CloudBrew Episode #11

Cloud management is a good thing, but it’s not everything. It leaves gaps that can only be filled with specific solutions and strategies.

In Episode 11 of CloudBrew, CoreStack's NextGen Cloud Governance podcast, you’ll learn what happens when these gaps are left unfilled, along with clear steps you can take to safeguard your cloud operations. We sit down with Robert Ford, CoreStack’s Chief Strategy Officer, who reveals how doing cloud right can supercharge your digital journey.

All CloudBrew episodes are also available on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Podcasts, Audible and SoundCloud.

Discover how our NextGen Cloud Governance platform brings together FinOps, SecOps, and CloudOps solutions so you can Cloud with Confidence.

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Kaylee: Hello and welcome back to episode 11 of CloudBrew. For the newcomers here, my name is Kaylee Raduenz and I am on the Strategic Alliances team here at CoreStack. So welcome back to our returning listeners and thank you for listening in to our newcomers. So, today's topic is Cloud Governance: More Than Cloud Management. Today we have a returning guest to the podcast and a really close colleague of mine. You might have seen him if you guys have visited a few of our older episodes. So, hi Rob, and welcome back. Would you give us a quick update or a recap of what you do here at CoreStack? And just a little bit of background for our newcomers here.

Rob: Absolutely! Hello everybody. My name is Robert Ford, I'm the Chief Strategy Officer here at CoreStack. Spent most of my life at Microsoft, 20 plus years, CIO of a university here in the Northwest and CEO of a small consulting company. But it's my pleasure to be here today as the Chief Strategy Officer and talk about cloud governance.

Kaylee: Awesome. Thanks, Rob. And again, thanks for joining us. So, let's get into the meat of the episode. So, let's go back to the topic. When we say there's more than cloud management, are we suggesting cloud management isn't good enough? Is there more to that? So, can you unwrap that a little bit?

Rob: Absolutely, it's a good question. So, so let me start by saying if you are truly embracing cloud as the kernel like the center of gravity for all things digital in your organization and your ambition is too sort of front the technology wave that keeps getting bigger and faster every day, and ideally you want disproportionate top line value for every bottom-line dollar you optimize, then yes, cloud management simply isn't good enough! What is required is that sort of classic, you know, good to great move and that brings you into the realm of great cloud governance. But I guess you're asking, you know, what is cloud governance and how is it different from management? Well, we're going to get into that in this podcast, but let me leave you with this. So, cloud governance is the natural evolution of cloud management. And it sort of elevates itself out from under the cloud management platform category. And if I borrow the sort of quote from Peter Drucker, the famous one on management and leadership, I would say cloud management is about doing things right. Whereas cloud governance is about doing the right things right. And the latter is extremely important in this ever more connected, interdependent digital world, where span, security and compliance are all wrestling for the same scarce resources, which is both dollars, people or both.

Kaylee: That's an interesting distinction. You know, I really liked where you said you know it's doing it right. But it's another thing to do the right things at the right time. So, thank you for that. Can you maybe double click a little bit more on really how to help folks digest and internalize the difference?

