Cloud technology has forever changed the way businesses operate. At the same time, organizations who are leveraging the cloud – either private or public – are finding it to a real challenge to manage those resources in a way that is both efficient and optimally effective. It’s not unheard of for a business to come in at tens of thousands of dollars over budget due to difficulty managing their cloud. Thankfully, IT process automation can provide a solution to this conundrum, allowing them to get the most out of cloud technology without tapping out their resources.
In the not-so-distant past, IT managers worried about things like running low on storage and sky-rocketing electric bills. These days, cloud computing and virtualization has provided a much greater degree of flexibility and scalability, effectively removing much of those worries. And it’s something that is gaining momentum, with Gartner predicting that almost half of all large enterprises will be using a hybrid cloud by the end of 2017.
Yet, despite all of these benefits and the more widespread use of cloud technology, managing these resources has proven to be a new and different challenge for many organizations. One area in particular is the decision of how to use those resources, since – at least for the time being – the cloud is not infinite. Without adequate monitoring, these resources can easily become unnecessarily depleted, otherwise known as virtual sprawl, or VM sprawl for short.
VM sprawl the rapid increase of virtual machines being consumed but not actually used. Over time, these idle resources continue to rise, subsequently driving up costs while simultaneously causing a negative impact on service level agreements (SLAs). The real conundrum in this scenario comes into play when IT must choose between purchasing more resources or simply performing less. Neither of these scenarios is good for the organization.
IT process automation is the ideal solution to this type of business challenge because it can essentially control the computing power based on need and demand. More machines can be spun up when additional power is needed and they can be spun back down when that need dissipates, such as during idle times. This type of workload automation provides a way for the enterprise to more efficiently and effectively provision resources across their cloud and virtual environments.
All of this being said, there are three key steps to ensure that your IT department can better manage cloud technology:
First, take inventory of all current resources. The modern IT environment is comprised of a complex combination of applications, systems, databases, programs and platforms. When cloud technology is being leveraged, it’s critical that the organization has a clear strategy for resource need and allocation. This will ensure maximum efficiency.
Next, use IT process automation to its fullest benefits. One of the biggest hurdles the IT team faces when it comes to resource management is reducing the amount of manual activities. IT process automation can and should be leveraged to eliminate these manual tasks and workflows, such as automated server provisioning based on intuitive data assessment.
Finally, establish and adhere to specific resource parameters. If you want your resources to be allocated efficiently and ensure that your SLAs are consistently being met, you must set specific parameters for your VM. This includes establishing a maximum and minimum and configuring the IT process automation tool to spin up or stop automatically based on need. Furthermore, provisioning alerts, notifications and escalations will help your IT team gain greater visibility and control over resource usage.
Without question, cloud technology has revolutionized the way companies are able to run their operations. Without the property management of these resources, however, the benefits of cloud and virtualization cannot be fully realized. Applying the above tips within a comprehensive infrastructure that incorporates IT process automation is the secret to more effective cloud resource management.