As organizations begin to rely more heavily on the public cloud to drive key parts of their business, this idea of “cloud management” starts to take priority. If you asked 100 people to define cloud management, however, you’d likely get 100 different answers.
Public cloud services are always increasing in scope and complexity, so different people will naturally have their own set of priorities based on what services they’re using in the cloud and how they’re using them. Consolidating all those use cases to build a core mission statement around cloud management that can be standardized across an organization is a huge challenge.
It’s common for people to put too much focus on specific outcomes, such as cutting costs or adding tags, rather than taking a step back to address the root cause of such problems. Taking a step (or three) backwards can help ensure your organization's cloud strategy encompasses many different use cases while aligning to your broader business goals. Gaining this holistic view takes context—and that starts with the 5 W’s of cloud management.
Context is crucial for successful cloud management
Just like many of us learned in grade school, properly identifying Who, What, When, Where, and Why is the first step in gathering data before writing a paper, or in this case, addressing the complexities of cloud management.
Whether you’re a finance user focused on cost or an application engineer focused more on the infrastructure, understanding the context around what is running and what it’s doing there is critical before making any changes to the environment. For example, shutting down instances running a production workload may have a much different impact than making changes in a sandbox environment, so in that case, the “where” is important.
Today, most organizations can’t describe the 5 W’s for all their cloud resources. A few ways companies have successfully solved this include implementing a new tagging strategy designed to provide this context, creating new Accounts/Subscriptions/Projects with unique naming conventions, and defining relationships among resources in a CMDB. Regardless of the approach, gaining better visibility into cloud consumption is a critical first step in building out a successful cloud management practice.
Different teams within your organization may be further ahead than others on this path and that’s okay! Learn from their experience on what has or hasn’t been working as you build a standardized best practice. The next time you’re tasked with something specific within cloud management, like reducing costs by X% or $X, start by thinking about the 5 W’s to determine the best course of action.
Looking for a cloud management platform but unsure of where to start? Read our Cloud Management Platform Buyers Guide for examples of general, functional, and service and support requirements to help you during your evaluation phase—editable RFP template included!