Rob: Absolutely. You know, let's level set by sort of saying what are the sort of the tenants of cloud management, and I'll refer to something we should all be familiar with which is the sort of Gartner wheel of cloud management platform. And in there you've got things like spend management, resource optimization, identity security and compliance. Provisioning and orchestration, monitoring, observability, migration, inventory classification, service enablement, traditional tenants of cloud management. Now as I said earlier, cloud governance is an evolution of cloud management. And depending on where you are on your cloud journey and how much you're spending on cloud, the degree to which that distinction matters sort of becomes more profound. The more you spend, the more you embrace. The more cloud gets democratized to your organization then naturally the more sophistication you need, and the stronger case gets for a great cloud governance on all those operational vectors called out by Gartner. Now to try and make this come alive for folks, let me use an analogy of flying a helicopter, something I love doing and I think parallels or makes this point really well. So, picture cloud management is this set of dials in a cockpit. They're all telling you something about either the state of the helicopter or the state of the flight. Now this can be as simple as a few dials and a few manual controls in a basic helicopter or a more complicated set of dials with indicators, systems that offer you greater automation, but do believe me introduce more complexity and often demand the assistance of say a copilot. Now this I see is the sort of spectrum of cloud management and this is where, to be honest, the conversation tends to end today. And just as a helicopter sort of muscles its way inelegantly through the sky, cloud management allows you to sort of muscle optimization from your cloud platform. But back to that question, is that enough? I mean just as helicopters have dramatically, now more technical, have more capability, the cloud is exploding with new capabilities and just adding more dials, or you could say portals within portals within portals and it's not going to give you the ability to fly that helicopter faster and further in an optimal way. Now multi cloud complexity and the capabilities of helicopter demand a more autopilot way of governing your cloud. One that orchestrates with these interdependencies automatically predicts the adjustments and allows you to spend sort of more time looking outside the cockpit where you're going, which believe me is goodness. And so, I'll refer to this analogy, but you know, flying a helicopter and flying your cloud, very similar, and you'll see that come alive as we keep talking today.

Kaylee: All right, got it. So, with that said, can you talk a little bit about the differences between cloud management and cloud governance?

Rob: Absolutely, Kaylee and I want to emphasize, you know, cloud governance is an evolution of cloud management. It's not one or the other. But the five points I'm going to make the distinction clear to me is, first of all, management is more prescriptive whereas governance is more predictive. So, cloud management tends to be responsive to signals after the fact that inherently introduces latency, prolonged time to action and often need leads to overcorrection, which isn't good. Cloud governance on the other hand provides prediction. This ability to predict what is going to happen is predicated on data reach, breadth in this connected system of intelligence that allows for AI enrichment. Now real time automated discovery of all cloud resources is super important, not just say some functional sliver for FinOps. You then map all the dependencies, derive implicit intelligence across the multi cloud workloads, Ulster it with a domain of anonymized governance data and then you can provide the foundational capabilities that we you need to be more predictive, and we refer to as ‘NextGen Cloud Governance’. So that's the first point. The second one I'd make is that management tends to be more siloed whereas governance is more holistic. Cloud management solutions may be sufficient for organizations in the early maturity phase of their cloud journey. However, given the explosion growth of cloud, I would say the clocks ticking on any company as the evolution to enterprise scale will demand the more holistic and sophisticated cloud governance approach. Demanding you do the right things across all clouds and do them right now. Now, holistic cloud governance is the domain of a connected, intelligent data platform. A platform that embraces all clouds. Every flavor, every vendor from the data center to the edge, and everything in between. Extracting all possible cloud resource data in a sort of connector-less, automated way that facilitates you staying sort of ahead of the innovation wave we're all riding from the hyperscalers. You know you want to derive greater ETL intelligence. You want to map into dependencies, enrich the data, and provide this holistic, 360-degree platform view of every cloud resource from which then you can only truly optimize, spend, drive compliance and mitigate risk.

Kaylee: Yeah, that makes sense. And I think you know for the key takeaway there, right, is holistic and that seems you're being a little more strategic rather than tactical. Am I, am I getting the flow here?

