Cloud Optimization and Governance, Who Is Responsible

Dan Phillips
Co-founder & Chairman of the Board
May 31, 2016
3 minute read

The content in this blog is outdated and we cannot reliably say it is still accurate with the speed in which the cloud industry moves. But don’t worry—below are more recent, up-to-date blogs.

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Over the past several months, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with many of the largest public cloud consumers worldwide. We’ve discussed current strategies, challenges they are facing, new initiatives and trends. One of the most interesting trends I’ve seen is the emergence of a new key organizational role focused on centralized governance. This position is becoming critical as the cloud evolves as a strategic component in a corporation’s IT infrastructure strategy.

Cloud management for the enterprise is maturing. Operations, engineering, and lines of business (LOB) are able to easily deploy assets and services needed for their projects. There are tools and services they can leverage to measure performance and ensure security. And, finance can now allocate and manage costs. However, the agility, flexibility, elasticity, and utility-based cost of the cloud requires the ability to continually optimize and govern environments. But who is responsible, and what does the job entail?

CloudHealth’s customers are among the largest consumers of the public cloud in the world. One challenge I’ve seen many customers struggle with is how to structure their teams in the cloud-centric era. On one hand, they need to manage their cloud environments as efficiently as possible, putting policies, controls, and governance in place in order to maintain corporate requirements and best practices. On the other hand, however, they want to give departments and LOBs the freedom to take advantage of all the benefits the cloud offers--ease of use, flexibility, and agility. They really want to facilitate decentralized management, but ensure centralized governance to protect their corporate brand.

I’ve struggled to come up with a title for this emerging role. Is it Cloud Optimization Manager, Cloud Capacity Manager, Cloud Governance Manager, or something else entirely? Drew Firment, Director of Cloud Engineering at Capital One Bank, coined the title, Cloud Custodian Engineer. He writes a spectacular blog focused on this very topic, Cloud Adoption: Engineering the Next Generation of Cloud Governance. He is clearly at the forefront of this emerging organizational need.

Because Drew deals with challenges of this topic at a granular level that surpasses mine, I defer to his Cloud Custodian Engineer title. But whatever the title, the individual responsible for this role must have, not only, a business sense for the corporation, but the ability to cross and influence departments and LOBs. They will need to have a strong technology sense for the corporation with access to devops, monitoring, API, and security level expertise.

The individual in this role will need to lead a cross functional team that defines best practices for building functional business groups across cloud resources and assets. They will also need to: standardize on required reports delivered to stakeholders, define and enforce policies and governance, analyze and optimize the cloud environment on an ongoing basis, drive smart growth, and ultimately automate the optimization, governance, and growth of the cloud.

Given the emergence of this new trend across large-scale cloud consumers, I’m taking a stab at the job description. This will be my “V1 draft.” I’d love to hear from you and get your feedback on what you believe the position entails.

Cloud Custodian Engineer:
Responsible for Ongoing Optimization and Governance of Cloud Infrastructure

  • Reports into Operations
  • Cross Functional Team Lead for Stakeholders
    • Operations, finance, engineering, and LOBs
  • Defines and Implements Functional Business Groups (Perspectives)
    • Tagging, naming conventions, meta data, etc.
  • Evaluates and Recommends Data Integrations
    • Cost, budget, usage, asset, configuration, performance, event logs, security, and revenue
  • Defines and Delivers Reports Across the Business
  • Manages Policy Definition and Implementation
    • Cost, budget, usage, asset, configuration, performance, security, and revenue
  • Performs Analyses, Identifies Recommendations, and Optimization Actions
    • Cost and asset allocation, infrastructure rightsizing, reservation modeling, purchases and modifications, and underutilized/zombie infrastructure
  • Evaluates Capacity Planning, Modeling, and Forecasting
  • Reviews Service Level Reporting
    • Availability, performance, and response