Introduction to Cloud Management

September 7, 2021

Cloud management is the control of products and services running in the cloud. By learning to manage the cloud, you will learn to manage cloud processes, have full access to workflow automation, create cloud instances, manage resources, track cost usage, and divide costs.

In this article, we will understand how to choose the best cloud platform. We will also discuss the challenges of cloud management and ways to beat them.

Table of contents

Prerequisite

To follow along with this article - the reader will need a dasic knowledge of cloud computing.

Let’s dive right in by understanding the concept.

Introduction

The cloud permits us to administrate control of technologies and software. It helps manage resources and automate processes.

Cloud management caters to the needs of products and services by providing the necessary functionalities like flexibility, scalability, security, and adaptation.

Cloud management helps enterprises interact and share data easily. It gives access to many people, enabling work to be done on a particular file at the same time. It is a flexible way to grow a business.

Getting acquainted with cloud management will fast-track service delivery, increase efficiency, create a workflow between the IT and the business unit.

On the other side, cloud computing and its management is not a decision to hand over to the IT department. As much as it relates to IT, it affects and impacts your business.

Cloud management platforms

Cloud platforms provide all necessary tools that assist companies to scale a cloud environment. The cloud environment can be private, public, hybrid, or multi-cloud.

List of suggested (20) platforms

  1. CloudBot software
  2. SnowWare software
  3. Morpheus database
  4. Flexera
  5. IBM
  6. Snow commander
  7. Citrix application delivery management
  8. Cloudcockpit
  9. Corestack
  10. Abiquo
  11. Lumen cloud application manager
  12. Densify
  13. Hyperglance
  14. Google cloud
  15. Amazon cloud
  16. Azure arc
  17. OnCommand cloud manager
  18. Openstack
  19. Zesty
  20. Snow Enobotics

Traditional IT services management vendors provide services that use tactical processes to deliver, manage, and improve the methods businesses use to consume information technology.

They assist with performance management, disaster recovery, capacity planning, and work on the configuration of management.

Examples of traditional IT services management are:

  • BMC software
  • CA technologies
  • Microfocus
  • ServiceNow

Cloud services

Currently, the cloud computing market value is at USD 274.79 billion in 2020.

(Grand View Research, 2020)

According to Cloud Forecast in 2018 by Gartner, the market share for the cloud services are:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS) - 41%
  • Business Platform as a Service (BPaaS) - 26%
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) - 18%
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) - 9%
  • Management and Security Services - 6%

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

This allows cloud users to access infrastructure for cloud activities. IaaS gives enterprises control over the virtual cloud infrastructure.

Companies prefer IaaS for short-term projects, testing runs for new applications, etc. If you decide to stick with it, the cost for operation increases.

IaaS helps in hosting:

  • Web applications
  • Storing data
  • Backup and recovery
  • High-performance computing
  • Big data analytics
  • Testing environment

List of IaaS vendors:

  • Amazon Web Services
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine
  • Hostwind
  • Linode
  • IBM Cloud Private
  • Alibaba Elastic Compute Service
  • CenturyLink Cloud

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS helps users build minimal products to sophisticated complex ones. Usually, these cloud service providers give users the environment to deploy their services.

With PaaS, you have access to manage your data and application. PaaS helps in managing storage, server, networking, virtualization, and middleware.

Some advantages of PaaS include:

  • Added development abilities.
  • Expertise in deployment is not necessary.
  • Multi-device applications can be deployed easily.

List of PaaS Vendors:

  • Amazon Web Service Elastic Beanstalk
  • Heroku
  • Windows Azure
  • Firebase
  • MetLife
  • Netlify

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Without using the cloud, enterprises have little or no control over any service. SaaS allows service distribution of software via the web.

This cloud service runs on a subscription model with services ranging from networking, storage, data, application, runtime, virtualization, and others.

Benefits of SaaS:

  • Rapid deployment with automated software updates
  • Easier to scale
  • Low costs for management

Lists of SaaS Vendors:

  • Dropbox
  • Slack
  • Shopify
  • HubSpot
  • Salesforce
  • Zendesk
  • Cisco WebEx
  • Google Workspace

Challenges

Enterprises have migrated from storing data on their local servers to running applications online.

Cloud management doesn’t come without setbacks or challenges.

One major oblivious factor is the cost of resources. We need to understand the challenges of managing clouds to maximize the advantages of managing the cloud.

