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How Gravitant Can Help IT Wrangle Cloud Services Sprawl

I have always maintained that the cloud will arrive in bits and pieces, not in a single large chunk. The shift to cloud computing will be slow and selective instead of a complete rip and replace where you migrate everything to the cloud as if you're building a brand new datacenter for your enterprise.

I have also maintained that cloud coupled with consumerization will significantly loosen IT's historical grip on technology, so much so that if left ignored or unchecked it will lead to "shadow IT" and to unsponsored cloud services sprawl within the environment.

That unchecked cloud sprawl is already occurring and many factors are contributing to it, primarily because we are taking cloud and its impact too lightly.

At one point saying cloud would immediately lead to every other Joe cracking a cloud joke about what cloud really means and how irrelevant and meaningless it is. Meanwhile, users are installing and using consumer cloud services like Dropbox and business units such as marketing were consuming enterprise-grade services like Amazon AWS' IaaS. Even CIOs and IT management started to realize the benefits of cloud and began to adopt SaaS services like Salesforce and adopt services like Office 365 and outsourced mail, unified communications, backup and much more.

Take a step back and look at this spectrum of services I just mentioned while keeping in mind this is a subset of what is really going on out there. The problem is bigger. Correlate the use of those services with the fact that each of these services is assessed, designed, deployed, consumed and supported differently with separate contracts for each and you will quickly realize that almost every enterprise is experiencing cloud services sprawl whether they like it or not.

And yes, the move to cloud shifts from a CapEx-heavy model to an OpEx-optimized one, but with all these services in an enterprise, who is really tracking them all and how? By generating reports and using Excel spreadsheets to manage this is inefficient and very passive as opposed to real-time, up-to-the-minute data that allows you to see the big picture immediately. This assumes that you are aware of all the cloud services that are being consumed, so what about those that you don't know about?

Organizations that realize this problem exists and needs to be fixed sooner rather than later will be able to transform IT from a center that delivered IT-built internal services to a broker that governs cloud services and that allows internal IT-built services to compete with public cloud delivered services. Here's an example: Today, if your CMO is using Amazon to run his/her campaigns, you will find it very difficult to curb or stop that CMO form doing so without providing an alternative that is just as efficient, just as good and most importantly just as fast (from a provisioning perspective). This is one of the drivers that I explain to my customers as to why a private cloud on-premises deployment is crucial to them. By deploying a private cloud, IT provides an alternative that they can then take to the CMO or other business units that are consuming external resources and offer up an internal solution which may have several advantages in security, cost efficiency, privacy and more.

Another example is deploying an enterprise-class cloud file sync solution where you can then go your users and remove access to Dropbox while providing a solution that is sponsored by IT and offers the same functionality with benefits as mentioned before.

This approach now earns IT the right to take away services from business units and regular users that are consuming these services, but how do we bring all these services under a single pane of glass? How do we discover cloud services that are running within our environment? Furthermore, how do we present to our internal customers external services from Amazon side by side with similar services delivered by IT and allow them to weigh the price comparison and all the other pros and cons of each solution and consume whatever they are willing to pay for? How do we bring all the different cloud services that we have today under a single pane so that we can track the billing and chargeback or showback in real time? Basically, how do we transform IT into a broker of services?

One of the companies that I have had a "cloud crush" on is Gravitant with its CloudMatrix platform allows enterprises to govern external cloud services and offer up IT-designed and -built services under a single pane of glass. CloudMatrix also allows you to discover what cloud services are running in your environment and bring those under the same platform as well. Real-time billing and consolidation of billing is a huge benefit that organizations will appreciate.

The cloud is already changing the enterprise IT landscape, and we should recognize that our role is not restricted to building technology services but evolving to also governing a lot of these cloud services that are being consumed by our users, our business units and lately by IT. Platforms like CloudMatrix brings discipline, organization and clarity to a chaotic space that is bound to continue to grow. 

Posted by Elias Khnaser on 06/03/2014 at 3:20 PM


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