Yesterday I was running through the Amazon Web Services re:Invent 2019 events catalog, busily reserving seats for what promises to be a packed house, when I ran across this admonition that introduced a session on backup in the cloud:
“According to recent studies, 84 percent of cloud administrators assume that the cloud provider is responsible for backing up cloud data. But the truth is that data protection is a matter of administration.”
In other words, what you might have thought being protected in the cloud really isn’t your responsibility unless you—the customer—take a proactive role and fulfill your normal IT administrative function as you would within the four walls of your on premises data center. Risk of data loss? No sanctuary in the cloud. This becomes ever more critical with the acceleration of cloud storage growth.
I’m also seeing a similar set of assumptions when it comes to storage resource management. Take for example the migration of data from on premises storage systems to the cloud. The assumption is that the often considerable burden of managing storage systems is off-loaded to the cloud services provider. Their people do the updates, the patches and all the other endlessly repetitive administrivia that keeps the infrastructure lights on. And that’s true. But what about performance optimization? What about managing the cost of accelerating cloud storage usage? What about all of the other things IT administrators do to assure application availability while mitigating risk?
It is important for enterprise IT to recognize what the cloud does and doesn’t do because this delineation informs the ongoing evaluation and comparison of cost. Take the data protection issue for example. When comparing the costs of public cloud vs on premises storage, is the cost of data protection – an essential storage management function – also taken into consideration?
Aside from data protection, another much broader area where IT administrators are essentially on their own without the help of a public cloud provider is in managing multiple cloud environments. It is now common for enterprise IT to be making long term commitments to both AWS and Microsoft Azure public cloud services – each for different reasons and application considerations. Doing so doubles the load on IT administrators. But do they yet know the cost in terms of staff time and expertise for making those commitments?
I recently did a study of Cloud Management Platforms from large software vendors such as VMware’s vRealize Suite as well as startup vendor offering such as the one from Morpheus Data. These are a new breed of cloud-focused, automated management and orchestration tools. As enterprise IT operations staff expand their responsibilities into the cloud, they look to managing cloud resources under the same policy, procedural, and governance expectations as they would for their on-premises environments. Cognizant of that, Cloud Management Platform vendors offer tools to ease the load. Here is a partial list of what they offer:
· Cost Management
· Resource Optimization
· User Management
· Application Migration
· Usage Analysis and Reporting
As enterprise IT advances their public cloud usage, these are all disciplines that should now be applied across multiple clouds. Yes, there are tools to help, but responsibility for making sure they get done – like the one for data protection – ultimately rests in the hands of enterprise IT.