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The Management Gap with Business Cloud Apps By @Exoprise | @CloudExpo [#Cloud]
Organizations are beginning to realize how profoundly cloud-centric IT architecture differs from legacy on-premise architectures

SaaS and cloud computing continue to gain real traction in the enterprise - and that trend is sure to continue for a long time to come. But the reality is that, to date, those gaining real benefit from cloud at the enterprise level have been limited largely to isolated pockets; e.g., software development and operations teams leveraging Infrastructure and Platform as a Service (IaaS and PaaS) to slash costs and improve agility; sales teams licensing their own SaaS CRM systems; or lines of business "going rogue" and sidestepping IT by using apps like Dropbox to facilitate easier file sharing inside and outside the company.

In my view, there are still some fundamental obstacles to widespread adoption of cloud apps - the two biggest being security concerns and a lack of confidence in app/service performance and availability. Recently my company conducted a study asking IT teams about their current and planned use of cloud apps and services within their organizations. The full results are published here, but a few particular points stood out:

  • Less than 20% of the survey respondents felt that their existing tools were doing a good job managing their cloud-based apps. The rest were at best ambivalent about their existing tools with more than 20% feeling that their existing tools just aren't up to the task.
  • More than 40% of the respondents had no tools at all to monitor and manage their cloud apps.

How is this possible? The Systems Management software market is mature and solutions from Microsoft, HP, CA, and BMC have been on the market for years. A look at their portfolios shows a wide range of sophisticated tools to manage everything from software distribution, to monitoring, to IT workflow and Help Desk activities. Surely these tools should be able to effectively manage cloud-based apps and services.

As it turns out, they don't.

Figure 1: What are your biggest concerns that are impacting your adoption of cloud apps and services?

IT teams adopting cloud apps often find themselves in a challenging position. Their users and business management still look to them to "own" application availability and performance even though they no longer own the application hosting environment. The tools that they have used to manage their on-premise applications don't give them the same visibility and control in the cloud. Most of these tools have evolved alongside the on-premise applications, operating systems, server and network infrastructure they have been used to managing. These tools have relied on direct access to servers, network equipment and log files, and APIs are unable to effectively support cloud apps and services that do not expose those interfaces. Network management tools address part of the problem by focusing on network health, but they too are often limited in their visibility outside the company firewall and are generally unable to provide insight into application/service health.

Figure 2: What tools are you using today to monitor and manage your cloud-based apps and services?

As they adopt more cloud applications and services, organizations are beginning to realize how profoundly a cloud-centric IT architecture differs from their legacy on-premise architectures and, with that, how different their management and monitoring needs will be going forward.

For businesses to fully embrace the cloud they will need management tools that are designed from the ground up to support the remote, distributed nature of cloud apps and services. We see this one of the primary challenges for mass adoption of cloud apps and services.

Figure 3: How well do the tools you use address your cloud app monitoring and management needs?

About Patrick Carey
Patrick Carey is vice president of product management and marketing for Exoprise, a provider of cloud-based monitoring and enablement solutions for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications. He spends his free time thinking about how companies can get to the cloud faster and stay there longer.

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