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Embrace automation in a hybrid cloud deployment: Free chapter

Hybrid cloud is complex, and while automation helps, it also presents new risks. This book by Clive Longbottom dives into the details cloud adopters should know.

Hybrid cloud is an optimal computing model for enterprises that want to maintain their on-premises infrastructure but also take advantage of public cloud. However, most IT teams aren't prepared for the management complexities that accompany a hybrid cloud deployment.

In his book, The Evolution of Cloud Computing: How to plan for change, Clive Longbottom, an IT consultant and TechTarget contributor, explained, among other topics, why hybrid cloud management can be such a challenge for enterprises.

A hybrid cloud deployment, for starters, requires application and data integration between the public cloud and an enterprise's on-premises systems. And resource management and monitoring in this complex architecture can become a major IT headache.

[Hybrid cloud] monitoring has to be across the whole platform. You can't monitor just a bit and hope the rest will work.
Clive Longbottom

"Your monitoring has to be across the whole platform," Longbottom said. "You can't monitor just a bit and hope the rest will work. And worse, what you don't want is to have different dashboards for each part of the total cloud platform," he said.

However, a true "single pane of glass" management tool for hybrid clouds is hard to come by. In many cases, admins will need to find a management platform that fits most of their organization's needs and then stitch it together with other tools to fill in the gaps.

The importance -- and risks – of cloud automation

Regardless of the management tool you ultimately choose, be sure that it supports automation -- a must-have feature in a hybrid cloud deployment. As described in Chapter 21 of The Evolution of Cloud Computing: "The chosen tool set must be focused around automation: The complexity of a hybrid cloud is too much for manual intervention to be used beyond emergency situations. Even where such emergency situations do arise, all actions must be captured and logged to ensure that there is continuity in the understanding of how the platform has been changed."

cloud automation
Review common cloud automation tasks.

However, users must also be careful not to assume that the efficiency of automation guarantees effectiveness, Longbottom said. One mistake or typo in an automation script can quickly cause disruption across a cloud environment -- something that AWS experienced in February 2017 that led to a major S3 outage.

For a successful automation strategy, Longbottom suggested enterprises run tests -- and then run them again for good measure.

"By putting in place the correct type of automation, along with DevOps, continuous development, continuous delivery and all the automation that goes along with that, then IT can become far more responsive to the business needs," he said.

To download Chapter 21 of The Evolution of Cloud Computing, "Monitoring, measuring and managing the cloud" -- go here.

Editor's note: The book referenced in this article is The Evolution of Cloud Computing: How to plan for change, authored by Clive Longbottom, published by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT in Dec. 2017, ISBN: 9781780173580.

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