How Total Deployment Intelligence Overcomes the Growing Complexity Of Multicloud Management
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How Total Deployment Intelligence
Overcomes the Growing Complexity
Of Multicloud Management
A discussion on how new tools, processes, and methods bring insights and actionable
analysis to help regain control over hybrid cloud and multicloud sprawl.
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. Sponsor: Hewlett
Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to the next edition of the BriefingsDirect Voice of
the Innovator podcast series. I’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor
Solutions, your host and moderator for this ongoing discussion on the latest in IT
Our next discussion focuses on the growing complexity around multicloud management.
We will now explore how greater accountability is needed to improve business impacts
from all-too-common haphazard cloud adoption.
Stay with us as we hear how new tools, processes, and methods are bringing insights
and actionable analysis to help regain control over hybrid cloud and multicloud sprawl.
Here to help us explore a more pragmatic path to
modern IT deployment management is Harsh Singh,
Director of Product Management for Hybrid Cloud
Products and Solutions at Hewlett Packard Enterprise
(HPE). Welcome to BriefingsDirect, Harsh.
Harsh Singh: Thanks a lot, Dana. I’m happy to be
Gardner: What is driving the need for multicloud at
all? Why are people choosing multiple clouds and
Singh: That’s a very interesting question, especially
today. However, you have to step back and think
about why people went to the cloud in the first place – and what were the drivers – to
understand how sprawl expanded to a multicloud environment.
Initially, when people began moving to public cloud services, the idea was speed, agility,
and quick access to resources. IT was in the way for gaining on-premises resources.
People said, “Let me get the work going and let me deploy things faster.”
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From cloud sprawl to cloud smart
And they were able to quickly launch applications, and this increased their velocity and
time-to-market. Cloud helped them get there very fast. However, as we now get choices
of multicloud environments, where you have various public cloud environments, you also
now have private cloud environments where people can do similar things on-premises.
There came a time when people realized, “Oh, certain applications fit in certain places
better than others.”
For example, if I want to run a serverless environment, I might want to run in one cloud
provider versus another. But if I want to run more machine learning (ML), artificial
intelligence (AI) kinds of functionality, I might want to run that somewhere else. And if I
have a big data requirement, with a lot of data to crunch, I might want to run that on-
So you now have more choices to make. People are thinking about where’s the best
place to run their applications. And that’s where multicloud comes in. However, this
doesn’t come for free, right?
As you add more cloud environments and different tools, it leads to what we call tool
sprawl. You now have people tying all of these tools together trying to figure out the cost
of these different environments. Are they in compliance with the various norms we have
within our organization? Now it becomes very complex very fast. It becomes a
management problem in terms of, “How do I manage all of these environments
How to Determine
Ideal Workload Placement
Gardner: It’s become too much of a good thing. There are very good reasons to do
cloud, hybrid cloud, and multicloud. But there hasn’t been a rationalization about how to
go about it in an organizational way that’s in the best interest of the overall business. It
seems like a rethinking of how we go about deploying IT in general needs to be part of it.
Singh: Absolutely right. I see three pillars that need
to be addressed in terms of looking at this
complexity and managing it well. Those are people,
process, and technology. Technology exists, but
unfortunately, unless you have the right skill set in
the people -- and you have the right processes in
place -- it’s going to be the Wild West. Everything is
just going to be crazy. At the end you falter, not
achieving what you really want to achieve.
There are three pillars that
need to be addressed in
terms of looking at this
complexity and managing it
well. Those are people,
process, and technology.
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I look at people, process, and technology as the three pillars of this sprawl tool, which is
absolutely necessary for any company as they traverse their multicloud journey.
Gardner: This is a long-term, thorny problem. And it’s probably going to get worse
before it gets better.
Singh: I do see it getting worse, but I also see a lot of people beginning to address
these problems. Vendors, including we at HPE, are looking at this problem. We are
trying to get ahead of it before a lot of enterprises crash and burn. We have experience
with our customers, and we have engaged with them to help them on this journey.
