As organizations scale their cloud environment, there is a wide variety of infrastructure services, assets and resources on which stakeholders across the organization will want to analyze, measure and report. Most organizations will have several ways they want to report their cost, usage, performance, availability and security, and these needs will change over time in response to the requirements of different stakeholders. For example, finance may want a monthly breakdown of costs by product line or shared environment; operations may need a usage breakdown by project or team; and engineering may want a performance breakdown by application role. Having multiple ways to organize infrastructure is pivotal to enabling users with different needs to manage and make effective use of their cloud infrastructure.
The challenge for most organizations becomes how to define, structure and allocate your resources to enable you to easily organize infrastructure. Things can go awry with tag misspellings, conventions or capitalizations, all of which contribute to new variations of an existing tag structure and increase the difficulty in which to report on.
Creating a set of defined key and value pairs for reporting is the first step to identifying optimizations and trends in your environment. Tags are not automatically assigned to your resource and must be assigned by whoever launched the resource, or by an administrator. Creating a tag governance strategy that spans all accounts and clouds will go a long way into giving you consolidated visibility into everything that is going on in your cloud environment.
Every organization has a different use case for what they’d like to report on and the way their infrastructure is managed. However, after working with hundreds of organizations on their tagging structure, we’ve identified several common tagging approaches that may help you when creating a new tagging strategy. The following are what we’ve observed as best practices to help identify optimizations and trends for many of our customers:
By creating a key and value pair, CloudHealth is able to reference that information and allocate assets based on their tag to various groups for reporting. While tags can only be applied to certain active assets, CloudHealth can help manage reporting on these groups through other metadata for untagged assets, as well as using custom CloudHealth tags for terminated assets that can no longer be tagged.
CloudHealth uses the concept of Perspectives as an additional way to filter reporting, group assets for optimizations and analysis, and to enable policies to act on certain resources defined by a tagging structure. By using tags on your resources, Perspectives can create groups based on the values under these tags to allow reporting, policies, and optimizations to be sorted, filtered and analyzed by these groups and values. Policies can even alert users when resources are spun up without a tag or without following the tag patterns, using regex. With these types of policies, CloudHealth can help maintain the governance structures put in place to ensure accurate reporting by tag, assist with chargebacks and provide accountability for those who are spinning up resources.