Develop processes to avoid cloud server sprawl

Business users are enthusiastic about moving information into the cloud, and many are doing so without the approval of IT departments, creating a chaotic environment for CIOs to manage. To manage the sprawl that arises from users making rogue cloud adoptions, organizations may need to outline new, more carefully defined strategies for enterprise storage.
A recent Symantec survey of IT managers in 29 countries found that 94 percent of companies are either already using cloud services or discussing how to do so. However, employees are not necessarily waiting for a defined plan: Three-quarters of companies using cloud are saddled with rogue adoptions, in which departments begin using cloud tools such as Salesforce or Dropbox without consulting with IT.
The effect of these rogue adoptions is that companies are losing track of where their data resides, the study found. Forty-three percent of IT managers using cloud-based services said they had lost data in the cloud, meaning they either could not find it or had accidentally deleted it. Additionally, a lack of a coherent cloud strategy is leading many organizations to provision far more storage than they need, with average worldwide utilization rates for cloud storage sitting at just 17 percent. As a result, companies are paying roughly six times more than they need to for storage.
“They’re overprovisioning cloud storage,” said Dave Elliott, a cloud strategist at Symantec, according to CIO Online.
Elliott noted that the current environment is not allowing companies to optimize the benefits of such solutions. He recommended handling this problem by instituting better upfront planning and more thinking about cloud storage processes.


Creating an enterprise storage management plan


Other experts have advised a similar approach for tackling inefficiencies. A recent InformationWeek article explained that the root cause of cloud sprawl is often due to a lack of oversight of what servers are in use. In many cases, virtual servers allocated for departmental projects are never reclaimed once they are no longer being used, leaving them to sit idle. As a result, IT professionals believe there is no available storage and deny departmental requests, driving users to find their own cloud computing solutions.


To avoid this type of scenario, organizations can strategically plan a cloud approach that is tailored to their needs, InformationWeek explained. They must determine where cloud solutions will reside and assign someone to control any potential clutter. Key to this process is choosing a solution that is customized for the individual business.


“Whether it is public, private or hybrid, the cloud should be tailored to the company’s specific business needs, because the cloud is not a one-size-fits-all opportunity,” InformationWeek’s Sue Tabbitt wrote.


Organizations can improve their strategic planning by working with third-party IT consulting services to develop a custom approach to infrastructure design. Since specific storage management needs will vary by organization, working with a provider that has experience in creating tailored solutions will provide an advantage for handling cloud sprawl.