Most businesses have their own cloud optimization definition depending on how they are using the cloud. Typically, the key issues in each definition are visibility, identifying and correcting inefficiencies, and ongoing governance—all issues that are easy to resolve with CloudHealth’s cloud management platform.
If you take a small operation utilizing a handful of cloud-based applications and compare it against a multinational enterprise deploying millions of resources in the cloud on a daily basis, it’s only natural that each business will have its own definition of cloud optimization.
Similarly, it is only natural that each business’s cloud optimization definition will have a different level of importance, given that the failure to optimize resources will have greater consequences for the multinational enterprise than the small operation in terms of costs, performance, and security.
Between the two extremes mentioned above, there are millions of businesses—each with their own cloud optimization definition. However, each definition will contain the key issues of knowing what resources are used in the cloud, optimizing resources to maximize efficiency, and implementing a system that monitors cost, performance, and security, so the optimized state is maintained.
Knowing what you use in the cloud
Some businesses read the phrase “cloud optimization” and believe it just involves rightsizing instances to prevent paying for underutilized capacity. Rightsizing is usually a part of a cloud optimization definition, but without knowing what you use in the cloud, when it is used, and how it is used, rightsizing the wrong instances can have the reverse effect of optimization.
Unfortunately, it’s not enough to know you use x number of instances, databases, and applications between the hours of 9 and 5, plus x amount of storage; you have to understand how the resources work with each other in order to ensure you have the right amount of capacity available at the right times to cope with spikes in demand.
This can be complicated enough when your business uses one cloud service provider. But when multiple cloud service providers are involved, or your business operates in a hybrid infrastructure, or separate departments have their own shadow IT, this issue can be one of the hardest to resolve. Nonetheless, having total visibility of your entire environment is necessary for effective optimization.
Identifying and correcting inefficiencies
Once you have total visibility of your entire environment, it then becomes easier to identify where inefficiencies exist, where costs could be reduced, and where performance could be improved without sacrificing the security of your infrastructure. Rightsizing underutilized instances is a good place to start correcting inefficiencies, but you may also need to consider issues such as:
- Reserved Instance lifecycle management.
- Terminating “zombie” assets and resources.
- Enforcing a tagging policy for cost allocation.
- Scheduling start/stop times for non-production resources.
- Access controls and identity management.
This might only be the start of identifying and correcting inefficiencies depending on your business´s definition of cloud optimization, the industry sector you operate in, and the location of end-users. It might also be the case that, once you complete this stage of the optimization journey, you uncover other anomalies that need to be addressed in order to optimize cost, performance, and security.
Maintaining the optimized state
It is virtually inevitable controls will have to be implemented in order to maintain the optimized state. These usually take the format of “cloud policies” or rules under which your business operates in the cloud. The rules need to be agreed between all departments and should include guidelines about what software, applications, and programs departments can use, and policies for cloud security.
Often, reaching an agreement about the rules between different departments is not that difficult, but enforcing the rules can be. For this reason you need to implement a system of “cloud governance” - basically a system of monitoring and reporting on cloud activity that alerts you to any violations of the rules, or to issues relating to resource utilization, performance management, and network security.
For a small operation placing minimal importance on its cloud optimization definition, cloud governance can be performed manually. But, for any business with a significant cloud presence, monitoring and reporting tools are essential to keep on top of cloud governance. Ideally, businesses should use policy-driven automation to ensure they achieve their definition of cloud optimization.