It is going to get worse and people are going to realize that they need professional help.
It requires that we work with these customers very closely and take them along based on
what we have experienced together.
How to Transform
The Traditional Datacenter
Gardner: Are you taking the approach that the solution for hybrid cloud management
and multicloud management can be done in the same way? Or are they fundamentally
Singh: Fundamentally, it’s the same problem set. You must deploy the applications to
the right places that are right for your business -- whether it’s multicloud or hybrid cloud.
Sometimes the terminology blurs. But at the end of the day, you have to manage
You may be connecting private or off-premises hybrid clouds, and maybe there are
different clouds. The problem will be the same -- you have multiple tools, multiple
environments, and the people need training and the processes need to be in place for
them to operate properly.
Gardner: What makes me optimistic about the solution is there might be a fourth leg on
that stool. People, process, and technology, yes, but I think there is also economics.
One of the things that really motivates a business to change is when money is being lost
and the business people think there is a way to resolve that.
The economics issue -- about cost overruns and a lack of discipline around procurement
– is both a part of the problem and the solution.
Economics elevates visibility
Singh: I am laughing right now because I have talked to so many customers about this.
A CIO from an entertainment media company, for example, recently told me she had a
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problem. They had a cloud-first strategy, but they didn’t look at the economics piece of it.
She didn’t realize, she told me, where their virtual machines (VMs) and workloads were
“At the end of the month, I’m seeing hundreds of thousands of dollars in bills. I am being
surprised by all of this stuff,” she said. “I don’t even know whether they are in
compliance. The overhead of these costs -- I don’t know how to get a handle on it.”
So this is a real problem that customers are facing. I have heard this again and again:
They don’t have visibility into the environment. They don’t know what’s being utilized.
Sometimes they are underutilized, sometimes they are over utilized. And they don’t
know what they are going to end up paying at the end of the day.
A common example is, in a public cloud, people will launch a very large number of VMs
because that’s what they are used to doing. But they consume maybe 10 to 20 percent
of that. What they don’t realize is that they are paying for the whole bill. More visibility is
going to become key to getting a handle on the economics of these things.
How to Better Manage
Hybrid and Multicloud Economics
Gardner: We have seen these kinds of problems before in general business
procurement. Many times it’s the Wild West, but then they bring it under control. Then
they can negotiate better rates as they combine services and look for redundancies. But
you can’t do that until you know what you’re using and how it costs.
So, is the first step getting an inventory of where your cloud deployments are, what the
true costs are, and then start to rationalize them?
Guardrails reduce risk, increase innovation
Singh: Absolutely, right. That’s where you start, and at HPE we have services to do
that. The first thing is to understand where you are. Get a base level of what is on-
premises, what is off-premises, and which applications are required to run where. What’s
the footprint that I require in these different places? What is the overall cost I’m incurring,
and where do I want to be? Answering those questions is the first step to getting a mixed
environment you can control -- and get away from the Wild West.
Put in the compliance guardrails so that IT is again looking at avoiding the problems we
are seeing today.
Gardner: As a counterpoint, I don’t think that IT wants to be perceived as the big bad
killjoy that comes to the data scientists and says, “You can’t get those clusters to support
the data environment that you want.” So how do you balance that need for governance,
security, and cost control with not stifling innovation and allowing creative freedom?
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Singh: That’s a very good question. When we
started building out our managed cloud solutions,
a key criterion was to provide the guardrails yet
not stifle innovation for the line of business
managers and developers. The way you do that is
that you don’t become the man in the middle. The
idea is you allow the line of businesses and
developers to access the resources they need. However, you put guardrails around
which resources they can access, how much they can access, and you provide visibility
into the budgets. You still let them access the direct APIs of the different multicloud
You don’t say, “Hey, you have to put in a request to us to do these things.” You have to
be more behind-the-scenes, hidden from view. At the same time, you need to provide
those budgets and those controls. Then they can perform their tasks at the speed they
want and access to the resources that they need -- but within the guardrails, compliance,
and the business requirements that IT has.
