The rise of hybrid cloud and multi cloud, as well as hybrid IT, has led to the creation of an entire sub-science of tools, approaches, and techniques for managing complex and distributed cloud deployments.
While some of these are sophisticated enough to take advantage of deep levels of abstraction and simplify management of a hybrid cloud, most are ad hoc and chaotic. The result: many companies don’t know where to start and don’t understand when to make the wrong decisions.
However, there is a path to complex, distributed cloud management (CDCM) that has not yet been mapped. You start by understanding your own needs, get to know CDCM at its most primitive level, and then determine the best approach to management and tools.
Here’s what’s new and what’s better with CDCM – in other words, what’s not commonly known or understood, and what are the secrets to success.
(If you need some basics guidance before proceeding, see “5 Basics for Managing Hybrid Cloud” to learn how to understand management, security, and governance, create a “single pane of glass,” SLAs and what tools are available for you.)
Cloud Complexity: Where Are the Tools?
I define “hybrid cloud” using the classic NIST definition, but many vendors have taken liberties with the term, and in some cases their interpretation has little to do with a real cloud. A hybrid cloud is a paired private and public cloud, the core components of a hybrid architecture.
Multi-cloud is a little more complex. While you could argue that a hybrid cloud is also a multi-cloud, the industry has defined multi-cloud as two or more public clouds within one architecture. It may or may not contain private clouds.
Most cloud architectures today are complex and far-reaching. This includes traditional systems paired with public clouds, IoT-based private clouds paired with public clouds, multiple private clouds paired with single or multiple public clouds, and so on. In fact, it is any cloud architecture and deployment that spans more than one public or private cloud.
Those in charge of cloud management are feeling the stress of the chaotic and complex nature of the tools. Many practitioners view tools and best practices as two years behind the emerging complex hybrid cloud architecture that organizations are using today.
This can be done by a cloud architect, developer, or administrator to manage their complex cloud deployments in a repeatable and reliable manner.
Understand your cloud and your needs
Most users of a complicated, distributed cloud do this without understanding exactly what they are managing. This leads to misapplication of tools and approaches and ends up with businesses making too frequent use of management approaches and tools that could affect an operational complex cloud deployment.
The best way to manage a complex cloud is to understand its nature. This includes the architecture, which includes which private clouds are used and which platforms they externalize. In addition, you need to have the same understanding of all public clouds used in your hybrid cloud or multi-cloud deployment (s).
The focus should be on the requirements or on what you plan to do with your hybrid cloud or multi-cloud. For most organizations, this means understanding the business use of the cloud and knowing which applications are paired with databases that are either distributed between the private and public cloud instances or in one tier or the other (either in a private or public cloud).
Or you run systems between the clouds, e.g. B. the distribution of applications and data via Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Azure.
In these requirements, you need to understand:
- Which databases do you use, e.g. B. MySQL or Oracle?
- What programming language do you use like Python or Java?
- What platform you’re running on, e.g. B. Linux or Windows NT
You need to repeat the same questions for all of the private and public clouds that are part of your architecture.
Understand your management interfaces
Next, you need to define the management interfaces for these technologies, including at least the database, the application, and the platform. You receive bonus points for understanding and defining the interfaces in your security systems, governance systems and cost accounting systems.
The interfaces include API sets for access to the functions of these subsystems, e.g. B. Monitoring and managing processor and I / O saturation points, as well as the ability to ramp up additional resources and shut them down if necessary.
The output of this process varies from one management solution to another.
Management technology available today
A common approach to complex distributed cloud management or other complex and distributed architectures is to throw as many tools as possible at the problem. However, this adds complexity, cost, and in some cases epic failure.
The right selection of cloud management platform tools or CMPs as well as cloud service broker tools or CSBs as well as AIOps and other new Ops tools ensures survival or guarantees failure, depending on which tools you choose.
Enough has been written about CSBs and CMPs that there is no need to go into details here. If you are not up to date with this technology, get this knowledge before proceeding. Once you have the basic requirements, it is pretty easy to map those requirements to the correct set of tools.
These tools typically provide a level of abstraction and automation between the people who manage the complex cloud deployments, the many clouds themselves, and most importantly the various components including application, data, platform, security, governance, etc.
Additionally, the right tools can automate the things that can be automated. Examples include shutting down or restarting server instances that are causing I / O errors or blocking access from certain IP addresses that appear to trigger a distributed denial of service attack.
However, you need to do a fair amount of research, testing, and operational trials to find the right tool (or tools) that you need for your cloud-hosted applications. There are about 40 useful tools on the market today. Bringing this list down to the last five will take you a month or two. From there, allow an additional month or two to test the tools before making your final selection.
It’s a simple process to follow. However, success depends in large part on your ability to define your requirements in advance.
Create a plan that will ensure success the first time
After you’ve defined the requirements and tools based on the specific needs of your complex, distributed cloud, focus on the bigger planning and budgeting that needs to be done next.
These plans differ depending on the type and complexity of the hybrid cloud and / or multi-cloud. However, they typically include:
- A high-level solution including core requirements, goals, SLAs, and other macro requirements
- A low-level solution that defines all APIs, tools, approaches and other tactical solutions in detail
- The planned budgets for all approaches, technologies, etc .; This includes people needed over time, technology used over time, risk costs, and continuous improvement
While this may sound simple, cloud management professionals are typically neither good at writing things down nor good at understanding costs. I recommend setting up a corporate governance center to do this type of planning centrally, rather than doing ad hoc efforts for each project instance.
Follow the main trends
Finally, think about what’s next. Complex, distributed cloud management solutions, best practices and approaches are constantly changing. You need to continuously improve to keep up with the trends. Look for new ideas, new approaches and new tools that add value.
A Continuous Improvement Plan is a fairly new concept for IT as IT organizations have grown used to the 1.0, 1.1, 2.0, etc. releases, and have therefore found the ability to develop applications – even for complex, distributed cloud solutions -. calming. However, advances in technology mean you need to look for better best practices and technologies.
The introduction of new technologies also increases this need, including serverless technology that runs in public clouds such as AWS and Microsoft Azure, as well as container technology that can run in private or public clouds.
There are two macro patterns to consider:
- The advancement of technology that improves your ability to build solutions in a hybrid cloud such as serverless and containers
- The development of cloud management tools such as new CMP, AIOps or CSB products
Many companies don’t know where to start or they make the wrong decisions as they approach complex cloud architectures. The most important aspect, however, is that as a successful cloud management professional you should never be satisfied with the solutions currently in use. Always be on the lookout for something better.