Enterprises across industries have already started to leverage the incredible benefits of cloud computing such as agility, flexibility, elasticity, consumption-based pricing, cost, quality of service, and resilience. Cloud Platform Vendors like Amazon are unleashing torrents of new infrastructure and platform innovations like AWS Lambda every year. Ironically, these cloud innovations have opened up new challenges in cloud computing that IT decision makers have to factor in before finalizing their cloud strategy.
Let us look into the some of these key cloud computing challenges which IT decision makers have to factor in before finalizing their cloud strategy.
1) Service Governance in New Model of Ownership
To achieve business goals, lines of businesses are independently provisioning services by leveraging external cloud services and even managing their own infrastructure. Their successes have showed them the pace of innovation and agility that can come from outside of IT, and now there is no going back. Today, IT does not have full control over the provisioning, de-provisioning and operations of infrastructure. This de-centralized ownership has increased the complexity for IT to provide the governance, compliance and risk management required to protect their businesses.
IT needs to find new ways to exert soft controls to protect the business, while not inhibiting the agility their internal customers expect now from the cloud. Unfortunately, all the IT operations management tools available today are built to take advantage only of a centralized model. It is cloud management platform vendors who are working to find solutions on how to help IT to marry the traditional operations management tools with the de-centralized cloud platforms.
2) Service Provisioning
Service provisioning is related to service governance. Here, you allocate resources (such as cloud services) for use by an app or web-service for a period of time. And, the current approaches and mechanisms around service provisioning vary from vendor to vendor.
IT teams need a strategy for this very important aspect of cloud computing, which ideally would be a standard set of APIs for automating the entire cycle of service provisioning from allocation to de-allocation. While most cloud platform users expect a simplicity level closer to copy/paste, the reality of service provisioning is way too complex for the average users. And assistance of a cloud specialist is often recommended here.
Additionally, the user interface provided by cloud platform vendors for administrators cannot simultaneously address the needs of a single server instance customer and a large MNC having hundreds of server instances.
3) API Standardization
Today, the dependency of business on IT systems are very high due to digital economy. Most businesses do not want to rely exclusively on a single vendor for their cloud platform. And many enterprises also want to keep some of the key computing workloads in house as internal cloud environments and want a single standard platform to manage both the outsourced cloud platforms and internal cloud platforms (hybrid environments). For this to work, major cloud platforms have to standardize their APIs, which appear to be a major challenge at this stage of evolution in cloud platforms.
4) Security Standards and Frameworks
Security has been one of the prime concerns right from the start of the cloud computing technology. Incidents like data breaches, compromised credentials and broken authentication, hacked interfaces and APIs, account hijacking, etc. keep occurring. User Identity Management, authentication and access control mechanisms that are simple yet secure and that are acceptable to entire customer base of the cloud platforms can happen only through industry wide standards.
Another challenge lurking is that there are different tools to develop applications for each community cloud application platform. This makes it very difficult to build applications that span across multiple cloud providers. Common authentication across cloud providers is just as difficult with a myriad of different protocols and standards, including SAML and OAuth. At a higher level, service-level security refers to the ability to provide secure access to fine-grained cloud services by defining who and how each service is accessible. Currently it is not possible to manage service identities, just clusters of virtual or physical servers. There are some niche solutions through new emerging product categories such as Cloud Access Service Broker (CASB), but there is still a long way to go.
5) Specialized Knowledge for Cloud Administration
Cloud computing needs people who can build, run, and design cloud infrastructure. There is a dearth of talent specialized in cloud architecture and administration. As the cloud computing market grows, today’s niche training programs and certifications for specialized cloud skill sets have to get into mainstream so that the talent pool does not become a constraint for enterprises to adopt cloud platforms.
6) DevOps Tools for the Cloud
For many enterprises, a need to have cloud specialists in the IT teams would be prohibitively costly. Most of the common tasks performed by the cloud specialists must be automated. To address this challenge, Cloud Management Platform vendors like Botmetric are providing DevOps tools like monitoring usage patterns of resources, automated backups at pre-defined time periods, helping optimize the cloud for cost, governance, and security.
The Bottom Line
Cloud technology is rapidly evolving to address the above mentioned challenges. While cloud technology is a re-imagination of server infrastructure, there is also a need for re-invention of many server technologies due to need to adaptation of those technologies to cloud platforms.
While platform developers like Amazon, Google and Microsoft are busy innovating at the base level, cloud Management platforms vendors like Botmetric are at the forefront of innovation in creating comprehensive cloud management tools. Do read our blog by our experts on Cloud Integration Still A Challenge, Despite High Adoption Rates.
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