Gardner: Now that HPE has been on the vanguard of creating the tools and methods to
get the necessary insights, make the measurements, recognize the need for balance
between control and innovation -- have you noticed changes in organizational patterns?
Are there now centers of cloud excellence or cloud-management bureaus? Does there
need to be a counterpart to the tools, of management structure changes as well?
Automate, yet hold hands, too
Singh: This is the process and the people parts that you want to address. How do you
align your organizations, and what are the things that you need to do there? Some of our
customers are beginning to make those changes, but organizations are difficult to
change to get on this journey. Some of them are early; some of them are at much later
stage. A lot of the customers frankly are still in the early phases of multicloud and hybrid
cloud. We are working with them to make sure they understand the changes they’ll need
to make in order to function properly in this new world.
Gardner: Unfortunately, these new requirements come at a time when cloud
management skills -- of understanding data and ops, IT and ops, and cloud and ops --
are hard to find and harder to keep. So one of the things I’m seeing is the adoption of
automation around guidance, strategy, and analysis. The systems start to do more for
you. Tell me how automation is coming to bear on some of these problems, and perhaps
mitigate the skill shortage issues.
Singh: The tools can only do so much. So you automate. You make sure the
infrastructure is automated. You make sure your access to public cloud -- or any other
cloud environment -- is automated.
You put guardrails around
which resources they can
access, how much they can
access, and you provide
visibility into the budgets.
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That can mitigate some of the problems, but I still see a need for handholding from time
to time in terms of the process and people. That will still be required. Automation will
help tie in a storage network, and compute, and you can put all of that together. This
[composability] reduces the need and
dependency on some of the process and
people. Automation mitigates the physical
labor and the need for someone to take
days to do it. However, you need that
expertise to understand what needs to be
done. And this is where HPE is helping.
You might have heard about our HPE GreenLake managed cloud services offerings. We
are moving toward an as-a-service model for a lot of our software and tooling. We are
using the automation to help customers fill the expertise gap. We can offer more of a
managed service by using automation tools underneath it to make our tasks easier. At
the end of the day, the customer only sees an outcome or an experience -- versus
worrying about the details of how these things work.
Gardner: Let’s get back to the problem of multicloud management. Why can't you just
use the tools that the cloud providers themselves provide? Maybe you might have
deployments across multiple clouds, but why can’t you use the tools from one to manage
more? Why do we need a neutral third-party position for this?
Singh: Take a hypothetical case: I have deployments in Amazon Web Services (AWS)
and I have deployments in Google Cloud Platform (GCP). And to make things more
complicated, I have some workloads on premises as well. How would I go about tying
these things together?
Now, if I go to AWS, they are very, very opinionated on AWS services. They have no
interest in looking at builds coming out of GCP or Microsoft Azure. They are focused on
their services and what they are delivering. The reality is, however, that customers are
using these different environments for different things.
The multiple public cloud providers don’t have an interest in managing other clouds or to
look at other environments. So third parties come in to tie everything together, and no
one customer is locked into one environment.
If they go to AWS, for example, they can only look at billing, services, and performance
metrics of that one service. And they do a very good job. Each one of these cloud guys
does a very good job of exposing their own services and providing you visibility into their
own services. But they don’t tie it across multiple environments. And especially if you
throw the on-premises piece into the mix, it’s very difficult to look at and compare costs
across these multiple environments.
Gardner: When we talk about on-premises, we are not just talking about the difference
between your data center and a cloud provider’s data center. We are also taking about
the difference between a traditional IT environment and the IT management tools that
Automation mitigates the physical
labor and the need for someone to
take days to do it. However, you
need that expertise to understand
what needs to be done.
