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The 5 fundamentals of effective cloud management

Clint Boulton | July 19, 2017
The rising complexity of today’s cloud environments can catch your company off guard — at great cost. Here are five functional areas CIOs should focus on as you get your cloud strategy off the ground.

To wrangle this growing complexity, CIOs should focus on the following five functional areas.

Cost transparency and optimization: Smith says managing cloud costs is a nightmare for many CIOs, particularly those who are new to cloud adoption. CIOs are used to a world where they purchased equipment, set it up and used it as needed. But they can't do that with cloud services. Consider this all-too-common nightmare scenario: Developers testing an application sometimes forget to turn off virtual machines Friday afternoon, leaving them running over the weekend even though no one is there to work with the computing jobs. This can cause CIOs to rapidly burn through their monthly allocation for a particular cloud service. Such horror stories are a big reason CIOs are setting up calls with Smith.

CIOs need to closely track and align their consumption of cloud services with how much they're budgeting for that particular cycle. High interest in cloud cost planning is a big reason why Microsoft last month agreed to acquire Cloudyn, which helps enterprises analyze consumption, enable accountability and forecast future cloud spending. Microsoft's thinking is that Cloudyn’s software will help make adoption of Azure more appealing to CIOs.

Capacity and resource planning: To ensure efficient operational use of your cloud infrastructure footprint, you need to pay close attention to capacity and resource planning, which is often tied to orchestration and automation functionality. Before switching that cloud service on you need to ask: How much do you need and when do you need to run it?

Security and identity: There are various security-related functionalities needed in a cloud computing environment, including risk management, segregation of duties, single sign-on and key management. CIOs and CISOs need to huddle with their vendors on appropriate cyber SLAs.

Governance and policy: Just as with on-premises technologies, it is essential to create policies that dictate who can access what assets in the cloud, how much and when. Which workgroup or department can access which applications, and from which services can they access them?

Orchestration, automation, provisioning: Orchestration, automation and provisioning capabilities are vital for managing a complex cloud environment. Here, an important facet is “service blueprinting.” Similar to the concept of customer journey mapping, service blueprinting entails spelling out the connections and interdependencies involved in both cloud and on-premises systems.


The bottom line

Of course, the above five tasks may be easier said than done. Smith says that most companies lack the staff to "pull together the tapestry” required to operate a cloud service. “What Lego pieces do I need for that and how do I blueprint it and manage this both on-premises and leverage public cloud APIs and knit together the components that culminate as part of a service,” Smith says. “There’s so much stuff out there that it becomes very, very difficult for one to manage it.”


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