Fundamentals of Cloud Management for CIOs

By Ranjitha S, Author at GreatLearning

Introduction

Cloud management is the organized administration and maintenance of public, private, and hybrid clouds. Cloud management services combine different technologies to deliver a compatible process.

A CIO entails hashing out a cloud computing strategy. Deciding whether to build a private cloud or public cloud system while keeping others on-premises in mind. Then there is the often painful process of a structured approach to govern their information assets and handling service level agreements.

Organizations see cloud-based applications as an effective way to optimize IT costs by leveraging their pay-as-you-go model. At the same time, the approach of having a deregulated managing cost, compliance, information and enterprise IT performance has also created new challenges for the CIO. To address these challenges, enterprise IT teams need to radically alter their approach and bring down a robust platform that gives them the ability to handle a complex and fast-changing cloud-based environment.

What is cloud management?

Cloud management is the process of controlling cloud computing products and services, whether deployed in public, private, or hybrid cloud environments. Weel designed cloud management can help the IT team to handle and control those dynamic and scalable computing environments. This platform is a combination of different technologies and software to provide a cohesive management strategy and process.

Note: Cloud management is not cloud computing: Cloud computing provides the rules and cloud management carries them out.

Why is cloud management important?

With the increase in the IT industry, many organizations started to rely on cloud-based infrastructure models for flexibility and cost-saving- so why the sudden need for cloud management services or tools?

Here is the answer!
Organizations with high cloud maturity ran into issues like:

  • How to streamline the security monitoring process for all of our cloud-based applications and services?
  • How to maintain compliance status with standards and regulations while leveraging the public cloud?
  • How can we manage capacity and ensure we deliver on SLAs?

To solve these problems and to manage the cloud effectively, IT organizations needed a consolidated platform that leverages APIs to pull data from every application so, they use CMP.

Companies can improve cloud computing performance, reliability, cost when they adhere to cloud optimization practices. Some of the best practices are listed below:

  • Visibility on Cloud Inventory
  • Cost Analytics
  • Role-Based Access
  • Controlled Stack Templates
  • Automated Alerts and Notifications
  • Policy-Based Governance
  • Budgets

How Does Cloud Management Work?

It is a software that helps the IT, teams, to optimize cloud infrastructure. Administrators can manage compliance, set up real-time monitoring, and preempt cyberattacks and data breaches.

So how does it work? Cloud management systems develop into the existing cloud as a virtual machine. The server communicates with APIs to connect the database and virtual cloud. The database collects information on the activity and sends an analysis report to a web-based dashboard, where administrators can see and act accordingly. Also, administrators can command back to the cloud through this platform, which servers as a consolidated point of control.

Source: the guardian

Types of Cloud Management Platforms

CMPs is still in their budding stage and platforms can be classified based on the problem they try to address
Focussed: Platforms that offer only one type of cloud problem-solving.

Multi-Cloud: These platforms enable you to manage multiple clouds like AWS, Azure, GCP, IBM Softlayer and more.

Hybrid-cloud: Platforms that support hybrid clouds, as well as on-prem infrastructure, is a hybrid cloud. This is one of the complex infrastructures involved in this platform, so, these tools rely heavily on custom implementation.

Benefits of Cloud Management

Automation: Cloud management eliminates manual intervention from routine tasks and automates most of the routine tasks and maintain models or blueprints. This platform can detect problems, provide solutions, generate reports and send notifications to administrators. These virtual steps or automation reduces the manual errors and improves efficiency

Common cloud automation tasks are: 

Rich, Immersive UI: Cloud management offers a simple and advanced UI for developers – both for building automation and for designing IT service blueprints (designs).

Public Cloud Cost Containment: Cloud management system helps you to monitor the costing tools that give IT teams the ability to navigate murky pricing models of cloud computing vendors and also helps in understanding where their bills come from, forecast future expenses and make long-term commitments.

Also Read: Public Vs Private Vs Hybrid: Which Cloud Models do Companies Prefer?

