Cloud computing environments are a powerful foundation for modern businesses, but those benefits come with new risks.
As services migrate to the cloud, how do you ensure those services are running correctly? Even small changes to cloud-based services have a significant impact on employees, consumers, and other stakeholders. Ever-increasing integration means that upstream and downstream IT services and applications are all part of a delicate balance. Understanding how everything fits together is crucial to business survival and growth.
It’s clear that we need a set of best practices to help businesses manage their cloud computing environments. The following are five areas you should explore to achieve an optimized, right-sized IT ecosystem.
Monitor Your Services, Not Your Cloud Provider’s Devices
This first principle demands a change in perspective. With traditional infrastructure, you had a defined server, network, and application. It was easy to understand configuration and where everything existed in the network. With cloud services, that’s not the case. The distributed nature of cloud computing environments means you need to measure the availability, performance, and responsiveness of your own applications and ensure they are functioning within the desired service level agreements (SLAs).
Manage Your Complete IT Environment, Inside and Outside the Cloud
Almost every business runs its IT infrastructure in different places. Whatever your blend of IT hosting solutions, a single, centralized monitoring and management platform is your best answer. Whether it’s availability, speed, demand, capacity, or configuration, a single “view of the truth” improves IT service provisioning, response times, and effectiveness.
Ensure Effective Handover and Control Between Development and Operations
Launching a service from development to go-live is risky. As a service gets launched into production, it’s vital that the network monitoring and cloud computing environment are transparent to all teams involved. That means your monitoring solution needs to be up to the challenge. The handover from development to go-live shouldn’t mean learning a new system to keep up-to-date on IT performance.
Take Advantage of Automation
The less time your IT team spends on administrative tasks, the more time you can deliver value-added services. One of the best ways to reduce admin overhead is to embrace automation. A good network monitoring tool automatically identifies new instances and when virtual machines are spun up, shut down, reconfigured, or changed. Connections and integrations between elements of your cloud infrastructure become clear. Finally, integration with IT service management tools optimizes availability, responsiveness, capacity, incident, and problem management.
Avoid Using Your Cloud Vendor’s Network Monitoring Tools
Unfortunately, vendor tools are not an optimal solution for several reasons. Using a cloud vendor’s specific tools means you’re locked into that vendor for that toolset. Using multiple tools from different vendors increases your admin overhead and decreases response times and effectiveness. This is not an instance were more tools means more (or accurate) data. Remember that cloud vendors built these tools to monitor their underlying infrastructure, so they won’t provide insight into application and system-wide performance.