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IT teams are starting to conclude that cloud automation has become too much of a good thing. A global survey of 535 IT leaders conducted by Broadcom finds that more than 81 percent have multiple cloud automation solutions in place, with 70 percent noting significant challenges. These challenges include increased time to automate (59 percent), time to report (52 percent), and time to remediation (52 percent). Many noted experiencing higher costs as well (49 percent). In addition, 46 percent say it’s more difficult to troubleshoot IT environments, while 41 percent had multiple tools increase compliance risks.

The survey also finds that too many automation platforms slow down software delivery (37 percent), which can also contribute to the over-provisioning of IT environments (32 percent).

As a result, more than three-quarters (78 percent) are moving to consolidate cloud automation tools and platforms. However, only 8 percent of those respondents report achieving that goal. In fact, it’s not likely most of them ever will.

IT politics are responsible

The main reason for this comes down to internal IT politics. Each department within an IT organization tends to prefer one platform over another, including the automation tools provided. Instead of expending political capital on trying to convince the unwilling to adhere to a single standard, the better part of valor is to employ an automation framework that essentially acts as the manager of managers.

Most IT teams, however, lack the expertise needed to integrate all the various islands of automation that exist, so naturally, this creates an opportunity for managed service providers (MSPs). Instead of building, deploying, and maintaining an automation framework, it makes more sense for organizations to leverage an external service as IT environments become more complex. Internal IT teams already find themselves managing a wide range of cloud computing environments, including software-as-a-service applications (57 percent), legacy applications that have been lifted into the cloud (56 percent), new cloud-native applications (46 percent), and legacy applications that have been refactored for the cloud (41 percent).

Overall, it’s clear that hybrid cloud computing environments are becoming more expensive to manage with each passing day. Fortunately for MSPs, when organizations encounter economic headwinds, there’s always interest in consuming IT-as-a-service. That’s especially true if that service ultimately enables an organization to reduce the total IT cost by reducing the overall headcount required to manage it. In fact, the survey identifies operational costs (62 percent), performance (53 percent), and operational efficiency (49 percent) as the most important considerations when it comes to cloud automation.

Building, deploying, and managing a cloud automation framework that spans a hybrid cloud computing environment is far from trivial. It will require an MSP to make a significant investment in technology and skills. The upside is that the margins for providing a cloud automation service capable of spanning a hybrid cloud computing environment will be considerable, given its inherent value. The challenge will be identifying the customers experiencing hybrid cloud computing pain and encouraging them to be open to external help.

Photo: 3rdtimeluckystudio / Shutterstock

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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