Cloud and the challenge of cross-platform system management

For most organisations, enterprise IT systems often involve multiple databases all using different technologies and services. In an on-premise setup it’s relatively straightforward to integrate all the components of various databases as they are all located on the same infrastructure. The challenge of integration arises when those databases are distributed across the cloud.

The survey Data Cross-Currents: 2011 Survey on Cross-Platform Database Administration by Unisphere Research has looked into how companies are managing their data. It reveals how managing databases across multiple cloud systems can affect governance, risk, version control and have extra resource requirements.

The governance, risk and cost implications of integrating and managing data across systems can often be overlooked in enterprise deployments that do not undergo rigorous due diligence. The survey reveals that 42% of respondents were unsure of the impacts on their database administration and monitoring tools. Likewise, 34% weren’t sure on the skill requirements their system would demand.

If you’re considering such a deployment, have you thought about the governance, risk, and cost implications of integrating and managing your data across platforms?

One of the cornerstone elements of good  governance for these cross-platform systems is version and change control. This will also drive the need for new skills being needed to manage these system. The Unisphere Research survey revealed that 31% of those surveyed said cross-platform systems and data management would required new skills to be deployed in the management of these integrated systems. If your IT consulting firms have core skills in limited, specific technologies, they may be of limited value in cross platform projects.

These changes also have cost implications, which are important to remember when assessing the viability of distributing your data across platforms.

Do you have you purchase yet another system to manage all of the issues above? Cloud-based databases can often help streamline and consolidate data at a reduced cost. However due to the privacy and security issues raised by cloud, these cost reductions can come with more complex data management needs.

When deploying data across multiple cloud systems consider how those systems would interface with each other. There should be provisions to access source data, share data between clouds and if required, consolidate data into internal systems.

Distributing your data across platforms can realise all the benefits of cloud, including cost reductions, agility and scalability, however the additional investments needed with such a move should not be ignored. Will more enterprise monitoring and management tools be needed? What are the skills required to organise and implement cross-platform systems?  Does this mean an increased reliance on IT consulting firms ? These considerations are important for good governance and risk management, and will help with the successful data management in your organisation.