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How does visibility help with the uncertainty of handing data to a cloud provider?

Q:

How does visibility help with the uncertainty of handing data to a cloud provider?

A:

When it comes time to migrate to the cloud by augmenting on-premises systems with cloud services from vendors, having good visibility can be the key to efficiency and ease-of-use, return on investment and ultimately, performance.

One way that visibility helps is by allowing project managers, executives and other stakeholders to understand how applications and systems are served in a cloud environment. One way to evaluate this is by comparing on-premises and cloud systems. Another way is to apply benchmarking tools to each part of the system in a consistent and detailed way. Visibility into workloads ensures that decision-makers see how vCPU utilization works, how resources like memory are allocated, and whether current configurations support a desired state. By pinpointing where VMs and hosts are, stakeholders can make sure they are being served well to perform well, and avoid issues like VM sprawl, where lack of scrutiny into different parts of the system can end up driving redundancy or inefficiency.

One of the best resources is an autonomic system that brings a fundamental level of visibility and control to cloud-run processes. Autonomic systems adjust cloud configurations according to dynamic demand, but they also provide a level of visibility that’s vitally useful in administrating hybrid cloud systems.

Another way that visibility helps relates to risk management. Visibility in contract language allows buyers to understand the security ramifications of cloud-delivered services. As far back as 2013, Gartner estimated that 80 percent of buyers had issues with software-as-a-service contract language and suggested that ambiguous contract terms cause confusion about data confidentiality, security and risk mitigation support. That’s a different kind of lack of transparency, but one that’s very relevant in figuring out how to actually benefit from cloud services.

Visibility, then, comes in the form of clearer and more transparent contracts, as well as more effective tracking systems that can show utilization of resources, sizing of virtual machines, and also, overall costs. A key dashboard or resource for visibility might help break down vendor costs such as multi-cloud AWS contract costs in ways that decision-makers can understand. All of the above contributes to a more capable use of cloud vendor offerings, and a higher degree of confidence in cloud solutions.

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Written by Justin Stoltzfus
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Justin Stoltzfus is a freelance writer for various Web and print publications. His work has appeared in online magazines including Preservation Online, a project of the National Historic Trust, and many other venues.
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