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Are You Effectively Managing Your Hybrid Cloud Environment?




This post previously appeared on Information Management.

Enterprises are shifting to hybrid cloud environments at an ever-increasing rate to reduce costs and improve end-user performance. By 2018, hybrid cloud adoption is expected to triple, according to research from Peer 1 Hosting.  IT leaders are still perfecting how they run their business to manage the data center, cloud and other infrastructure assets to deliver mission critical applications. In a time when the Harvard Business Review estimates that employees in large enterprises use upwards of 500 cloud services, organizationally sanctioned or not, managing the hybrid cloud is complex and getting even more complicated.

Address the Fear of the Unknown

Organizations have perfected running and managing their own data centers but the cloud presents new challenges. In 2015, The Aberdeen Group did a survey of more than 200 major enterprises and found that respondents fear security issues, loss of control, lack of insight for problem identification and resolution, and potentially lower performance. These are valid concerns and can be managed through proper visibility and control into the entire cloud infrastructure.

With the proper tools to monitor and control your infrastructure, from cloud providers to ISPs, the link between customers and Internet assets is demystified. This enables IT staff to intelligently identify and confidently address the unknown, ensuring reliability, security and optimal performance.

What You Find Might Surprise You

Many issues arise in hybrid cloud environments. Performance slowdowns, availability issues, denial of service attacks and others commonly fly under the radar of organizations that aren’t looking at their infrastructure in a proactive manner.

These issues are insidious factors that decrease the optimal performance of delivering your cloud application. Users, customers, employees and partners may not be able to identify or notify support staff to report an issue.

Amazon calculated that a page load slowdown of just one second would cost the company $1.6 billion in sales. Customers won’t complain that a site is slow, they just won’t buy from it. It is vital that organizations can identify and correct issues causing slowdowns and ensure that these issues aren’t persistent problems.

When it comes to security, there are a number of threats that can be found by monitoring Internet pathways. These threats range from DDoS attacks to IP hijacking to realizing customers are going through unsecure networks. Having the visibility to pinpoint these security issues – or to predict them with big data before they even happen – will protect your customers, your global brand reachability and your bottom line.

When using so many different clouds, ISPs and CDNs, it’s important to optimize use. If a cloud provider is experiencing an outage, IT pros need to be able to see this and then mitigate the issue so customers can still access the business immediately. For example, if an AWS node goes down, IT admins should be able to see that and then reroute traffic to different paths and destinations, so the organization stays up and running online.

hybrid cloud

Complex Environments Don’t Have to Be Complex to Manage

A number of clouds provide dashboards that allow customers to monitor only a particular service. This does not provide a common, unified pane of glass for viewing the actual customer experience made up of many providers and assets. Having a consolidated view allows for faster troubleshooting and better availability.

With 28 percent of IT budgets going to cloud infrastructure costs, organizations are looking to quantify the value they purchase. Is the premium provider delivery the best in class product? Is the value based provider staying highly available?

Enterprises will continue to adopt hybrid cloud models as the cost advantages, efficiencies and new found capabilities are too compelling to ignore. Like any shift, these changes are a long term trend which is reorganizing the the IT organization. Tomorrow’s staff will use a whole different set of tools and methodology to manage a more complex, heterogeneous infrastructure stack.

As the stakes for performance and global anytime, anywhere connectivity continue to rise, businesses with an understanding not only of the hybrid cloud, but of the Internet as a whole, will continue to provide value and thrive.

Jeremy Hitchcock is Founder of Dyn, a cloud-based Internet Performance company that helps companies monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure for an exceptional end-user experience. Follow him on Twitter: @jhitchco and @Dyn.