Cloud sprawl: Everything you need to know to beat it

Cloud computing is a revolution in the IT industry and is cheap, easy to use, reliable, and highly scalable. Cloud computing provides us with the best and most cost-effective methods to revamp and enhance the existing IT infrastructure. So everything’s perfect? Not quite. Dealing with the cloud also has its own drawbacks, not the least of which is something that has become known as cloud sprawl.

Cloud sprawl is the uncontrolled proliferation of an organization’s cloud instances or resources. This happens especially when an organization moves all its resources to the cloud and creates newer instances without proper planning and monitoring. Companies that inadequately control, monitor, and manage their cloud instances or resources are often victims of cloud sprawl.

When an organization or an enterprise hosts its services on-premises, there is better scope and visibility on resources and instances. This visibility and scope is limited in the case of cloud. But considering all the various advantages cloud computing offers, enterprises are rapidly migrating toward the cloud. But when companies host their resources on the cloud, lack of proper visibility and control are the most common and primary issues to look out for.

Businesses of all shapes and sizes are taking advantage of the thousands of services the cloud offers and are hosting their applications, data, and infrastructure in the cloud. As a result, more and more instances are being created on the cloud, making it complex and tough to monitor. This is exactly when the dilemma of the cloud sprawl comes into the picture.

cloud sprawl

Cloud sprawl can be considered similar to VM sprawl or server sprawl. It involves an overabundance of solutions, making them collectively all difficult to manage. Consider an example: A developer creates one instance on the cloud as a solution to a problem or to test a certain amount of data in the system. Now, to test the remaining portion of data, if the same developer creates another instance on the cloud without deleting or managing the existing instances — and if multiple employees do the same — this could quickly result in an unmanageable situation.

Similarly, when organizations start creating multiple software platforms, security policies, operating system images, server instance types, application-specific requirements, and deployment scripts, they need to be adapted accordingly to avoid confusions and overlap. Delay in these actions could lead to cloud sprawl, which could have a deadly impact on any organization or an enterprise.

To avoid or control the cloud sprawl, you’ll need to take proper actions. Here are some of them:

Audit all your cloud services periodically

It is very important to perform cloud health checkups and accounting regularly. These internal audits must cover all essential aspects of cloud services including the cloud instances, applications, data, infrastructure, and more. Regular audits will not just enable the constant serviceability of the services but will also provide transparency in enterprise cloud-related processes and systems along with the ease of usage.

Cloud sprawl

Single-pane control panel

Having a single-pane control panel will enable the administrators and the management of an organization to easily monitor and control the actions happening across the company. Having a single-pane control panel will also help developers to test their code and deployments in a multitier environment, where the changes made will be first moved to test and then to production environments. All these can be easily controlled through a single control panel. Several companies offer so-called single pane of glass software solutions where you can manage not only all your cloud services but your on-premises servers as well.

Train developers and get them certified

In large organizations or enterprises where multiple teams/departments work in a cloud environment, it is essential that everyone working must have the right knowledge on the underlying components. Therefore, it is very important to get the employees trained. This way, they’ll learn the platform better and will have a better understanding on how it works.

Have a change-management platform

Large enterprises or organizations using multicloud environments need to have a proper and well-structured change-management system. A change-management system will keep the of all the changes made in the system including any changes made to the firewall, switch, storage and endpoint modifications, and more. Having proper logs and trackings of all the changes made will give administrators a better scope and visibility to control the cloud sprawl.

Having a unified cloud-delivery platform

Currently, enterprises and organizations are using multiple cloud platforms to serve their needs, and cloud sprawl is most common in these multicloud deployments. To overcome cloud sprawl without compromising the flexibility and benefits offered by the cloud, a unified cloud-delivery platform needs to be adapted. It provides an effective, organized, and even more comprehensive way to manage and secure various cloud services within an organization.
Having a unified cloud-delivery platform will also ensure ease-of-use, simplicity, flexibility, and performance across all instances, apps, resources, and devices in multicloud IT environments. There are several tools out there in the market for multicloud management solutions, providing a unified cloud-delivery platform.

Get on top and get over cloud sprawl

Although cloud sprawl is a situation that almost all IT companies and enterprises are becoming aware of, flexibility, low prices, and ease of use can lure enterprises to use more and more cloud services. To overcome cloud sprawl and its implications on the functioning and operations of an enterprise or an organization without sacrificing the benefits of the cloud itself, IT needs more comprehensive, easy-to-use, and efficient ways to organize, manage, and secure all cloud services. Finally, enterprises need to have a detailed overview of their business goals and operational processes before opting for cloud services.

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