CloudHealth 2016 in Review (It’s Been a Good Year)
by Rachel Dines
2016 was a memorable year in the cloud industry: AWS got into the hardware game, Azure won some marquis customers, Google for Work became Google Cloud, VMware and AWS teamed up, and the public cloud leaders made significant geographic expansion in Europe and Asia. The CloudHealth product team also had a huge year -- we shipped more than 125 new features and product enhancements for our platform. The speed of innovation that the engineering team maintains is, frankly, astonishing! Let’s take a look back at some of the 2016 highlights... I’ll even give a sneak peek of what you can expect in 2017.
Have you ever wished you could automate basic operational tasks in your cloud environment to help free up time to work on other projects? In 2016 CloudHealth introduced the next generation of policies, which include automated actions and can do just that. For example, you could set a schedule to turn VMs off when they aren’t in use (i.e., lights on/lights off policies). Or you could set a policy to look for EBS volumes that are unattached for more than 2 weeks and terminate them after going through an approval workflow. Or stop untagged instances and notify the owners. With dozens of actions available, including custom actions and the ability to execute Lambda functions, the possibilities are endless.
How can you tell if your applications and workloads are running on the appropriate resources? Without rightsizing analysis, it’s nearly impossible to tell when infrastructure has been overprovisioned. Over the course of 2016, CloudHealth made several enhancements to its Rightsizing functionality for both compute and storage and across AWS and Azure. Rightsizing analysis takes into account CPU, memory, network and disk IO for servers and capacity, read throughput, and write throughput for storage. CloudHealth compares the actual performance and usage to the provisioned resources to determine whether assets are overprovisioned. For example, if you have an application running on m4.xlarge instance types that are severely underutilized, CloudHealth may recommend that the application should be run on c4.large instance types, which will save money without sacrificing performance.
Performance Management Integrations
Many of our customers told us that they use performance management solutions such as New Relic and Datadog for monitoring their cloud infrastructure and that they would like to be able to analyze this data in CloudHealth. So this year we began offering support for both solutions in the platform. These integrations enable customers to:
- Visualize advanced performance metrics per asset: CloudHealth retrieves granular system metrics (e.g. CPU, memory, disk, etc.) and labels from New Relic and/or Datadog hosts. Within each instance in CloudHealth, customers can drill down into performance and see a detailed view of network performance in a multi-chart visualization.
- Rightsize infrastructure: Performance data retrieved from performance management solutions is used in CloudHealth Policies and Reports, including the extremely popular Rightsizing report.
Microsoft Azure Support
According to a recent study, 82% of organizations plan to use multiple public clouds. Which is why, in support of our growing and diversifying customer base, CloudHealth released support for Microsoft Azure in the platform. Some highlights of the Azure functionality include:
- Visibility across all subscriptions: Using CloudHealth with Azure gives customers consistent visibility and tracking for cost/usage/performance across multiple clouds. Easily track by subscription, enrollment, or any Perspective.
- Burn-down reports: Keep track of Azure spend against Enterprise Agreement commitments with Microsoft with the CloudHealth burndown report. Customers can set policies to be notified when burndown rates are higher than expected and keep track of individual department/project spend.
- Performance metrics and rightsizing: Find and downsize underutilized VMs with CloudHealth’s Rightsizing reports that look across CPU, memory, network, and disk.
Security Policies for AWS
One of the most popular features we released all year were our best practice Security Policies for AWS. This feature came as a response to a challenge that we saw many customers facing when managing security in distributed and fast-paced cloud environments. Security Policies for AWS provide an out-of-the-box best practice security policy that monitors customers’ AWS accounts, services and resources, identifies issues, and makes recommendations for how to improve security posture. For example, CloudHealth will alert you if an IAM user’s account is not secured properly, if an EC2 Security Group is improperly configured or if CloudTrail logs are exposed. The policies (which are all configurable to meet your organization’s specific needs) are based on the published AWS best practices for security as well as the CIS Amazon Web Services Foundations.
With 2016 just barely in the rearview mirror, we’re already off to the races with executing against our 2017 plans. What’s in store for the CloudHealth platform? I’ll give you a few hints about our themes for this coming year:
- Hybrid cloud - Data center, public cloud, or a little of both? We’ll have you covered.
- More security enhancements - Taking our Security Policies for AWS to the next level.
- Dashboards - one place to see everything you need, just the way you want it.