Complexity in the Cloud is growing significantly beyond simple hybrids of Cloud-to-Cloud or Cloud-to-On-Premises integrations. Cloud integration and loosely-coupled systems can create management challenges, particularly in an era of continuous deployment. As Figure 1 illustrates, interfaces to business processes and external APIs proliferate, new challenges arise for IT security, quality assurance and for IT management.

Figure 1: The Growing Challenges of Cloud Complexity

Source: Austrian Science Fund FWF

Moreover, as complexity increases, so does risk, particularly in two areas: One, security breaches; and Two, systems failure or degradation of performance – both potentially costly and undesirable outcomes, but both manageable by a pair of emergent approaches: a strong DevOps regimen, and “non-functional” testing techniques.

Why is it Happening?

The use of the Cloud as a platform for business solutions is in a period of very rapid growth. Businesses are transforming themselves to take advantage of Cloud economies as well as the opportunities for innovation and reach found in mobile, social and analytics capabilities. And never mind the backdoors and booby-traps, honeypots and other forms of social engineering, getting security right in the Cloud is a much more significant challenge the more synergy plays a role in the system.

And it’s not only security. Saugatuck raised this issue of managing complexity in a Research Alert, 1327RA, Five Questions About the Internet of Things, 14 February 2014. The sheer complexity of interconnected and loosely-coupled systems creates a large risk of failure.

Successful management of complex systems requires the exercise of central control functions sufficiently complex to encompass the complexity of the complex system. It is not sufficient to manage the functionality of individual parts of the complex whole. Many Cloud-based business systems today are formed by combining parts of other systems, and understanding the indirect effects of their interactions can be difficult to accomplish. We have all heard of the “Butterfly Effect,” wherein a butterfly flapping its wings in Southeast Asia can trigger a weather change in Africa or in Oklahoma. Unanticipated consequences arise out of unpredictable and unmanaged system glitches or relentless bot attacks.

Click here to read the Market Impact.

Originally published by Saugatuck Lens360 blog on September 25, 2014.

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