Cloud management is in its infancy, so don’t expect any set-it-and-forget-it magic.
“One of the benefits of developing a private cloud is that it provides the opportunity, however challenging, to define exactly what you are trying to do with IT in your organization as you go forward,” said Steve Pelletier, solution architect for Logicalis, an IT solutions and managed service provider.
“To realize the full potential of your private cloud environment, you will also need to address several key concepts that are not so easily defined. These involve squishy terms like ‘management,’ ‘automation’ and ‘orchestration’ that need to be defined in terms of where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow.”
To get a handle on things like management and automation, you have to know exactly what it is you are trying to manage and automate, and this is where many organizations hit a wall.
Many organizations have little visibility into their IT infrastructures. Legacy IT management tools just weren’t built for today’s virtualized infrastructures, and if you start moving stuff into public clouds, what little visibility you have will evaporate.
“The fact that cloud environments are expansive, decentralized, and fluid makes visibility both more imperative and more difficult without the proper cloud management tool,” said Antonio Piraino, CTO of ScienceLogic, a provider of datacenter and cloud management platforms.
Datacenters, internal or in the cloud, are moving toward virtualized, multi-tenant infrastructures. Your datacenter may not fit this model today, but it will eventually. Of course, multi-tenancy doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll share your internal servers with the business next door (or two time zones over). Multi-tenancy could be as simple as having virtual machines from different departments sharing the same resources.
However, once you embrace multi-tenancy, you become a de facto service provider to your own organization. And you then have the headaches of a service provider. Who do you charge for what and how do you justify those charges if there is pushback? Traditional IT operations management point products and management suites won’t be much help for multi-tenant environments. Those tools simply weren’t built for them.
Too many organizations’ cloud management efforts simply focus on enabling self-service provisioning of virtual machines for very specific tasks, such as application development. Since these deployments are small and limited to a few users or a couple of departments, the lack of visibility into these cloud deployments doesn’t set off too many warning bells.
However, the lack of visibility can and should slow organizations down as they move to the private cloud. Piraino argues that cloud service providers need to centralize management as much as possible. Large enterprises won’t feel comfortable with private, public or hybrid clouds until critical IT operations and cloud management functions – such as performance, availability, ticketing, and event management – are unified.
Legacy IT management and monitoring tools simply do not extend into the cloud, meaning that if you don’t update your datacenter management strategy to align with your cloud strategy, you will be flying blind into the cloud. So, don’t be shocked when you drift through a fog bank and into a mountain.