete is developing solutions to enable Dell Technologies’ portfolio to be sold as-a-Service. Prior roles within Dell included GM of the Converged and Hyper-Converged business unit, OEM Solutions, Tech Alliances and Integrated Solutions. Prior to Dell, Pete was CEO of Egenera, a Converged Infrastructure and Cloud Computing technology company in the Boston area.