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A survey of 1,300 chief information officers (CIOs), chief technology officers (CTOs), and other senior technology leaders with more than 1,000 employees suggests cloud computing environments are becoming more complex at a rate that most internal IT teams cannot effectively manage.

The survey finds that 88 percent of respondents reported the complexity of their technology stack increased in the past 12 months. Roughly half (51 percent) expect it to only continue to go up. Multicloud computing environments now span 12 different platforms and services. On average, organizations use 10 different monitoring tools to manage applications, infrastructure, and user experience.

Challenges with cloud computing

About 87 percent said multicloud complexity makes it more difficult to deliver outstanding customer experiences. Furthermore, 84 percent say it also conspires to make applications more difficult to protect.

The more complex cloud computing environments become, the easier it will be for managed service providers (MSPs) to make a case for relying on their expertise. Cloud skills continue to be challenging for internal IT operations teams to attain and retain. Many of them, in addition to trying to manage multiple clouds, are also required to manage complex on-premises IT environments.

The survey notes that 81 percent report manual approaches to log management. Analytics cannot keep up with the rate of change in their technology stack and the volumes of data it produces. That issue will be further exacerbated by cloud-native applications based on microservices. These generate a lot more data than legacy monolithic applications. 86 percent of survey respondents noted that cloud-native technology stacks produce an explosion of data beyond humans’ ability to manage.

AIOps – a possible solution?

There is hope that as artificial intelligence (AI) is applied to IT operations (AIOps), the level of manual effort currently required will decline. Nearly three-quarters of survey respondents (72 percent) said their organization has adopted AIOps. This is to reduce the complexity of managing their multicloud environment. However, almost all (97 percent) said probabilistic machine learning approaches have limited the value AIOps deliver. This is due to the manual effort needed to gain reliable insights.

81 percent noted the time their teams spend maintaining monitoring tools and preparing data for analysis steals time from innovation. Additionally, 85 percent said the number of tools, platforms, dashboards, and applications they rely on adds to the complexity.

The survey is a clear cry for help from IT leaders who know their teams in the cloud era are overwhelmed. Many might hesitate to rely more on MSPs because they fear that their internal teams may eliminate job roles. The rise of AI tools simplifying application building implies that more workloads will be distributed across multiple cloud computing environments in due time.

The issue is not to make those IT leaders feel inadequate. Instead, they should realize they are all facing similar challenges. They are not going to be able to effectively address these challenges without some additional help from MSPs who have made optimizing cloud computing environments their business over the past decade.

Photo: PeachShutterStock / 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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