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5 essential tools for managing hybrid cloud infrastructure

It's not just a matter of having the right tools; you must also use them correctly.
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Toolbox with everyday tools

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Many organizations are embracing change to accelerate their adoption of digitalization and modernization technology. These organizations are looking towards cost optimization, efficient automation, and hybrid or multicloud transformation to support them on their digital journey.

According to Flexera's 2021 State of the Cloud Report, 92% of respondents use two or more cloud providers, and 82% use public and private clouds. One of the major challenges for these organizations is gaining insights on how to use multicloud—both as their playground for innovation and as an extended data center for managing their operations and infrastructure seamlessly without compromising risk and governance.

In my role as a technologist, I interact with various financial services industry and telecom sector organizations in Singapore. The most common issue that executives of these organizations raise is, "While we want to move towards digitalization, we also need to manage our business-as-usual and legacy systems efficiently." This emphasizes that assessing digital readiness and incorporating a step-by-step approach using essential management tools play a crucial role in digitalization.

The operating system is a critical component for the hybrid cloud journey. Digitalization demands an enterprise-grade operating system that is secure, capable of operating across hybrid cloud environments, and provides a consistent layer. Choosing a standardized operating environment can improve productivity and decrease downtime caused by technical issues.

There are numerous tools available for managing hybrid and multicloud environments. This article focuses on the essential tools and how to adopt them.

1. Server administration tool

In a typical organization, the IT operations team manages the infrastructure. Developers have access to applications, tools, and platforms for application development and testing. Traditionally, ITops teams are "command-line heroes" who are very comfortable using the command-line interface (CLI) and terminal access.

In the modern infrastructure, more and more non-Unix users are adopting Linux. They need to be comfortable with systems management and access, which enable them to perform their jobs seamlessly and as effectively as they can with any other system.

To best equip your IT operations team with the right tools for system management, you'll want to include a strong and capable server administration tool in your enterprise architecture.

2. Security and package management

Managing operating environment repositories is a common challenge for organizations without a standard security and package management system. It is even more challenging for IT operations teams with a small group of people managing a large environment. Imagine what happens if the IT operations team has to quickly react to zero-day vulnerabilities and apply security patches over a large footprint of systems.

[ Be ready to work in this new landscape. Check out 6 must-read books for aspiring cloud architects. ]

While the hybrid cloud infrastructure offers the freedom of scalability, it is also important for organizations to maintain their systems' security and consistency so that they can address any security challenges swiftly, regardless of the underlying infrastructure. Having a tool within your architecture to manage patches and package management at a centralized and granular level across your infrastructure helps accelerate the journey towards digitalization with peace of mind.

3. Automation

By unifying your automation efforts into a single strategy, you can stop doing repetitive tasks manually so that you can instead spend time on innovation and more strategic initiatives.

Automation plays an important role in all the layers of the organization, and you need to speak a common language across it to be more efficient and effective. Simple automation starts with provisioning infrastructure, configuring systems, deploying applications, and handling complex tasks (like Day-2 operations such as DevOps, DevSecOps, NetOps, ITOps, compliance, and security automation) better. Automation can help an organization achieve its vision of digitalization and modernization in a safe and agile manner to sustain its place in a competitive market.

4. Predictive analytics

No organization wants to have unexpected incidents, unplanned outages, unknown issues, or security and compliance risks. This is why it's helpful to have a "genie" in your architecture that can proactively alert on potential failures in your systems.

Predictive analytics tools help organizations proactively identify and recognize potential threats, as well as provide guidance to remediate issues to avoid outages, unplanned downtime, and mitigate risks. These tools give a single and consistent management solution across on-premises, hybrid cloud, and public cloud footprints.

[ Don't miss An architect's guide to multicloud infrastructure. ]

Tools like Insights provide guidance on known issues, troubleshooting tips, and remediation through automation. Such tools help modernize your infrastructure management with analytics and automation that can save time and effort.

5. Hybrid cloud manager

With the growing demands of hybrid and multicloud deployment and modern applications moving towards containerization, it's becoming essential to manage the container platform orchestrated by Kubernetes seamlessly and effectively, as a single environment, regardless of the underlying infrastructure.

A hybrid cloud manager helps organizations:

  • Manage the lifecycle of multiple clusters regardless of the underlying platform (on-premises or public cloud), and allow users to create, update, and modify any Kubernetes resources across clusters from a single console.
  • Maintain governance risk based on compliance policies across clusters and provide alerts about any violations. It also enables you to set or enforce policies for security, infrastructure, and applications.
  • Deploy applications easily from different sources like GitHub and Helm, and make the application consistent across all the clusters. A hybrid cloud manager can simplify the application lifecycle and provide a single view of the application relationship map on the clusters.

Integrating automation tools with a hybrid cloud manager to perform pre- and post-tasks related to application deployment levels up the game in automation and management for hybrid and modern cloud.

Conclusion

"It is essential to have good tools, but it is also essential that the tools should be used in the right way."

Wallace D. Wattles

When essential tools are used effectively in an open source way, the journey towards innovation accelerates faster.


This article was adapted from a longer post on Linkedin and is republished with permission.

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Topics:   Cloud   Tools   Infrastructure  
Author’s photo

Chidambaram Muthupalaniappan

Chidam has 17+ years of experience in Enterprise IT Solutions and Consultancy for large-scale systems integration and consolidation. More about me

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