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The management of cloud computing environments is becoming a bigger opportunity for service providers as more organizations begin to consume services from multiple providers.

A survey of more than 200 DevOps professionals conducted by Firefly, a provider of a platform for automating the provisioning of clouds, finds that more than a third of organizations (36 percent) have allocated the equivalent of two or more full-time engineers per month to writing infrastructure-as-code (IaC) templates to provision cloud services. However, only 14 percent of respondents report that all their engineers are IaC literate. More than a third (36 percent) said they only have one engineer that knows how to use IaC tools.

That’s becoming an issue because 44 percent of respondents already use multiple cloud providers. Well over half of respondents (56 percent) also noted they are also retrofitting existing cloud instances using IaC tools. Overall, 42 percent report having more than 10 cloud accounts.

Cost, complexity, and security are top challenges

Provisioning clouds manually often results in misconfigurations that are then easily exploited by cybercriminals. Many of the developers using IaC tools such as Terraform have had little to no cybersecurity training so the odds they will make a mistake are high. In fact, 61 percent of survey respondents admit they can’t automatically detect configuration drifting across cloud computing environments, with more than a third (35 percent) spending days or weeks remediating IaC templates.

The survey, not surprisingly, identifies knowledge (46 percent) followed closely by complexity (43 percent) as the top challenges organizations face when using code to manage cloud infrastructure. Factors that are increasing complexity include cost and complexity (70 percent), followed by security (61 percent).

MSPs can improve the effectiveness of multi-cloud

More organizations these days are employing multiple clouds in the wake of a series of outages over the past few years to ensure application availability. Developers will often opt to employ different clouds based on the performance attributes provided for various classes of workloads. There may be one cloud platform that runs the bulk of the workloads but the number of organizations that have standardized on a single cloud are comparatively few. The challenge is finding the best way to manage multiple clouds in a way that doesn’t require nearly as much manual effort.

Organizations can, of course, adopt a set of DevOps best practices to manage clouds themselves, but in many cases, it may make more economic sense to rely on a managed service provider (MSP) to implement and maintain a consistent set of workflows.

A survey of 500 engineering and software development professionals in the U.S. sponsored by Chronosphere, a provider of an observability platform, found engineers spend, on average, more than 10 hours per week attempting to triage and understand incidents. That equates to a quarter of a 40-hour workweek. An MSP that provides that capability as a service can dramatically improve the productivity of an application development team.

There’s more focus now than ever on the total cost of IT than ever during challenging economic times. That’s generally a good thing for MSPs that enable organizations to consume IT services more effectively even as they continue to employ multiple platforms that over time become prohibitively expensive for them to manage on their own.

Photo: TierneyMJ / 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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