Don't make cloud management an afterthought

Enterprises that use cloud computing resources must often retrofit management after the fact. Don't be those guys

It's clear how public cloud computing is used today by larger enterprises: It's a storage system here, an API providing data there, and cloud-delivered app dev testing somewhere else. However, what's almost never apparent is how these providers should be managed to the right level of operational efficiency.

Why? Because those charged with managing the internal resources typically found in data centers don't -- or refuse to -- work with public cloud providers. Thus, organizations using pubic cloud resources are either managing them catch as catch can or not at all.

[ In the data center today, the action is in the private cloud. InfoWorld's experts take you through what you need to know to do it right in our "Private Cloud Deep Dive" PDF special report. | Stay up on the cloud with InfoWorld's Cloud Computing Report newsletter. ]

The downside of this is evident: A cloud-delivered storage system goes offline, causing internal application failures, and there are no procedures or technologies in place to correct the problem in time to avoid damaging the business. Or a customer facing a cloud-based Web application is under attack, and other than hoping the customer is in a forgiving mood, you're screwed.

A sad truth is that cloud computing management is often an afterthought or not a thought at all. Why? Many cloud computing projects emerge outside the view of corporate governance and IT. Thus, there is no voice for security, governance, and management, unless those deploying the cloud-based solutions have the funding and the forethought. They almost never do.

How do you solve this problem? If you're in enterprise leadership, make sure you set policies around the management of cloud-based systems. This includes projects that haven't been on your radar thus far. This means forgiveness for what has been done to date, and it means rendering aid to those outside-of-IT efforts. Those unsanctioned and ad hoc cloud solutions are here to stay, so help their owners in finding management resources and technology.

If you're one of those people -- in IT or not -- who is building a cloud-based solution without an explicit management strategy, pause! Create that strategy before you deploy. After all, whether for a business process or a formal IT effort, you don't move forward without clearly defined management procedures and the right management tools. Why would you treat the cloud-based processes and tools any different, whether driven by the business or IT? You shouldn't.

This article, "Don't make cloud management an afterthought," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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