Some of the challenges of cloud management and ways to mitigate them are:

Cost management

It helps companies to manage the value associated with their cloud service. This could be very tricky, as managing resources can get out of hand and even become redundant. The high demand for cloud storage increases its cost.

Ways to mitigate

  • Enterprises should use cloud storage with Government aided policies and regulations.
  • Conduct proper financial analysis.
  • Estimate the budget from the start.
  • Hire experts to assist with the value-management analysis.

Cloud sprawl

It is a scenario where an organization losses track of the cloud resources. It’s an uncontrolled escalation of an enterprise cloud service, instance, and provider.

This commonly occurs when an organization fails to manage its cloud environments effectively.

Ways to mitigate
  • Enterprises should use cloud management tools.
  • They must understand the usage of clear-cut user policies.
  • Build a cloud strategy.
  • Organizations should ensure they conduct regular audits on the cloud.
  • Auto-scaling.
  • Set alerts that trigger management when losing control.

Interactivity

This deals with sharing, exchange, and use of knowledge that goes between the software and the computer system. Cloud services have lock-in periods. This makes it difficult to transact with the other forums or environments. Any form of cloud migration ends up in the reformatting of information.

Ways to mitigate
  • Build portable applications.
  • Install a multi-cloud strategy.
  • Use microservices.
  • Follow event-driven architecture.
  • Cloud providers must have the right resources to integrate a client’s cloud computing needs.

Better ways to manage cloud resources

  • Monitor the cloud storage space.
  • Use the best security.
  • Create the infrastructure that suits the business.
  • Automate processes
  • Document experiences and issues faced.
  • Keep track of
    • Software version
    • Errors encountered
    • Command runs
    • Arguments provided
    • Data files used
    • Fixes applied, how you applied them, and where you can find them.
    • Useful reference links that helped to fix the issue.

Benefits

Scalability

The cloud can increase or decrease resources based on the needs. Upscaling the resources - reduces the workload, while increasing the costs. We downscale the resources when not needed.

Resilience

Cloud provides data recovery services. They use third parties applications to separate resources when there are server and storage failures.

Multi-tenancy

Cloud services can host multiple users on the identical cloud infrastructure.

Fundamental functionalities

When you are starting with the cloud or cloud migration, these features should guide you in your decision-making:

Security and privacy management

Cloud security is important for any cloud resource provider.

You must know the measures the service is taking or using to shield your data.

  • User data protection is protected by the law.
  • By switching to the cloud, we do not use firewalls to safeguard the data.
  • Choose the cloud service provider that trusts encrypted security applications.
  • Make sure that they have data loss systems that prevent attacks on their file systems.
  • Check for security protocols that hackers can’t breach.

Service levels

Service level consideration is important when businesses have strict needs for availability, time interval, capacity, and support.

  • Cloud Service Level Agreements (Cloud SLAs) are important when choosing a provider.
  • Have a contractual relationship between a cloud service customer and a cloud service provider.
  • Verify the legal requirements safety of information hosted within the cloud service.
  • Must follow GDPR.

Cost management

A decent cloud provider checks and cut financial resources regardless of the cloud service used. When selecting a cloud provider, you must know the pricing structure. Also, you would have to understand the services that come with higher fees.

Customer service support

While choosing a cloud provider, it is best to understand how the customer can reach the service. It should be less strenuous to the cloud provider you decide on.

Deployment

Many cloud services would require third-party apps for deploying. When choosing, you must consider how easy it is to integrate between each of the services. Consider the time taken by the enterprise to prepare for interoperability.

Conclusion

Cloud management is essential to any cloud organization. We need to grasp the workings of the cloud environment while starting out.

The key takeaways from this article were:

  • Understanding how to manage a cloud environment.
  • Getting to know various cloud management platforms.
  • Best ways to manage cloud resources and understanding challenges.
  • Methods of identifying good cloud managers and vendors.

Thank you for reading! Happy learning!

References

  1. Cloud Migration
  2. Importance of Cloud Computing
  3. Best Practice for using Cloud (Sustainability Institute, 2020)
  4. Grand View Research
  5. Cloud Scenario
  6. Cloud Computing: The current state of the industry

Peer Review Contributions by: Srishilesh P S


About the author

Anyebe Blessing Ene

Blessing is a frontend developer, technical writer, who love anything related to design. She loves developing beautiful web solutions and interested in everything tech. Blessing enjoys reading, cooking, and traveling.

This article was contributed by a student member of Section's Engineering Education Program. Please report any errors or innaccuracies to enged@section.io.