The Headaches Of Multiple Cloud Services

IT professionals and users alike understand the benefits of cloud services. However, migrating several IT services to the cloud can create more pain than you might expect.

Arthur Chang

August 15, 2014

3 Min Read
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The many benefits of cloud IT services make their appeal widespread to enterprises large and small. In fact, today many enterprises are not debating whether they should migrate their IT services to the cloud, but how many IT services they should migrate. The availability of disparate types of cloud services -- from file sharing to communications and collaboration services -- means these discussions span across all areas of IT.

And while one cloud service may work well, and several may work great, the opposite can also be true when something goes wrong. Let's explore some of the real headaches that can occur when migrating multiple IT services to the cloud.

Headache 1: Inconsistent service attributes
While the features of each cloud service are important and have to be evaluated, there is a whole other side of them that IT must evaluate: service attributes. Service attributes include security, reliability, availability, scalability, quality of service (QoS), support, and service level agreements (SLAs). These seven attributes will determine how well a service will perform for its end-users. More importantly, they will determine how much time and energy will be required by IT resources to maintain the service. Ideally, you want to select cloud services that all meet or exceed your enterprise's seven service attribute requirements.

Headache 2: Crosstalk
You may run into the problem of inter-service "crosstalk," or cross-service interference. This can happen when multiple services compete for the same resource, such as bandwidth or network router processing power. Eventually one wins out, and the other services suffer in terms of actual operation or QoS. Service crosstalk can be virtually impossible to figure out, because the cloud providers in question are unlikely to understand the intricate inter-relationship of their service with the other service providers' services. Evaluate each service and its critical resource requirements. Be sure to match those to your enterprise's resources before adding the service.


NEXT PAGE: Headaches 3 & 4


Headache 3: Cloud services money pit
Each cloud service provider must charge a minimum monthly fee to cover its infrastructure costs. So be ready to understand those costs, or be ready to shell out the money! This redundant infrastructure cost can become excessive as the number of services and the number of providers increases. Understand what is included in each service and whether a single service provider can amortize those infrastructure costs over multiple services.

Headache 4: User friction frown
While single sign-on can alleviate a small portion of the redundant task "friction" caused by multiple IT services, keep in mind how much aggravation your users may experience. You could be introducing redundant email invitations for things like group audio/video conferences or web meetings, redundant group and contact management, and redundant event and user-setting configurations. Find services that minimize redundant tasks for your users.

Achieve multiple cloud service harmony
The advantages of moving your on-premises IT service to the cloud are compelling. Your enterprise can enjoy lower capital expenses, lower onsite management and upgrade costs, global service consistency, virtually unlimited scalability, and better support for remote and mobile workforces. This is why cloud vendors are delivering such a variety of IT services for enterprises to choose from.

However, once you start evaluating and moving multiple IT services to the cloud, there are more factors to review and understand so those services can be configured to play together well and your experience with the cloud remains a positive one. Once you address the challenges, multiple cloud services can work in harmony. That's music to an IT administrator's ears!

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