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Why Cloud-Native Management Tools Aren’t Enough

By Sahil M Bansal

Enterprises are expanding their cloud deployments to include a mix of private and public cloud services. IT teams tell us they highly value the flexibility of choosing different cloud platforms, services, or pricing tiers as their business requirements change.

But with workloads increasingly spanning cloud boundaries, management rears its head as a key concern. Suddenly, IT is finding itself challenged to settle on an optimum approach to cloud governance and cost management. How do you maintain visibility of digital assets scattered across multiple clouds and pricing plans, so you know what you have, what it’s costing you, and whether it’s in compliance with internal and regulatory mandates?

Keeping track of various and sundry cross-cloud resources has the potential to become mind-numbingly complex as hybrid and multi-cloud deployments heat up.

Cloud Management Challenges

When enterprises were testing the cloud waters with a single provider, that provider supplied toolsets for seeing and managing their workloads in that environment. But as enterprises diversify across clouds, Amazon, Microsoft, and other providers have little incentive to help you compare their pricing plans to those of their competitors, let alone actually help you migrate your data off their platforms and onto a rival cloud service.

But how realistic is it to use a separate tool to manage each of your different public cloud environments? Aside from being inefficient, that approach requires expertise across different cloud platforms, and recent research indicates shortages of in-house and locally available cloud expertise among global IT shops. Using the public cloud providers’ respective tool also leaves you with partitioned views of your digital assets rather than a holistic view across cloud borders. And that can result in your business leaking cash when cloud servers become abandoned or underutilized.

As one systems administrator eyeing the public cloud for DevOps and testing put it: “Our biggest problem is that our developers might spin up a cloud server, then abandon it and leave it up, and it remains a hidden cost. We absolutely need tools to see and manage all our workloads across cloud environments.”

Grab Back the Reins

Instead of multiple stovepipe management systems, the time has come to consolidate cost optimization, management, and governance so you can handle it through with a single pane of glass showing what you’ve got running, anywhere and everywhere. That’s why we created Xi Beam, a multi-cloud optimization service provided by Nutanix. It’s a private/public cloud management system that gives you a unified view into all your cloud assets, what they cost, and whether there’s a better deal to be had at any moment in time.

That's important, because new suppliers are continually emerging, and existing cloud providers frequently revisit their notoriously complicated pricing models, tiers, and fees. It can be a huge job to constantly review what’s out there to determine if you’re still getting the biggest bang for your buck. However, with Xi Beam, Nutanix automates the price comparison process with built-in analytics, so you can see at any time what you’re paying and whether you might do better elsewhere.

Numerous studies conducted by Nutanix and others over the years consistently show that about 35% of businesses using public cloud services are over budget and are wasting as much as 35% of their cloud spend. These stats tell us that cloud optimization and cost management have become imperative, particularly given that most businesses began moving to the cloud in the first place to save money. Without multi-cloud management tools, those enterprises are likely leaving money on the table.

Getting a unified view across services, plans, and prices with Xi Beam helps keep your budget in check. You consume the management function as a cloud service, so there’s nothing to buy, install, and manage on your premises to take advantage of it.

Know Your Goals

Of course, any management tool is only as good as the policies that you want it to help you enforce. So, before you use any cloud management tool, it helps to understand what you’re managing. For example, it pays to know who owns a given workload within your organization and who has the authority to make changes. Also, what’s the behavior of each workload—predictable, non-predictable, continuous, sporadic? Often, those behaviors can be mapped into specific cloud options and pricing plans. And how was the initial decision made about where to run each workload and how often that decision should be reevaluated?

These are just a few of the considerations that go into building your hybrid and multi-cloud management approach. But whatever that approach ends up being, do yourself a favor: don’t try to juggle dozens of cloud-specific management tools. You need the whole picture at all times to successfully manage your cloud compliance and spend.


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