One of the issues that many IT organizations are soon going to find themselves dealing with is "cloud sprawl." Because it's relatively easy to set up an account with any number of cloud computing service providers, IT organizations may soon find themselves managing application workloads across many different services.
At the same time, those organizations are just as likely to have an instance of private cloud computing under development, which may be running on premise or in a third-party data center.
In many ways, says Kent Christensen, virtualization practice manager for Datalink, a provider of IT services and consulting, "cloud sprawl" is going to be similar to what IT organizations are experiencing with virtual machine sprawl today, except on a much grander scale.
While there is much to be gained from cloud computing in terms of IT agility for the business, it's pretty clear that without some mechanism in place to manage cloud computing, the probability that the organization is contracting redundant sets of cloud computing services increases with the signing of each new contract.
Christensen says that one of the smartest things an IT organization can do at this juncture is simply align their teams in a way that allows them to prioritize what cloud computing projects need to be done first. If possible, Christensen says that for the long term the IT organization is better off building its own private cloud on premise first if for no other reason than to gain the experience and the fact that they should be able to deliver private cloud computing services on premise less expensively than a third-party provider over any extended period of time. The challenge, says Christensen, is making sure that the IT organization has the internal skills to successfully take on such a project.
What Christensen is really getting at is that IT organizations need to be a lot more proactive about cloud computing. A reactive approach is only going to wind up with a loss of IT control, which is likely to have disastrous effects on both the organization as a whole and the IT professionals who work for it.