When Things Go Fast, Mistakes Get Made

How Unchecked Proliferation of Cloud Instances Can Compromise Business
Michelle DeFiore

In football and in IT, tempo is everything.

Fans of the NFL recognize that tempo plays an increasingly significant role in the game today. More and more teams are experimenting with no-huddle, quick-snap styles of offense. Head coach Chip Kelly is often cited as a proponent of this strategy, though he certainly wasn’t the first to implement it. The temp offensive was pioneered by fast-break teams like the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills in the 1990s. And Bill Belichick’s Patriots have employed tempo for years, much to their success.

Why do they do it? Because speed creates a strategic advantage for the offense. It prevents a defense from making player substitutions and it tires them out. Speed also creates confusion and mental fatigue. As a result, defensive players miss assignments, blow coverages, and are more likely to allow explosive plays to the offense.

When Things Go Fast, Mistakes Get Made

This same principle of tempo holds true for business. Many organizations have embraced cloud infrastructure to enable similar speed and agility. They’re no longer chained to IT’s relatively slow approval processes. The rapid, frictionless provisioning of application resources in the cloud allows business units to increase time-to-market with new services for customers.

But when teams move fast, mistakes get made. In this case, the primary “mistake” is the unchecked proliferation of cloud instances, services, or providers. This is known as “cloud sprawl.” It creates security concerns, compliance issues, and – most of all – cost overrun.

Application and development teams may spin up cloud resources on demand with no IT involvement. But once they’re done with the compute or storage resources, they often neglect to properly decommission them. The instances are abandoned, but the cloud provider’s meter continues to run.

Let’s say it again… when things go fast, mistakes get made.

Tips for Managing Cloud Sprawl

How do organizations counter the inevitable sprawl of cloud resources? I&O leaders must prepare their teams in the same manner NFL defensive coordinators prepare for containing fast-break offenses.

It starts with having an IT infrastructure monitoring platform capable of discovering, monitoring, and visualizing dependencies of resources in the cloud. But it also requires a ruthless commitment to process and proper structuring of the IT organization.

To help, we’ve outlined five competencies I&O leaders must develop in order to better manage the speed of IT and contain cloud sprawl. These tips can be found in our new white paper, 5 Tips for Taming the Cloud Sprawl Monster.

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