The Path To Optimized Cloud Environment
As businesses across different verticals reap the benefits of Cloud Computing, there are three major benefits that relate to any business:
- Time and cost savings – Instead of owning expensive and outdated infrastructure, businesses will be renting latest infrastructure for a fee. This is a great way to save on the Capex and shift only a fraction of that cost to Opex. In addition, it can also save the business money and time spent by internal IT staff in managing their on-premise infrastructure.
- Scalability – With Cloud Computing, you pay for what you use. No locked-in contracts or unused infrastructure expenses! Implementations can always scale up and down based on the changing computing needs!
- Security – Achieve greater security and compliance than the on-premise model as the cloud provider takes care of several stringent security requirements automatically.
This points to an untapped opportunity within the cloud to not only optimize performance and reduce operating costs, but also drive innovation by leveraging new technologies.
With these new opportunities in terms of savings and operational efficiencies, there is no reason why any business needs to be left behind in the race to Cloud Computing. With the well-orchestrated operations as their core competency, enterprises could bring in the same lean operations model to IT as well by moving to Cloud Computing.
However, there is one common overarching problem when it comes to building a cloud infrastructure: it is extremely challenging to manage. Effectively managing a cloud infrastructure requires a strong level of expertise, and oftentimes, as the cloud eco-system continues to evolve, there are new best practices and opportunities that must be leveraged.
Maturity model for Cloud Computing
Organizations can achieve high levels of performance by adopting a maturity model based upon four core principles:
Adoption: introducing cloud services into the organization’s technology.
Efficiency: seeking opportunities to improve cloud computing efficiency with existing implementations.
Standardization: realizing and implementing cloud computing best practices across the organization.
Innovation: leveraging new cloud services and technologies to address previously unsolved business challenges, and drive product improvements.
The first and most obvious step in optimizing cloud computing performance is the adoption of cloud computing within the organization.
Cloud adoption is no longer a nice to have, but is now a necessity, as cloud market growth has skyrocketed in 2017 and is projected to keep climbing.
And Gartner agrees, predicting that by 2019, more than 30 percent of the top 100 largest vendors’ new software investments will have shifted from cloud-first to cloud-only.
Enterprises either need to develop the skills of Cloud Services internally or work with a vendor that has deep expertise in cloud-enabling them with use case based strategy, and in creating architectures with best practices.
Following adoption, the first step in optimizing a cloud infrastructure is to seek opportunities to improve efficiency. This is achieved by developing an understanding of the current Cloud Computing environment and assessing usage and utilization.
Metrics including; CPU / memory usage, response time, CPU time, and suspension time, are typically the most obvious variables to measure when establishing performance baselines and developing a sound assessment of a cloud infrastructure. However in order to adequately measure and achieve cost reduction it is important to track additional variables including; total cost of ownership, and cost per compute hour.
Additionally the overall infrastructure should also be reevaluated, and any underperforming and underutilized services should be identified for the purpose of seeking more efficient and cost effective alternatives.
A blueprint for cloud infrastructure management must be developed, then deployed and replicated across the organization. A well thought out blueprint identifies new areas within the organization where cloud computing can be leveraged to drive efficiencies and operational improvements.
The blueprint should include:
- Well defined business requirements with input from stakeholders in all applicable functions of the IT organization including but not limited to DevOps and IT operations.
- A deployment strategy and process, including an approach to implementation and testing.
- Deliverables, goals, and key performance indicators to adequately measure the success and return on investment of the project.
Once organizations are able to realize a greater level of cloud performance and a reduction in operating costs, there lies an opportunity to utilize the cloud as a mechanism to establish a competitive advantage through product innovation.
Cloud Computing is no longer a vanity; and has become the choice platform for enterprises. Cloud Services have become the enabler for all emerging technologies. In order to adopt cloud computing, fully realize optimal performance of their cloud computing environment and leverage it to drive innovation it is imperative that organizations not only develop a sound strategy but ensure buy in and alignment from the necessary stakeholders.
As the future of Cloud Computing moves into the present, the organizations who are able to effectively implement and optimize their cloud infrastructure will be the ones who are best equipped to drive operational efficiencies, innovation, fuel growth, and create a more sustainable competitive advantage.