Application Centric Management of Infrastructure Resources

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Anxious About Cloud Management? By @Melodye_Mueller | @CloudExpo [#Cloud]

If business policies define how you want to run your organization, why not run your cloud like you run your business?

Anxious about Cloud Management? Think Governance

Enterprise organizations have long relied on traditional IT service management (ITSM) suites to manage and govern their data environments. However, cloud computing presents new management challenges: disparate data sets; highly volatile and transient data; and pricing complexity. This often leads to day-to-day cloud management being difficult and cumbersome - at least for those not embracing a governance approach that incorporates policies.

Cloud governance - the automation of IT resources, based on business policies from a security, operational, performance and financial perspective - dramatically simplifies cloud management.

Here's why:

Policies for an Efficient Cloud
If business policies define how you want to run your organization, why not run your cloud like you run your business? As your cloud ecosystem grows, it can be challenging to track all of the moving parts within your infrastructure such as launching new resources, tracking and terminating unused or underutilized assets, tracking changes across the infrastructure, identifying security risks, and ensuring adherence to business guidelines.

By employing a policy-driven approach, cloud management becomes a lot easier. For many, this becomes as simple as receiving notifications that proactively alert you when an asset or activity is out of compliance, granting you more time to focus on key aspects of your products and services that require attention. Defining policies for your cloud operation can ensure consistent implementation and optimal resource utilization across the organization.

Policies also simplify your decision-making and course of action. This allows for improved governance of your overall cloud environment for operational efficiency, resource utilization, security risk mitigation and cost optimization.

The Power of Visibility
Effective cloud governance begins with visibility. You need a holistic view across your entire ecosystem: all cloud services, accounts, assets and data. With a consolidated view of your cloud, you can easily address financial, operational and security questions about your cloud, while continuously being able to optimize overall cloud infrastructure operations. Also, the ability to quickly assess risks and exposure across your cloud infrastructure and immediately mitigate or eliminate any risk can make the difference between success and ceasing operations. For example, the ability to define security practices that immediately notify key stakeholders about potential threats to your cloud environment and then automate remediation should be a requirement for effective cloud management.

It's Really *That* Easy. Here Are Some Examples...
Cloud computing offers enormous flexibility for organizations looking to scale their infrastructure. On average, launching instances for new services and applications takes less than a couple minutes. However, the devil is in the details when running a cloud ecosystem - and that takes time. To improve overall cloud efficiency, you need defined operational best practices and standards. Your day-to-day governance should be automated and user-aware, to eliminate time-consuming tasks that require oversight by IT.

Operational Policy Examples

  • When assets are deployed with tag "project" missing, notify the owner and terminate the asset if non-compliant within 24 hours.
  • Notify me when I have more than 10 reserved instances expiring within the next seven days.
  • Reallocate reserved instance prepays by cluster, based on the distribution percentages I create.

One of the quickest ways to improve overall cloud efficiency is by maximum usage of the resources you have. To accomplish this, you need policies that define utilization targets by business groups and functions. You need the ability to quickly identify unused and underutilized assets with corrective measures to eliminate waste. Further, resource utilization cloud policies should address the impact on operational costs.

Resource Policy Examples

  • When instances in the "production environment" have less than 50 percent max CPU on a weekly basis, notify the engineering team.
  • If a volume is unattached for more than two weeks, create a snapshot and then terminate it.
  • If my mobile development team exceeds $500 in wasted EC2 compute costs, send a critical alert to the team leader and to the finance department.

One of the final areas of cloud governance, and ultimately the most important, relates directly to your bottom line...cost optimization. In fact, lack of standardized cost management controls is the most common reason for cloud failures. How can you efficiently manage resource costs and automate the process to increase accountability across the organization?

Cost optimization encompasses all aspects of your cloud ecosystem: usage, performance and availability. To improve it, you need rules and guidelines that can be programmatically implemented to eliminate tedious, time-consuming tasks and human error.

Cost Optimization Policy Examples

  • Optimize usage of reserved instances for my infrastructure, but exclude auto-scaled application servers, if cost savings is greater than $400.
  • Notify me if any product line managers are projected to exceed their budget by more than 10 percent monthly and also notify the manager.
  • Purchase reserved instances to optimize elastic search clusters. Execute workflow after CFO approval for quotes with annual savings greater than $13,500.

Cloud Governance - The Ultimate Policy for Cloud Management Peace of Mind
Having a cloud governance structure in place yields a continual and automated optimization of cloud infrastructure based on business policies (both within a single cloud environment and across multiple clouds). It promises a future in which organizations can define policies and have these policies securely managed down to microsecond decisions, resulting in consistent implementation, optimal resource utilization - and a generally easier approach to managing your cloud environment.

More Stories By Melodye Mueller

Melodye Mueller is the Cloud Evangelist at CloudHealth Technologies. She is focused on creating customer-centric strategies driven by CloudHealth’s mission to be the global leader in IT Service Management for the Cloud.

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