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came out of that. How has HPE crossed the chasm between a traditional IT
management automation and composability types of benefits and the higher-level,
Tying worlds together
Singh: It’s a struggle to tie these worlds together from my experience, and I have been
doing this for some time. I have seen customers spend months and sometimes years,
putting together a solution from various vendors, tying them together, and deploying
something on premises and also trying to tie that to an off-premises environment.
At HPE, we fundamentally changed how on-premises and off-premises environments
are managed by introducing our own SaaS management environment, which customers
do not have to manage. Such a Software as a Service (SaaS) environment, a portal,
connects on-premises environments. Since we have a native, programmable, API-driven
infrastructure, we were able to connect that. And being able to drive it from the cloud
itself made it very easy to hook up to other
cloud providers like AWS, Azure, and
GCP. This capability ties the two worlds
together. As you build out the tools, the key
is understanding automation on the
infrastructure piece, and how can you
connect and manage this from a
centralized portal that ties all these things
together with a click.
Through this common portal, people can onboard their multicloud environments, get
visibility into their costs, get visibility into compliance -- look at whether they are HIPAA
compliant or not, PCI compliant or not -- and get access to resources that allow them to
begin to manage these environments.
For example, onboarding into any public cloud is very, very complex. Setting up a private
cloud is very complex. But today, with the software that we are building, and some of our
customers are using, we can set up a private cloud environment for people within hours.
All you have to do is connect with our tools like HPE OneView and other things that we
have built for the infrastructure and automation pieces. You then tie that together to a
public cloud-facing tenant portal and onboard that with a few clicks. We can connect with
their public cloud accounts and give them visibility into their complete environment.
How to Solve Cost and Utilization
Challenges of Hybrid Cloud
And then we can bring in cost analytics. We have consumption analytics as part of our
HPE GreenLake offering, which allows us to look at cost for on-premises as well as off-
As you build out the tools, the key
is understanding automation on the
infrastructure piece, and how can
you connect and manage this from
a centralized portal that ties all
these things together with a click.
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premises resources. You can get a dashboard that shows you what you are consuming
Gardner: That level of management and the capability to be distributed across all these
different deployment models strikes me as a gift that could keep on giving. Once you
have accomplished this and get control over your costs, you are next able to rationalize
what cloud providers to use for which types of workloads. It strikes me that you can then
also use that same management and insight to start to actually move things around
based on a dynamic or even algorithmic basis. You can get cost optimization on the fly.
You can react to market forces and dynamics in terms of demand on your servers or on
your virtual machines anywhere.
Are you going to be able to accelerate the capability for people to move their fungible
workloads across different clouds, both hybrid and multicloud?
Optimizing for the future
Singh: Yes, absolutely right. There is more complexity in terms of moving workloads
here and there, because there is data proximity requirements and various other
requirements. But the optimization piece is absolutely something we can do on the fly,
especially if you start throwing AI into the mix.
You will be learning over time what needs to be deployed where, and where your data
gravity might be, and where you need applications closer to the data. Sometimes it’s
here, sometimes it’s there. You might have edge environments that you might want to
manage from this common portal, too. All that can be brought together.
And then with those insights, you can make optimization decisions: “Hey, this application
is best deployed in this location for these reasons.” You can even automate that. You
can make that policy-driven.
Think about it this way -- you are a person
who wants to deploy something. You
request a resource, and that gets deployed
for you based on the algorithm that has
already decided where the optimal place to
put it is. All of that works behind the scenes
without you having to really think about it.
That’s the world we are headed to.
Gardner: We have talked about some really interesting subjects at a high level, even
some thought leadership involved. But are there any concrete examples that illustrate
how companies are already starting to do this? What kinds of benefits do they get?
You request a resource, and that
gets deployed for you based on the
algorithm that has already decided
where the optimal place to put it is.
All of that works behind the scenes.
