By Joseph Smith, Director, Cloud and DataCentre Centre of Excellence (Acting)
Is there such a thing as too much cloud adoption? Yes, if it leads to your organisation having too many disparate cloud services.
We call this cloud sprawl and it’s inevitable if business units are allowed to buy cloud services without the IT department’s knowledge as the IT department loses control of the provisioning process.
Time and money
With ease of access and use, there is massive demand for immediate data in fast and flexible formats. Because of this market push, many organisations have ended up with many public cloud environments that can result in multiple small contracts with providers.
This can cause a range of issues for your organisation, with one of the biggest being the cost of monitoring and maintaining the contracts and as well as mention security. It also may be possible that some contracts are being paid for but no longer used.
Keeping track of each of these environments and the workloads associated with running them can take time and manpower away from other pressing IT issues. Even finding a tracking tool that is agnostic to the underlying systems can be a challenge.
Initially, cloud was no more than a hosting service and organisations were required to sign lengthy agreements, which meant cloud sprawl was not really a problem because organisations were locked in for 12 or 24 months, so buying services on a piecemeal basis wasn’t as prevalent.
However, cloud service providers are now making it easier to consume their services, with automated provisioning and single-payment options. Offering portals with complete sets of service features and metered usage, cloud service providers are allowing IT departments to identify usage within their organisation to create charge-backs.
In short, these pay-per-use and consumption models can trigger cloud sprawl.
Stay in control
To combat this, your organisation’s IT department needs to ensure it doesn’t lose control of the process. This means the IT department needs to be seen as a trusted adviser so that all the business units engage with it.
IT departments need to ensure the business units understand why they can’t individually buy a cloud application or service. For example, if the marketing group is running a campaign, the last thing you want is for there to be insufficient capacity to deal with the traffic because that has been underestimated. Then there are the potential security or privacy implications.
The IT department, as ground control, can regulate the use of cloud services and take a holistic view to ensure adequate resources are bought from the right providers. And, in almost all cases, consolidating the list of small contracts will save time and money.
It is up to the IT departments to help business units understand the value of using experts. That way, cloud sprawl can be minimised.