Rob: Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. And I mean that's the third point actually, Kaylee, is like management tends to be more tactical whereas governance tends to be more strategic. And the point I'm going to make here is that, you know, I believe that the primary reason the true value of cloud remains somewhat elusive in most organizations is that the metaphorical boardroom just doesn't have the confidence in the clouds to innovate, disrupt and experiment as enthusiastically as they should, or they need to. Cloud management tends to be inherently more tactical in nature, being characteristically a series of these one-off actions done reactively, more operational in nature. And the focus is all on optimization and it's often executed in isolation or silos and without a genuine appreciation for the impact on the broader business ecosystem. As a consequence, the conversation remains with IT leadership. The impact, if done well, is somewhat invisible or immaterial to this metaphorical boardroom. Cloud governance, however, is far more strategic. It's such a strategic framework. Let's focus more not just on what you do with cloud or on how you do cloud, but more on what you do with the cloud, what you should be doing new, what you should be doing differently, what you should be doing to create disproportionate top line value. And cloud governance should provide that confidence in every facet of your multi-cloud environment that you embrace to say to the boardroom, we are world-class governed, we are model, we are model cloud citizens beat up from an optimization of compliance of security in terms of any hyperscaler best practice. And because of that you should then unleash waves of experimentation, innovation and acceleration. And because that's where the true value of cloud lives. Number four, this one gets a bit academic but here again cloud management tends to be more technical whereas cloud governance tends to
be more adaptive. And when I'm talking technical and adaptive, I'm going back to sort of 2002 when academics Heifetz & Linsky introduced this concept of technical versus adaptive leadership. Some of you may be familiar with this. The former, the sort of the technical is more, it's a more familiar challenge. It's a problem that can be solved using existing knowledge, expertise, and standard procedures. And that's the sort of domain of management. The latter is more complex. It's an unfamiliar problem. It doesn't have a straightforward, obvious solution. It requires the need to adapt. It questions historical beliefs, approaches and to be honest, it sounds very much like the cloud river we're all swimming in today. So high performance, multi-cloud governance requires the same adaptive approach outlined by Heifetz & Linsky. It demands you have the capability to be best prepared and faster to react to the signals that indicate any drift from any cloud posture in real time. Adapting to the situation, taking the corrective remediation, it rides the cloud innovation way of adapting experimenting, continually learning, taking the goodness from established cloud management, being just high levels of automation, intelligence and abstraction. Becoming a sort of NexGen cloud governance autopilot, you know, in the destination here being the future faster. And the last point I want to make is management is your cloud copilot whereas governance is more your cloud autopilot. Now admitted, I have a slight bias, but I hope my flying analogy at the beginning of this podcast helped land the distinction between cloud management and cloud governance. Like everything in this digital era, helicopters as the cloud, have become more sophisticated, capable and demand the need for technology to help abstract complexity and it will augment, you know, the pilot’s flying skills. Governing or flying multi clouds is no less a challenge. Yes, you can fly without the assistance of a copilot or autopilot, just as you can manage your clouds with native cloud management tools, but they're just portals within portals within portals. And yes, you can even fly better with automation management systems and a copilot to share an offload human effort. However, there is a better option that ensures you fly further, faster and have more time to look at what's outside and in front of you. And that's a sophisticated cloud autopilot you can trust, or in cloud-speak, have governance that enables you to embrace cloud with greater confidence. Now as an organization embracing multicloud, you want confidence and capabilities, a sort of cloud autopilot-like-governance platform provides, allowing your head to be innovating new value and exploring new horizons in the cloud rather than looking in watching instruments and managing controls to stay afloat.

Kaylee: I love that last one there. I think that's really the further faster. That be able to look up. You're not always looking down to see what else R&D, forecasting, something outside of the day-to-day. I loved that one, that's fantastic. So, I think that was a lot of juicy content. And I really love that. So I think the final question here, is there anything in particular or a call to action to our audience that you would want them to take away?

Rob: I would say, in closing, I believe that cloud governance is this new cloud frontier to master. And it's another level of sophistication, intelligence and abstraction on traditional cloud management that is very much a reality. It's not a choice, it's something you have to embrace, and it will only continue to be more of a challenge as constructive disruptions such as AI, HPC and Quantum become more mainstream and commercialized. I mean we predict, at CoreStack, we predict a new cloud governance platform category is going to emerge out from under, you know, the traditional cloud management platform and it's going to become a true differentiator for you and your business as the world gets cloudier, changes faster and gets excitingly more disruptive. So, embrace it and best of luck!

Kaylee: Awesome. Thank you so much for your time, Rob. And to our listeners, lots of great content. He's also on episode one and four. So, if you want to hear more great insights from Rob, please do listen in. Thank you to our listeners. If you guys want to hear more content, we have great content from our previous CloudBrew episodes. But we are on Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube, iTunes, Audible. I think that's all that I got them. Until then next time. Thank you.

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