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A survey of 357 IT professionals conducted by Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) on behalf of Yotascale, a provider of cost optimization tools for cloud computing environments, suggests that organizations are struggling with managing public cloud computing environments that are becoming more costly to employ.

The survey finds that 71 percent of organizations now rely on three or more cloud infrastructure providers. A full 84 percent of survey respondents also noted that tracking costs and cloud cost allocation is burdensome and time-consuming, with 61 percent admitting they lack sufficient visibility into which teams own what cloud resources. Nearly a quarter of respondents are considering making changes to their monitoring and observability practices as infrastructure costs rise.

Overall, nearly two-thirds of respondents report the adoption of public clouds has made it more difficult to achieve observability, with nearly half of respondents reporting they now consider providing real-time insights into application/infrastructure environments to be a top priority.

Developer cloud platform preferences create challenges

In the immediate aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of workloads being deployed on public clouds increased sharply. In theory, many organizations have signed enterprise licenses that reduce cloud costs if they consistently consume a certain level of infrastructure resources. In practice, however, individual developer teams are showing a preference for one cloud platform over another based on the attributes of their workloads. As a result, it’s become more challenging to not only control costs but also manage application environments.

In fact, it’s not uncommon for IT teams to have multiple monitoring tools that produce a set of pre-defined metrics that often conflict with one another. Observability platforms that unify logs, metrics, and traces, promise to make it simpler to launch more detailed queries to identify the root cause of an issue.

Shift toward observability creates opportunity for MSPs

Naturally, this shift toward observability creates a major opportunity for managed service providers (MSPs). These platforms are gaining traction for two primary reasons. The first is the rise of open source agent software, provided by the OpenTelemetry project. This software is being advanced under the auspices of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) and is slowly but surely making it easier to instrument IT environments. The second is the cloud platforms for collecting and analyzing all that data, are making it easier to correlate events.

The issue that IT organizations will increasingly encounter is that the mere existence of an observability platform is not all that useful if no one knows what queries to launch. The average MSP has a lot more experience managing IT environments at scale than the average internal IT team. As such, an observability platform in the hands of an MSP is going to be a powerful tool.

It’s still early days as far as the adoption of observability platforms is concerned, but it’s apparent that as application environments become more complex, the plethora of monitoring tools that IT teams rely on today will need to be modernized. As is always the case, savvy MSPs will recognize the significance of what amounts to an inflection point in the way IT is managed. This is occurring at the same time many organizations are finding it more costly to deploy workloads in the public cloud than they ever anticipated.

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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