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Top Cloud Management Trends: Adopt or Incur the Risk

David Eisner

Your company can't ignore cloud computing: Some kind of distributed-access model is now necessary to tap global markets, manage big data and get access to best-in-class software. But with increased cloud adoption comes the issue of management, since it's no longer enough to simply spin up a cloud and hope for the best. Here are five of the top cloud management trends to watch this year — and the risks of opting out.

Standardization

According to a recent Cloud Tweaks article, there's a growing need for cloud industry standards. Organizations such as the Cloud Security Alliance and ISO are on the forefront of this standardization effort — through 2015, expect to see SLAs and other cloud contract start adopting this change by including "typical" language and clear-cut descriptions of service availability. This shift toward standardization simplifies the cloud management process by providing a universal foundation regardless of service provider or cloud type.

The risk of ignoring this trend? Getting out of sync with the market at large, meaning your company could be forced to deal with data portability issues or change providers altogether.

Automation

Information Week, meanwhile, notes that there's now a significant move toward cloud automation as a way to lower "people costs" and manage total IT spend. Reducing the number of people required to manage cloud data also comes with the benefit of fewer accidental errors and increased delivery speed. The most likely jumping-off point for enhanced automation is in the data center — for example, true network abstraction has real potential when it comes to managing fragmented cloud services, but without the need for human oversight.

There are a few caveats, however. First, it's not enough to simply hop on the automation bandwagon — ROI varies by process. In addition, it's important to retain at least one human touchpoint along the way to ensure automated services aren't missing the mark.

There is also risk if you choose to opt out of this trend. In an automated world, the competitive edge goes to companies that aren't afraid to put even mission-critical tasks into a managed cloud environment.

Nativization

It's no longer enough for apps to work in the cloud — to really drive ROI, applications must be natively designed for cloud environments. Thanks to both increased BYOD adoption and the evolving Internet of Things (IoT), management of multiple app types can be time consuming and frustrating for IT admins. This year, expect to see a sharp increase in the number of developers designing for public and hybrid clouds specifically to give their app the broadest possible appeal.

What happens if you miss this trend? Consumers used to high-availability, on-demand apps head elsewhere when native cloud solutions from a competitor outperform your software.

Containerization

Next on the list of cloud management trends is containerization. Already popular among developers, containers are making the shift to IT operations, allowing them to manage apps as discrete units in the cloud. Expect to see the rise of both container services and evolution of "service chains" focused on the goal of continuous resource delivery.

If you take a pass on containers, the short-term effects should be minimal. In the long run, however, cloud management for non-container organizations is a much more complex and time-consuming prospect.

Verticalization

Last but not least is verticalization. With companies now looking to move day-to-day business operations directly to the cloud and on-demand, providers are investing vertical applications to meet specific needs. This trend is powered in large part by the mature cloud market: The wide array of cloud services now available coupled with a solid infrastructure backbone makes verticalization both possible and profitable. Miss out here and your enterprise faces an uphill climb to meet the same kind of performance metrics as companies ready to invest in specificity.

Want better cloud management? Keep a close eye on standardization, automation, nativization, containerization and verticalization trends this year.

By David Eisner, President & CEO at Dataprise, Inc – He founded Dataprise in 1995 and has led its growth from tiny start-up to recognized leader in providing managed IT services to small and medium-size businesses. Visit Page
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