If you think managing a hybrid or multi-cloud environment will be easy, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise.
Given the significant shortage of knowledgeable cloud workers out there, many businesses are lacking in-house cloud expertise. As a result, deploying a successful cloud strategy is often a complex undertaking.
Here's a look at five of the most common challenges businesses face in managing a hybrid or multi-cloud environment.
1. Unauthorized Access to Data Applications
Security is always a top concern for IT organizations, and the issue is magnified when deploying a hybrid or multi-cloud environment. Why? Because security is so often tied to the infrastructure, and you can't always be certain that you have consistent levels of security across your various deployment options.
Furthermore, you can't just "set it and forget it" in these cases. You need to figure out how each deployment element works, what the parameters are, what you need to pay extra for, what you have to overlay, what's baked in, etc. Plus, you can't always tell whether things will stay the way you want them to when splitting a workload or migrating to a new environment.
2. Poor or Inconsistent Application Performance
When assessing a hybrid or multi-cloud environment, many businesses neglect to consider application performance. But that should be a huge consideration, especially with sensitive workloads.
There are many reasons why businesses put applications in the cloud. The top reason businesses pull them back? Latency. Applications need to run fast. When you put something in the cloud, however, it adds latency because data has to travel over a network to get wherever it's going.
And if the public cloud is part of the equation, other companies will be on the same machine as you. So your application's performance could be affected based on what's going on with their workload at a particular moment (e.g. if their traffic spikes, you're going to feel it). For performance-sensitive applications — and what applications aren't these days? — the inconsistency is a big issue.
3. Inability to Meet Compliance Requirements
Businesses have a distinct lack of confidence about controlling compliance assurance in a cloud or multi-cloud environment.
In a public cloud environment, for instance, you may not know where your data is or where your applications are. You also may not be able to confirm whether the hardware and data centers are compliant or if you have the right tools in place to support PCI. Issues like these make it difficult to meet reporting requirements (i.e. not only ensuring compliance, but also being able to prove it).
Data sovereignty is another of many growing concerns in this area — particularly in Europe, where businesses must keep personally identifiable information within the geographic boundaries of countries where customers live.
4. Incomplete Visibility
More enterprises today are measuring the cost and performance of their programs and projects right down to the application level. IT leaders must be able to provide line-of-business (LOB) managers with appropriately granular reports.
Given the nature of hybrid or multi-cloud environments — where standalone applications are a rarity — getting the necessary visibility is a real challenge. Not many platforms can offer that type of visibility without a lot of custom programming. So how can you give the LOB managers what they want?
5. Loss of Control
When cloud technology first emerged, some observers derided cloud resistors as "server huggers." As it turns out, those resistors had a point when it comes to control: In a hybrid environment, and especially in a multi-cloud environment, you do lose some control over your applications.
For some applications, that's no big deal. But for an application that absolutely must run smoothly and with the right combination of cost, security and performance, the public cloud probably isn't the answer. Keeping it on-premises, on the other hand, might well give you the level of control that you need. The trick is knowing which applications belong where.
Third-Party Experts Can Help
If you're struggling to manage a hybrid or multi-cloud environment, you're not alone. Far from it. And you shouldn't hesitate to speak with third-party experts who can help you get on track.
If you would like to learn more, about the challenges that are top-of-mind for IT leaders in the cloud era, watch our Hybrid Cloud Exploration Webinar series with Frost & Sullivan.