Although moving to the cloud can be a game changer for your organisation, it can require a different mindset. You’ll need to plan, strategically, about how you will manage your cloud environment and deal with the challenges migration can bring. These challenges include security, performance, IT expertise, portability and cost. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at five of the major cloud management challenges so that you have a better understanding of what they are and how to plan for them.
Security is one of the biggest management challenges facing companies that migrate to the cloud. To be specific, the challenge here is mainly for those companies creating their own cloud environments rather than those who move to the public cloud. Public cloud networks are, as a rule, highly secure and well protected.
Those who create their own cloud networks have the responsibilities to secure data, ensure it stays private and to comply with the raft of regulations they have an obligation to meet. This means choosing and learning to use cloud-centric security and compliance tools that can track apps to ensure they are managed securely.
The problems faced by companies managing their own security and compliance in the cloud are varied but include lack of training, lack of resources, the difficulty of managing the security of multiple cloud services and the cost of doing so.
Erratic performance can be a problem with some public cloud vendors. The challenge for organisations is to choose the right provider. Before committing to a contract, you need to make sure you have a service level agreement (SLA) which guarantees you will receive all the resources and services you are paying for. You also need to ensure that your data and applications will always be available.
To oversee that this is taking place, you should have the management tools in place to track performance. This way you can monitor that contractual obligations are being met.
One of the biggest challenges facing organisations, is to make sure that IT staff have the necessary expertise to manage their services in a cloud environment. This is becoming more of a problem as organisations transfer more of their workloads to the cloud and because they need to keep pace with the constant change of cloud technologies.
Issues faced by organisations include learning to use cloud management platforms, agile development methodologies and different DevOps tools. At the same time, the shift towards webscale development means IT staff need to have expertise across the board in admin, coding and operations, rather than specialising in a single area.
There are several ways in which this can be managed. Firstly, staff training is essential in order to bring current IT staff up to standard; secondly, there needs to be serious consideration given to the recruitment of new staff; and, finally, consideration needs to be given to buying in third-party specialists to plug existing gaps.
Avoiding vendor lock-in is another challenge faced by organisations that migrate to the cloud. One of the reasons this is a concern is that the architectures and tools employed by different vendors can be set up in such a way that it makes moving to another provider either too complicated or too costly to undertake.
To best manage the challenge of service portability, the Cloud Standards Customer Council suggests that, for SaaS, you need to use industry standard APIs, protocols and data formats; for PaaS, you should use open technology app environments to increase the number of service providers you can migrate to; and for IaaS, make sure that you use standard application packaging formats, APIs and interfaces.
Obviously, if portability is a concern for you, it is best to take these suggestions into account before choosing a vendor.
In general, migrating to the cloud can offer companies enormous savings – especially on capital expenditure and datacentre running costs. However, there are still expenses which need to be paid for. As most cloud services are charged for on a pay-as-you-go basis, operational expenses will need managing.
As organisations move more services to the cloud, they are seeing their cloud costs rise over time – and this can be added to by increases in vendor fees. To make savings, it is important to manage your cloud costs and the most effective way to do this is to monitor your use.
Effective monitoring can help organisations find areas where there is unnecessary wastage of resources or discover more cost-effective ways to manage their workloads – all of which can have a significant effect in reducing costs.
Migrating to the cloud can bring organisations a wide range of benefits: lower capital expenditure, high availability, unlimited scalability and improved disaster recovery. However, as this post shows, it is not without its challenges and organisations which migrate need to be aware of these so they can be built into your migration plans and prevent problems further down the line.
At Web Hosting UK, we offer a range of cloud hosting packages for our clients using high-performance VMware and Hyper-V cloud servers. Our expertise in hardware and software setup enables us to provide cloud clusters that perform as well dedicated servers; unlike services from other cloud hosts that are slowed by overloaded storage arrays. For those needing large databases to carry out big data analytics, we are also able to create file systems optimised for such purposes.
For companies which require high-availability, you will be pleased to know that we offer 100% uptime SLA for cloud customers. In addition, our servers are highly secure and have 24 /7 proactive monitoring to help protect you against hacking and malware infection. Clients also have access to 24/7 premium support. For more details, visit our cloud hosting page.