Why Managed Cloud Models Are Trending Up

eWEEK DATA POINTS: To keep an organization focused while still using cutting-edge open-source apps, organizations are outsourcing application management. They see this as a way to get access to app-specific talent, go to market faster and without hiring delays.

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Open-source cloud applications have gone mainstream. More companies are using open-source apps in business-critical software stacks, and the extent of reliance is gaining momentum. However, a common struggle comes up with many enterprise deployments: how to manage the operations of open-source applications in hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

Open-source operations are difficult due to the differing technical requirements for various apps. Even common workflows can include three or more open-source apps and must solve challenges such as: 

  • understanding application behavior; 
  • optimizing performance;
  • troubleshooting issues and bugs in real-time, and 
  • ensuring security with update patches and best practice.

This is all within the context of time-poor IT teams who need to remain efficient and productive.

To keep an organization focused while still using cutting-edge open-source apps, organizations are outsourcing application management. They see this as a way to get access to app-specific talent, go to market faster and without hiring delays. Naturally, organizations can be confident that experts are managing their critical infrastructure. 

While outsourcing is a great idea in principle, it often adds complexity. Vendors of management services are often highly specialized. They may manage a few apps on a subset of the cloud environments in use. Organizations need to then manage a patchwork of app managers, which creates confusion over responsibility and ultimately quality of the deployment.    

This is why an increasing number of companies are looking to have their cloud applications deployed and operated by a single entity as a fully managed service, regardless of where the apps run–Kubernetes, bare metal, public or private clouds. By delegating full management responsibility, of multiple apps and all cloud architectures, organizations can concentrate on their business while letting an expert third-party deal with the lifecycle management and performance monitoring of disparate apps across cloud types. Even better, rest assured that their cloud apps are covered by one SLA.

This eWEEK Data Points article uses industry information from Nilay Patel, product manager at Canonical, who presents five specific benefits of this approach. Canonical is the publisher of Ubuntu.

Data Point No. 1: Greater simplicity

According to O’Reilly’s “Cloud Adoption in 2020” survey, while public cloud dominates, most organizations use a mix of cloud options, and more than 50% have on-premises data centers. Deploying, maintaining and securing applications in a hybrid-cloud environment is a huge drain on IT teams. Enlisting different vendors to help tends to cause its own management, accountability, and cost headaches. By choosing a single partner, organizations can focus on the business value their apps deliver and stop worrying about all the moving parts of cloud management.

Data Point No. 2: Higher value use of IT teams

Cloud app management can be mundane, repetitive work. Is that really where organizations want to devote their expensive, hard-to-find IT specialists? There’s a feast-or-famine nature to cloud app management; team members may be overwhelmed at some points and underutilized at others. This also makes in-house cloud app management specialists a tricky investment.

By relying on a third party to handle these functions, companies can stop being concerned with lack of team experience and capacity. They can leverage best practices, and they can feel confident that all global regions are covered 24/7.

Data Point No. 3: Predictable OpEx

Unpredictability around operating expenses is an Achilles’ heel in cloud computing. Vendors charge per gigabyte of compute or RAM. That may work fine for renting space from a public cloud provider, but it becomes problematic with app management, since it’s unlikely the actual cost of managing an app will scale in the same way as compute and memory. This means organizations frequently overpay to have their cloud apps managed.

By going the managed route, organizations can benefit from predictable OpEx. They can enjoy per-node pricing that does not put limits on a node’s compute or memory while offering an SLA guarantee ensuring uptime, active monitoring and 24/7 response to alerts. This means companies can run their clouds economically without getting hit with hidden charges.

Data Point No. 4: Predictable app performance

A dedicated managed app provider uses cloud-native database and LMA (logging, monitoring and alerting) apps to actively monitor apps and make sure they are constantly adapting to changes in demand and performing well at critical times. Any issues are resolved in real time and apps can scale to demand and high availability by default.

Organizations that bring in a third party for managed apps still have visibility into their cloud’s health through a browser-based dashboard connected to the LMA stack.

Data Point No. 5: Security and bug fixing

Due to the pace of open source app development, it takes time and effort to make sure apps are up to date with the latest upstream open source releases. The same goes for tracking the plethora of open source apps–from different, hard-to-track GitHub repositories–that may need security patches. A managed app provider can add value by actively diagnosing and resolving bugs and security exposures.

Simplifying application management has become a crucial part of every organization's cloud strategy. As these five benefits show, bringing in a trusted vendor as a single point of contact for management across hybrid and multi-cloud architectures can make an organization efficient and confident in deploying new technologies.

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