Not long ago, cloud was considered a fad, something for startups to experiment with, but not a real option for enterprise IT. Now, it’s become the preferred way for IT Operations departments to access and deliver technology across the business. The typical organization currently uses more than a 14 public cloud apps and will shift more than half of their workloads to the cloud by 2020. It’s taken for granted that the cloud has sparked both a revolution in IT and a new era of digital business transformation.
Such cloud investments have delivered measurable benefits. But they’ve also resulted in some unintended side-effects: complexity and risk. End users now struggle to navigate multiple environments with varying levels of performance; companies are unclear on the security of their data and network access; and IT Operations teams are overwhelmed trying to monitor and manage it all.
That complexity has a name, and it’s called cloud sprawl. Cloud sprawl is defined as an “uncontrolled growth of computing resources underlying cloud-based IT services that exceed the resources required for a definite number of authentic users.” Cloud sprawl can be a nightmare for IT administrators, who routinely end up running after every loose cloud instance hoping they won’t crash the IT budget.
The true cost of a running a cloud service, including the networking, management, dynamic workload balancing, and hosting can cost anywhere from $25,000 to $35,000 while supporting a consolidation ratio of 6:1. That puts the cost of an individual virtual machine at $4,500. The cost of cloud sprawl would be proportional to the unused cost of those resources, plus employees and computing systems that are needed to maintain the cloud service.
Digitalizing businesses can look elsewhere to keep pace with business innovation while improving management, performance, and risk for hybrid, multi-cloud environments: artificial intelligence (AI). Combined with the implementation of departmental best practices, businesses will gain all the agility, cost efficiency and opportunity for innovation promised by the cloud, without the sprawl.
The Promise of AI-Powered Monitoring Tools
New advances in artificial intelligence have made big strides in addressing cloud sprawl directly. Thanks to a number of features, an AI-powered monitoring tool could effectively eliminate the resource strain of cloud sprawl while enabling a deeper and more expansive level of overall monitoring. Digital businesses have already witnessed three main benefits.
An AI-powered monitoring tool would allow for the fast provisioning of public and private cloud infrastructures with continuous oversight and management, whether the infrastructure is Amazon Cloud, VMware, Microsoft Azure, or another public or private vendor. IT Operations teams would get oversight of the entire cloud management system with at-a-glance views of individual components like virtual machines that might require a deeper look.
An IT-powered monitoring tool would allow IT Operations teams to control costs by giving them oversight over VM and overall cloud sprawl. IT Operations teams would be able to understand how resources are allocated across the infrastructure and make necessary decisions about how to manage it.
One Tool, One Dashboard
The holy grail of monitoring is one dashboard for the entire IT infrastructure. With an AI-powered monitoring tool, IT Operations teams won’t need to search to identify new virtual machines. In fact, if policy compliance is a recurring issue, teams can set up thresholds for VMs and be alerted whenever they spring up. A cloud services dashboard for IT management that shows the overall performance of of cloud services will help management identify opportunities for improvement earlier and avoid additional costs resulting from cloud sprawl.
A new model: The AI-powered Cloud
Thanks to the promise of faster innovation, lower cost of ownership, and more flexibility, businesses are embracing the cloud across their IT stack. They don’t have to embrace cloud sprawl too. With artificial intelligence, businesses can take advantage of the full promise of the cloud while nixing hurdles around complexity and security. They’ll get the full visibility they need to manage and secure the IT infrastructure, reduce costs, and innovate around the delivery of business services. It’s everything the cloud promised, without the sprawl.