In this article, we will talk about cloud operations (CloudOps): how it fits in with development operations (DevOps), what benefits you stand to gain by adding a CloudOps team to your organization, and what challenges are associated with working in the cloud.
What is DevOps?
DevOps is a combination of the terms software development and IT operations. It is a set of practices and procedures that help organizations to create an agile, collaborative environment that brings together software development, IT operations, and quality engineering so they can:
- Shorten development cycles.
- Decrease time to market.
- Implement continuous improvements.
- Ensure that projects align with company goals.
- Deliver high-quality products to satisfy customer expectations and needs.
The implementation of DevOps helps companies improve processes, tools, and efficiencies to create a better workplace environment and to continually add value for customers.
How does CloudOps fit into DevOps?
When you migrate to the cloud, your cloud-based applications and data will not manage themselves. CloudOps brings together various roles such as cloud architecture, software development, IT operations, security, and compliance to manage products and services in the cloud. Using best practices and optimization procedures learned from DevOps, the CloudOps team works to ensure high availability and reliable access to all of the company’s cloud-based offerings.
The goal of CloudOps is to ensure that your cloud operations are focused and carefully monitored. The cloud is large, complex, and moves at warp speed, so without cloud operations in place, you may run into trouble. But once you nail it, you can:
- Deliver cloud services and infrastructure.
- Optimize performance.
- Ensure that services are available no matter which platform is used to access the cloud.
- Maintain industry standards and compliance.
- Automate services and configuration management.
- Ensure there is reliable disaster recovery in place.
- Ensure that service level agreements (SLAs) are met.
- Make sure that the cloud services are secure and available.
How do CloudOps and DevOps help your business?
DevOps roles traditionally focused on developing and managing applications and IT services on physical servers located on site. This can be expensive and hard to scale as the company grows and needs more space and computers to meet new demands.
Cloud computing is more cost-effective and scalable because development and operations teams don’t have to spend time managing physical assets. CloudOps is an extension of DevOps and IT. The team focuses on achieving agility and speed by developing best practices and procedures for automating software delivery, application management, server management, provisioning, and making everything available on demand from the cloud. The team needs to accomplish this without compromising scalability and security.
Focusing on cloud and DevOps together helps teams:
- Promote an agile work environment.
- Bring together diverse departments and talent.
- Encourage teamwork and ownership.
- Align with business goals.
- Refine and improve processes.
- Ensure cloud operations support business needs.
- Increase productivity.
- Deliver high availability rates.
- Increase product value.
- Meet customer expectations and needs.
Benefits of CloudOps
With a focused CloudOps strategy, companies can experience several benefits:
It’s cost-effective: By using cloud infrastructure hosted by a third party, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to purchase and maintain expensive hardware. You could also see savings from facilities, utilities, and other costs associated with maintaining a large physical space for a data center.
It’s scalable and flexible: If you need extra bandwidth, cloud-based services can take care of you immediately. Your team is free to work on other business matters rather than working to find extra space or configure new hardware.
It can help your team automate processes: The cloud provides several tools that help you to automate activities such as infrastructure provisioning, creating builds, running quality assurance tests, generating reports, and more. Using the cloud to automate processes ultimately reduces time to market.
It increases security: Cloud-hosting services spend most of their time monitoring cloud security to ensure that your data and services are safe from cybercriminals. According to RapidScale, 94% of businesses saw improvement in security after moving to the cloud.
It simplifies backup management and disaster recovery: Cloud-based systems provide opportunities for storing your data in multiple locations. This means that the cloud is fault-tolerant and offers several failover options to protect your data.
It’s accessible: Your team can access and manage your cloud operations from almost anywhere using almost any device, regardless of platform.
It makes integration seamless: Applications that share common services can co-exist in the cloud without being interconnected.
It can enable continuous operations: Software can be updated and quickly deployed without disrupting services, meaning that operations in the cloud are always available for use.
Challenges of CloudOps
While there are a lot of benefits associated with the cloud, you may encounter a few challenges as you delve into the operations of managing your cloud, including:
Budget overruns: If you have idle or underused space you could end up overspending on your cloud budget. Businesses are wasting up to 35% of their cloud budget because of inefficiencies, wasted space, and idle resources.
Security risks: While cloud services keep underlying systems secure, you still need to ensure that you have proper security configurations in place.
Governance: Ironically, the benefit of being able to quickly and easily deploy updated or new resources can also be a challenge. Rapid deployment can lead to a lack of governance and compliance.
CloudOps best practices
After you decide to implement a CloudOps strategy into your DevOps strategy, you can help your organization successfully work in the cloud by following these best practices:
Develop a cloud migration strategy
You can’t suddenly decide to move your business to the cloud. You need a cloud migration strategy that weighs costs, security risks, management buy-in, and so on.
Visualize your network infrastructure
You need a complete understanding of your current network infrastructure. Map out your system so you understand how the systems work together to deliver customer value. Documenting your network helps you make better decisions when adapting processes to cloud-based technologies.
Promote a culture shift
Adding cloud computing to your business can come with growing pains. You will need to help management and employees to shift their thinking from how processes and procedures have been done traditionally, to how they can now be done in the cloud. Help people to understand how CloudOps is aligned with DevOps strategies to provide greater flexibility, agility, and speed.
Allow user self-provisioning
Provide tools that allow end-users to set up and launch applications and services that they need without involving IT. This frees up the CloudOps team to focus on their jobs without worrying about simple, but time-consuming, requests from employees.
Use processes that automate testing against security configurations. The automated processes can help to establish compliance policies to ensure consistency across multiple teams as your cloud services change and grow.
Streamline change management
Implement automation that does not disrupt your development workflow. Use an agile change management system that allows teams to work seamlessly.
Remember that after you are in the cloud, you are not finished. You will need to continuously look for ways to improve your applications and infrastructure, evaluate processes and procedures to find improvements, increase accessibility, and optimize productivity.
The ultimate goal for your continuous monitoring and implementing improvements is to provide increased value to your customers, which should increase your revenue.
Are you already working in the cloud? See how Lucidscale can help you visualize your current system.Learn more
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