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Singh: I won’t name the company, but there was a business in the UK that was able to
deploy VMs within minutes on their on-premises environment, as well as gain cost
benefits out of their AWS deployments.
We were able to go in, connect to their VMware environment, in this case, and allow
them to deploy VMs. We were up and running in two hours. Then they could optimize for
their developers to deploy VMs and request resources in that environment. They saved
40 percent in operational efficiency. So now they were mostly cost optimized, their IT
team was less pressured to go and launch VMs for their developers, and they gained
direct self-service access through which they could go and deploy VMs and other
At the same time, IT had the visibility into what was being deployed in the public cloud
environments. They could then optimize those environments for the size of the VMs and
assets they were running there and gain some cost advantages there as well.
How to Achieve Composability
Across Your Datacenter
Gardner: For organizations that recognize they have a sprawl problem when it comes
to cloud, that their costs are not being optimized, but that they are still needing to go
about this at sort of a crawl, walk, run level -- what should they be doing to put
themselves in an advantageous position to be able to take advantage of these tools?
Are there any precursor activities that companies should be thinking about to get control
over their clouds, and then be able to better leverage these tools when the time comes?
Watch your clouds
Singh: Start with visibility. You need an inventory of
what you are doing. And then you need to ask the
question, “Why?” What benefit are you getting from
these different environments? Ask that question, and
then begin to optimize. I am sure there are very good
reasons for using multicloud environments, and many
customers do. I have seen many customers use it, and
for the right reasons.
However, there are other people who have struggled because there was no governance
and guardrails around this. There were no processes in place. They truly got into a
sprawled environment, and they didn’t know what they didn’t know.
So first and foremost, get an idea of what you want to do and where you are today -- get
a baseline. And then, understand the impact and what are the levers to the cost. What
are the drivers to the efficiencies? Make sure you understand the people and process --
You need to ask the
question, “Why?” What
benefit are you getting
from these different
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more than the technology, because the technology does exist, but you need to make
sure that your people and process are aligned.
And then lastly, call me. My phone is open. I am happy to have a talk with any customer
that wants to have a talk.
Gardner: On that note of the personal approach, people who are passionate in an
organization around things like efficiency and cost control are looking for innovation.
Where do you see the innovation taking place for cloud management? Is it the IT Ops
people, the finance people, maybe procurement? Where is the innovative thinking
around cloud sprawl manifesting itself?
Singh: All three are good places for
innovation. I see IT Ops at the center of the
innovation. They are the ones who will be
Finance and procurement, they could benefit from these changes, and they could be
drivers of the requirements. They are going to be saying, ‘I need to do this differently
because it doesn’t work for me.” And the innovation also comes from developers and
line of businesses managers who have been doing this for a while and who understand
what they really need.
Gardner: I’m afraid we’ll have to leave it there. We have been exploring the growing
complexity around multicloud management and how greater accountability is needed
around costs and business impacts due to what is all too often haphazard cloud
And we have learned about new tools, processes, and methods that bring additional
insights, visibility, and ultimately actionable analysis to help regain control over
So please join me in thanking our guest, Harsh Singh, Director of Product Management
for Hybrid Cloud Products and Solutions at HPE. Thank you, Harsh.
Singh: Thank you very much, Dana. It was a pleasure.
Gardner: And a big thank you as well to our audience for joining us for this
BriefingsDirect Voice of the Innovator interview. I’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at
Interarbor Solutions, your host for this ongoing series of Hewlett Packard Enterprise-
Thanks again for listening! Please pass this along to your IT community, and do come
back next time.
Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Download the transcript. Sponsor: Hewlett
I see IT Ops at the center of the
innovation. They are the ones
who will be effecting change.
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A discussion on how new tools, processes, and methods bring insights and actionable analysis
to help regain control over hybrid cloud and multicloud sprawl. Copyright Interarbor Solutions,
LLC, 2005-2019. All rights reserved.
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