In recent years, more and more organizations are utilizing cloud management practices to enable cloud success. In terms of profit and growth, things couldn’t be otherwise, as the dawn of the digital revolution brought forth the need for workload automation and optimization. In this context, cloud management has become key to simplify operations, improve IT efficiency, and reduce costs, down the line.
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is the delivery of computing capabilities on demand; including cloud storage, software, servers, databases, network, etc. In addition to providing access to data centers — and, thus, the ability to manage tasks remotely — cloud computing facilitates cloud management as a concept to control the actual infrastructure resources, as well.
Helping businesses achieve greater efficiency
As cloud computing uses the pay-as-you-go pricing model — or on-demand self-service — it also helps reduce operating expenses. That’s because it relies on shared IT resources to achieve visibility and consistency, where users automatically employ only the required resources every time. As a result, teams have the flexibility they need to achieve greater efficiency and increase scalability.
What is Cloud Management?
Cloud Management is the process of controlling, monitoring, and optimizing applications, data, and services that reside in cloud environments. Given that, having on-demand access to cloud resources, administrators and other users can automate processes, and streamline tasks. As a result, risks and costs are reduced, while functionality and flexibility are ensured.
Moreover, Cloud Management tools allow users to supervise cloud activities across any type of cloud. Today, there are four commonly used models for cloud deployment:
- Public Cloud: Resources are owned and managed by one provider and shared with many customers
- Private Cloud: Resources are usually owned and managed on-premises by the customer
- Hybrid Cloud: A combination of Public and Private Cloud services, offering greater flexibility
- Multi-Cloud: This model is more of a strategy, where a customer mix and matches multiple clouds from multiple providers
What does Cloud Management include?
The main strategies and capabilities included in cloud management practices are:
1. DevOps tools
DevOps tools allow IT teams to deploy applications quickly, and with maximum reliability. In turn, this improves efficiency and boosts productivity. Specifically, these tools mainly consist of development, configuration, deployment, control, testing, and monitoring implementations. Among other things, DevOps tools allow teams to automate complex manual tasks and, of course, manage multiple cloud environments.
Fundamentally, automation reduces manual workloads, and speeds up software lifecycle management. One of the most important effects of automation is that it helps smooth out communication between development and operations teams, enabling a continuous integration and continuous deployment workflow.
3. Site Reliability Engineering (SRE)
Site Reliability Engineering is at the nexus of operations, software engineering, and automation, aiming to make systems more reliable by quickly fixing performance bottlenecks, and optimizing overall processes in the cloud. Furthermore, SRE promotes a healthy model of cooperation between operations and development teams, ultimately improving productivity.
4. Application Lifecycle Management (ALM)
The Application Lifecycle Management is a compilation of disciplines and tools covering the entire lifecycle of a software application; from the idea, its development, and testing to its deployment, distribution, and end-of-life. In essence, ALM automates the process of application development and delivery, enabling teams to collaborate more effectively.
Also known as microservice architecture, microservices refer to an arrangement of applications in a structural style. Practically speaking, it compromises a collection of software that can be independently deployable. The microservice architecture allows for rapid, and reliable delivery of very large and intricate applications, while enabling organizations to build their tech stacks.
What is a Cloud Management Platform?
A Cloud Management Platform is the baseline from where one can plan, deploy and monitor cloud resources, to ensure a smooth flow, and prevent breaches or thwart attacks. To that end, the platform contains a suite of integrated self-service software performing an array of functions, under the supervision of the admin. Besides the management and control of assets, it enables workflow automation, provisioning, orchestration, and cost reduction.
In plain words, a cloud management system is an operational hub, a control plane that utilizes data from every corner of the IT infrastructure. Moreover, it offers structure and governance over an organization’s cloud dominion.
What are the key characteristics of a Cloud Management Platform?
A sound Cloud Management Platform offers self-service capabilities and full-transparency for all cloud resources. Some of the most important characteristics of such a management tool include:
- Automation: Reducing manual work, by deploying implemented DevOps tools and services
- Orchestration: Creating and modifying workflows, as well as managing workloads
- Container infrastructure: Deploying application stacks, using cloud-native architectures
- Security: Ensuring the health of IT assets, and supervising liabilities in cloud environments
- Compliance: Making sure that the data meets the organization’s standards, as defined by its protocols
- Running inventories: Detecting and upcycling unused, or underutilized, cloud resources
- Cost management: Securing business finances and creating a healthy balance by managing cloud spend, based on usage patterns or circumstantial demands
- Migration and integration: Migrating without compromising security and compliance, and smoothly integrating on-premise and third-party services within the cloud
- Monitoring: Using KPIs to check up on cloud resources, prevent errors, and make changes or adjustments
- Backup, and recovery: Ensuring protection with backups, running diagnostics, resolving system failures, and enabling self-healing functionality
Why use a Cloud Management Platform?
In general, a Cloud Management Platform helps orchestrate, deploy, and monitor cloud resources, easily and effectively. That said, it offers a host of advantages to modern organizations. To elaborate:
1. Fulfils self-service needs via the SaaS model
A Cloud Management Platform comes with a consolidated interface, through which users execute deployments and manage the organization’s IT infrastructure. In fact, users have access to a list of ready-to-use services and tools, which they can put to use based on needs. This integration is best delivered via the SaaS model, and it does not require any additional overhead in order to make the most of it, at scale.
2. Provides control over operations
It provides reports that help IT teams gain insights into cloud service actions and find ways to manage them better. Given that, the teams are able to plan and deploy more efficiently.
3. Optimizes team productivity
A Cloud Management Platform optimizes the way teams work and collaborate, by arranging infrastructure usage based on assignments. The idea is to streamline workflows, save valuable time, and boost productivity; as well as creativity.
4. Administrates networks, storage, and resources
It provides all the necessary tools to manage networks and storage; at the same time, it offers provisioning, automation, and orchestration capabilities.
5. Enables governance and security
It offers governance capabilities, in accordance with the company’s rules and policies. In effect, an ordained user can manage, automate, and control tasks, based on these policies. With regard to security, it provides data encryption, manages users, and monitors overall cloud activity.
6. Facilitates DevOps practices
A Cloud Management Platform makes the most of DevOps tools and processes, to help in software development and improve quality. At the same time, it supports continuous integration and deployment with end-to-end testing automation.
7. Offers multi-cloud interoperability
The platform enables application interoperability across multiple cloud providers. This way, users can run applications that are built for one environment, on another, without wasting time to rewrite the code.
8. Allows cloud cost optimization
A Cloud Management Platform allows administrators to track cloud spend, and keep tabs on computing consumption. In other words, they get accurate license usage statistics information, as well as insights into usage patterns, so that they can foresee potential costs and minimize them.
The world of Cloud is continuously evolving, pushing modern organizations to seek simplified cloud solutions that will help them thrive in the ever-shifting digital plateau. With well-implemented Cloud Management practices and tools, including a comprehensive Cloud Management Platform, organizations can maintain control over their cloud environments, streamline their services, and boost their profitability.