From common challenges in multi-cloud management to the tools engineers need when selecting a cloud-management platform solution, everything you need to know about multi-cloud management platforms
Brightspot's Ops Desk was conceived as a result of the very real need for our own internal operations teams to manage high-performing, high-availability cloud infrastructures on behalf of our customers. The product was designed to solve a problem that's faced by IT professionals in organizations throughout the globe: how to gain visibility and control across an expanding multi-cloud universe while staying operationally efficient and nimble in responding to incidents even before these issues impact end users?
What is multi-cloud management?
The advent of cloud computing powered by the likes of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud has accelerated the digital transformation of enterprises no longer held back by hardware limitations of physical data centers and processing software. It’s also been propelled forward by the growth of the Internet of things (IoT) and profusion of devices and services consuming and demanding data from the cloud at every second of every day.
Sitting alongside on-premises equipment and the physical users requiring access to the various tools and services delivered throughout the digital ecosystem, cloud teams are today tasked with ensuring seamless connection between resources hosted in the cloud and demand from those “on-the-ground” resources.
Of course, with software components and applications now being spread out and shared across multiple cloud-computing environments, cloud teams are faced with the challenge of managing, resourcing, provisioning, troubleshooting and optimizing critical infrastructure across potentially dozens of different clouds and accounts.
The challenge becomes particularly acute when and if an outage or error occurs and needs to be tracked, resolved and documented in order to mitigate against future occurrences of the same or similar issues. Even the smallest of breakpoints can be magnified by the time it takes a team to investigate and resolve an issue against the potential cost to businesses in terms of lost revenue or employee productivity. Now consider that issue repeated again and again as new code releases go into production or security patches are deployed, for example.
This is where solutions like Ops Desk come to the fore.
Ops Desk was developed to help cloud teams more effectively manage cloud accounts by integrating disparate information into one centralized hub. From there, users can monitor cloud activity and easily pinpoint the cause of outages. Ops Desk’s tagging capabilities also give engineers the power to label triggering events and identify patterns that will help mitigate problems in the future. Less downtime translates into higher performing cloud teams and a better experience for end users.
Challenges in multi-cloud management
Ops Desk and other similar products in the market today like Moogsoft and Aviatrix strive to ensure cloud teams have the right tools and information available through a “single-pane-of-glass” view for optimal performance across the board, and solve the biggest (and potentially most costly) challenges of multi-cloud management. At a high level, these challenges include:
- Operational costs: As with any complex and growing organization, resources spread throughout multiple silos and across disparate departments like IT, finance and engineering can spell cost inefficiencies, redundancies and waste. The problem extends to the cloud, where hosting costs are metered by demand, but oftentimes organizations end up paying for unused allocation through a lack of transparency and centralized view of costs across a multi-cloud ecosystem. In short, engineers need to easily see where different resources have been deployed, how these are being used (and by whom), and where these resources may need to be optimized.
- Resource sprawl: Cloud computing empowers agility and flexibility, but with this ability to quickly provision new resources and capabilities for individual projects, for example, comes the challenge of managing an ever-growing portfolio of resources up in the cloud. A centralized cloud-management platform like Ops Desk can help highlight underused or defunct resources that may need decommissioning and save significant costs on an organization’s overall “cloud bill.”
- Data and user security: Whether it’s ensuring the multi-cloud setup meets an organization’s ongoing (and ever-changing) IT compliance requirements or you have a secure and manageable way to provision new and existing users with the necessary cloud credentials, cloud engineers are responsible for security in areas that could easily be prone to vulnerabilities. Tools like Ops Desk help ensure consistent adherence to an organization’s user-account provisioning policies, for example, including application of best practices like account access by role or group rather than at an individual user level.
- Monitoring and performance: At the very least, a good cloud-management platform lets you monitor infrastructure and application performance no matter the cloud in which it rests; it will also alert you to issues with downtime and sub-optimal performance in order for engineers to respond as quickly and effectively as possible. Even better, tools to improve documentation and resolution will lead to improved performance and reduced overhead down the road.
What to consider while choosing a multi-cloud management tool
From ServiceNow to PagerDuty—and now Ops Desk—there are myriad cloud-resource management tools on the market that help IT professionals get the most out of their multi-cloud environments. Depending on the need, different tools may do some, all or one of the things a cloud team needs to keep its business moving forward. At their core, the problems these tools are trying to solve are:
- Service transparency: Manage all cloud accounts in one place, with unlimited accounts to adapt as needs grow (and contract) and a centralized dashboard to easily visualize cloud-computing storage and performance needs.
- Service monitoring: Monitor performance across all cloud accounts through a single accessible and configurable view, with the ability to get alerts and updates about your organization’s cloud-account performance in aggregate or individually.
- Service performance and analytics: Receive and generate on-demand reporting about all cloud accounts plus alerts whenever incidents occur.
- Service resolution: Track service incidents and swiftly find solutions. With workflow management tools, powerful search features and robust tagging capabilities, the cloud team is equipped to respond rapidly to issues and implement solutions, plus create documentation and an “e-paper trail” to prevent similar problems in the future.
- User and team provisioning: Tools to ensure teams and individuals have the appropriate access to cloud resources and capabilities to manage/limit roles, rights and levels of user access. IT security compliance is enhanced through effective permissions capabilities.
How can Ops Desk support your cloud management needs?
At the heart of Brightspot is a steadfast commitment to helping our customers work smarter, faster and more seamlessly. Which is why when our operations team was facing challenges managing complex cloud infrastructures, we knew we had to tackle these issues—not just for ourselves, but for our customers, too.
With Ops Desk, you can consolidate all of your organization's cloud resource services into a single user experience, reducing the time it takes for an engineer to research an incident, speeding up reports on cloud performance reports, and expanding the view of an engineer beyond a single piece of cloud infrastructure. Ops Desk provides you the tools you need to successfully manage high-availability, publicly accessible cloud architectures.