What Is Cloud Services Management?
Cloud computing is a concept which, according to some sources, emerged as early as the 1960s. By 1996, the term was being used officially by IT companies like Compaq. In recent decades, however, a new term has started to emerge on the field and is beginning to garner more and more attention. Cloud Services Management, as the name suggests, is a set of tools and techniques that are deployed to manage the cloud. IBM for instance defines it as follows :
“Cloud Service Management and Operations details all the activities that an organization does to plan, design, deliver, operate, and control the IT and cloud services that it offers to customers .”
Different types of cloud services exist out there, ranging all the way from Software as a Service (SaaS) to Platform as a Service (PaaS). The subsequent management of all possible cloud solutions thus is where the role of a cloud services management provider comes in. As businesses demand to see greater integration of cloud services into their business models, so too does the demand for management of these very services grow- just as has been observed as of late. Unfortunately, however, while too many people, the benefits of cloud computing seem apparent at first sight, the usage of such a management service remains unclear.
The Need for Managing the Cloud
But moving to the cloud seems like such a simple task- on the surface. Except, it isn’t. It is tempting to think that the digital transformation of a business simply involves moving the sum total of what might otherwise be a corporations’ proprietary operations, straight over to the cloud, where things can then be handled by a service provider like Azure or Google Cloud Platform. And that is all well and good, except that this a far more simplistic approach than what a successful corporation is likely to take on.
The fact is, every business wants a return on investment. Every CEO and CIO wants to be able to claim that their decisions have led to a never-before-experienced level of annual growth at the company. And yet, it goes without saying that only a select few can do so. The differentiating factor does not lie in a difference of intellect or even in the number of resources that were present to any individual company initially, but rather, in the way a C-Suite member thinks when it comes to developing a sound business strategy. Cloud Services Management, is just one of these strategic checkpoints that any modern-day business which aims for success, needs to cross off their checklist. According to McKinsey & Company, a management consulting company, the transition to cloud computing represents what is to be viewed as a collective active-action-problem; it is something that requires a coordinated effort across the teams that lie at the top of an organization. To capture its full value thus means going beyond the simplistic effort to just move stuff online. Rather, a coherent strategy and execution plan are needed- just like it is with any other part of a business.
In essence, it all boils down to understanding the best methods a corporation can deploy to maximize benefits, all whilst remaining cost-effective and maintaining customer satisfaction with the level of service and/or product it provides. In other words, every move needs to be strategically designed and calculated to maximize output. So, for instance, while opting for multiple vendors for different technical needs may seem like a sound idea at the beginning, things tend to get a bit out of hand once things like cloud sprawl are taken into consideration and a corporation learns that it is losing money, instead of making it.
Many people in the industry as of late, are beginning to understand this idea more clearly, especially ever since Amazon Web Services (AWS) decided to publish its Capacity versus Utilization graph a little way into the 2010s. The graph shows, in a very simple manner, just how it is that traditional hardware over provides for supply than the actual market demand and how, this lies in sharp contrast to an automated cloud space which, unlike traditional hardware, allows for automatic adjustments in capacity and consequently the supply offered at any given point, thereby lowering the opportunity cost and real-time expenditures of a corporation. Something as simple as capacity automation via the cloud can thus reduce incurred costs by a significant amount. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Once cloud computing is integrated with a trusted cloud service management system, the cloud- an already efficient way of handling data, becomes even more efficient. To achieve this, however, certain things need to be kept in mind.
Learning to Monitor Cloud Health
In our point of view, a cloud service management system is like a health monitor. Sure, the cloud has its benefits but just as it is with people, the cloud needs to be monitored for its health from time to time (or continuously really) to ensure that it functions in the desired manner. The rapid proliferation of hybrid cloud computing into businesses, however, has undeniably created marked stress on infrastructure teams, who, without proper guidance from the C-Suite, find it difficult to keep things running at maximum efficiency. C-Suite members in turn, however, often do not find any easier to manage the whole process, especially when using age-old native or proprietary systems and are understanding more and more, how deploying third-party service management of the cloud could reduce not only their own stress but also lead to increased productivity in operations.
But whilst third-party cloud management services could definitely decrease the burden, we still recommend spending a little time learning the ins and outs of the architecture of the cloud an enterprise is using. Once done, this could help clarify a lot of problems from the get-go, especially when trying to account for wasted resources or heightened costs.
As a starting point, try learning whether a series of multiple, distributed points are being used to carry out the same operations by different users in the cloud space. If so, the system needs to look into it because it suffers from a cloud sprawl. Resources are being wasted rampantly and an urgent fix is desperately called on for. On the contrary, however, it is also important to consider whether the cloud has redundancy systems in place. A redundancy system is something that functions as a sort of fall back up plan for systems to operate on. A complete lack of these could mean that the enterprise lacks an effective strategy in cases where say the demand for a certain service suddenly spikes. To put it in simpler words, the idea is to investigate whether the cloud service being used over provides or under provides. Either could be a business hazard if not dealt with immediately and hands-on.
One way to counter these and other cloud-related problems, however, is by trying to understand the problem at a basic level. Try, for instance, to zero in on all the points where the cloud architecture requires optimization and look at everything that can be done to minimize potential risks, such as those coming from using the cloud space inefficiently.
Next, look at the possible list of solutions. Ask yourself whether AI is your best hope for process automation and cloud management, or do you need something else? As mentioned earlier, third-party tools are a great way to figure this out without feeling overwhelmed by the problem. Alternatively, however, certain tried and tested ways of ensuring maximum output in cloud computing do already exist. These include DevOps, in which the gaps between developers and operators are minimized, leading to a smoother workflow. Other things include trying to re-examine the cloud type your company has chosen and decided whether it is time to move on from private to public cloud spaces. Similarly, it would not hurt looking into microservice sand any isolated problems within the cloud architecture that require immediate attention.
Keeping Priorities in Check
As with anything, it is often quite easy to lose sight of the main goal when one is overburdened with multiple problems at the same time. The technical jargon, not to mention, makes it even easier to get side-tracked at times and lose focus. Any cloud optimization process or cloud service management options a business investigates should, at the end of the day, align with corporate priorities. The needs of the enterprise should be guiding the strategy for cloud management rather than the other way around. Depending on its requirements, a business may choose to rely on Kubernetes or VMs. It may opt for a multi-cloud approach or decide instead, to stick to a private cloud instead. Any set of choices can be made as long as the processes that are being carried out align with a corporation’s core business process policies and not to mention, leads to maximum growth of both the corporation itself and the individuals working for it.