Graeme O'driscoll
Graeme O'driscoll Head: Software Engineering

Managing IT workloads in the cloud effectively can be challenging for a variety of reasons, not least of which is the inherent complexity of using multiple cloud providers or platforms. On the face of it, the logical way around that is to use a single cloud environment for all workloads – which, in reality, ends up being wildly cost-ineffective, suboptimal for performance and fraught with problems. But that isn’t to say the challenges that come with managing IT workloads are insurmountable – in fact, the solutions might be simpler than you’d think.

man working on a computer

In this blog, we’ll look at the five workload management problems most often faced by IT managers, and what you can do to overcome them.

  • A lack of visibility

Keeping track of your IT workloads should not be difficult. And yet, idle workloads go unnoticed, others are unnecessarily stressed, and ad hoc work goes missing. If that wasn’t enough of a conundrum for IT staff to solve, they somehow need a system of monitoring and managing a variety of workload types, often strewn across multiple clouds, without eating into time reserved for multiple daily responsibilities.

An aggregated cloud interface is the ideal solution, as it enables IT staff to view and manage workloads across all cloud providers, platforms, constructs and even individual machines. In doing so, the IT department is not only empowered with the tools necessary to locate underused or idle workloads, but it eliminates mismanagement of workloads, improves load balance and puts an end to IT sprawl.

  • Keeping track of costing

Achieving optimal performance and the best possible price for each IT workload often requires them to be spread out over a number of service providers, platforms and geographical locations. But this can make managing costs more difficult and time-consuming, often leading to multiple invoices – with different formats, rate sheets and costing preferences – for the financial team to decipher. This doesn’t only add unnecessary work for your finance team, it increases the chance of invoices being paid incorrectly or slipping through the cracks altogether.

In order to address this, a consolidated view of all cost elements is required. This is most easily achieved through a single platform – ideally, one that uses the same format and terminology for all the different providers – as well as the ability to compare current costs to historical data. This will enable businesses to spot inefficiencies easily, identify irregularities and reduce the amount of time and resources required to handle the whole process.

  • Maintaining and growing existing resources

If there’s one rule in today’s digital business environments, it’s that things change – quickly. In order to accommodate for those changes, businesses need to retain highly skilled engineers, that are equipped to handle the diverse requirements of multiple cloud environments. Sometimes, however, you’re going to lose those people, as they become increasingly sought after.

A single unified platform for all cloud environments not only allows new IT staff to take the reins more easily, but makes it easier for your existing staff to do their jobs well, and decreases the chance of them leaving for greener pastures.

  • Agile responsiveness in the face of market or workplace disruption

Without agile, adaptive tools, businesses are unable to respond to disruptive competitors, new customer demands or employee needs. In much the same way, cloud platforms need to be agile enough to accommodate changes to IT workloads, the development of new workloads, or for current workloads to be spun up or down in response to your business’ changing needs.

Doing so needs to be as streamlined as possible, without removing control of the process from businesses. This will also go a long way towards minimising the instance of shadow IT, born out of the inability to meet customer and client demands through existing processes, or enable new functionality for employees by circumventing organisational rules or best practices.

  • Governance, risk and compliance on cue

Customers and clients expect problems to be detected before they ever occur. For example, they find it simply unacceptable that their personal information was leaked because an environment chosen to host a particular IT workload wasn’t as secure as expected – and not without reason. The results? Lost customers, distrust and even class action lawsuits – all of which can be devastating to a business’ reputation and bottom line. Generally, a lack of central audit visibility leads to an inability to accurately assess present risks. The ability to enforce the correct level of governance sounds simple enough – to have a level of auditing that identifies policies gone awry, or to ensure that policies are correctly applied. But in reality, few service providers can cater to these needs – make sure that you find yourself on the side of one who can.

If you’d like to find out more about how the right tools can make all the difference to workload management in your organisation, download our free 5-step guide to IT department budget development today.

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