Single Pane of Glass: Cloud management gives visibility and control over integrating cloud operating systems, applications, storage frameworks, provisioning, cloud security and anything else hosted on the enterprise’s cloud. This platform ensures the effective operation and management of cloud resources and control over the enterprise cloud through a web-based interface from anywhere they are.

Quick Time: Cloud Management solutions help IT administrators get a head start on every project resulting in improved time to value.

Hybrid, Multi-Cloud Management: The future of cloud computing is a mix of private, public and hybrid cloud solutions. Cloud management equips today’s organization with the tools required to manage different cloud types and helps in optimizing the cost across multiple cloud types.

Self Service Catalog for End-users: End users can browse the service catalogue that IT created, and can request company-approved resources using a self-service portal for their specific projects and needs.

Performance Optimization: Cloud management platform accelerates the delivery of cloud infrastructure by leveraging proven methodologies, it ensures cloud-based applications run efficiently.

Guardrails: Cloud management platform helps in automating manual actions and making sure all IT services are compliant with your company’s standards and budgets.

Security: Cloud management tool is effective in security monitoring processes for cloud-based applications.

Cloud Management Tools

Cloud management tools are helpful for the customer as well as the seller. These tools help in monitoring, reducing cost and providing security. Various companies use various tools for cloud management.

Some of the companies that provide tools are mentioned below:

  • AWS
  • Google
  • Microsoft Azure

Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services provides a facility to access and modify the instances of the cloud with the help of a command-line interface.

Google

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is a monitoring and logging tool that provides performance data for virtual machines and applications.

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure site helps administrators to automatically replicate VMs.

Components of Cloud Management

Several components are used to manage the cloud:

The component used for Security 

  • Encryption
  • Mobile/endpoint security

The component used for Performance monitoring 

  • Storage
  • Application
  • Compute
  • Network

The component used for Cost Management 

  • Cloud instance right-sizing
  • User billing

The component used for Automation and Governance 

  • Application Migration
  • Configuration Management
  • Audits
  • Threat analysis
  • Service governance

Five essential factors in a cloud management strategy

It is a complex process, but it can be simplified by adopting the right strategy. So, we have listed down the 5 factors to consider when managing cloud resources:

1. Asset management

CIOs need to understand what’s going on in their cloud environment at all times. Organizations should ask which resources are being used and also they should track assets to have visibility into their cloud.

2. Resource utilization

CIOs must understand what’s going on in their cloud environment as this can help them to gain insights into cloud performance. By paying attention to resource utilization, companies can eliminate unnecessary spending and ensure that they’re getting the most out of their cloud resources.

3. Cost management

The above “ resource utilization” strategy and cost management go hand in hand as utilization brings out cost-cutting in the best way to reduce waste and see the fastest ROI on public cloud investment. This platform can help an organization find cost-saving opportunities by savings plans and shutting down instances when not in use.

4. Billing and cost allocation

Organizations should always have a clear idea about billing and cost allocation for cloud services. This strategy can help an organization’s unique cloud architecture and find ways to manage billing and chargebacks effectively.

5. Security

Cloud security is an important aspect for every cloud professional. Work on best security practices such as reviewing user permissions, controlling inbound and outbound traffic, enforcing encryption, and protecting storage. Taking these measures is essential for information security and to avoid data breaches.

Challenges Faced During Cloud Management

Few companies do not own the equipment to manage the cloud which leads to loss of control over the equipment. There should be a proper architecture and proper infrastructure management.

How to Choose the Right Cloud Management Platform?

Organizations realize that the cloud needs to be managed well for better efficiency, productivity, and security.

Top 10 considerations can be kept in mind while choosing the Right CMP.

  • The platform must cover all four pillars of cloud success like cost, DR, security, and performance.
  • Shorter the learning curve the better the platform.
  • The depth of usage visibility & granularity of governance.
  • Robustness of runbook automation.
  • It should understand when an unnecessary resource is launched.
  • How fast the platform is in detecting open ports and security leaks?
  • How actionable and customizable are the reports?
  • Reviews of the platform are essential.
  • Look for professional services & support.
  • Integration with other tools and dashboards.

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