Manage Your Cloud While Staying Grounded
Given the transformational nature of Cloud computing, providers are rushing in to offer a variety of services to help manage a company’s operations in the Cloud. During these initial years of the Cloud computing era, a great amount of thought is being given to the design of the Cloud and its services; however many providers consider the operational activities surrounding Cloud to remain as “Business as Usual.” Cloud services by nature are a mixture of innovative, virtual product offerings and service operations.
Cloud computing is not as much about a new technology as it is about an operating model to manage shared IT resources across multiple users and applications. In a Cloud computing environment the physical resources are operated to deliver abstract IT resources on-demand, at scale and in a multi-tenant environment. The Cloud computing environment mostly uses the same management tools, operating systems, middleware, databases, server platforms, network cabling, storage arrays and other systems that traditional client-server IT has employed for many years. However, some additional technologies such as policy-driven automation, metering systems and self-service provisioning portals are necessary and have become significant in a Cloud computing environment.
The Cloud computing industry and its offerings will likely become an IT commodity eventually since providers will have little means to differentiate through product offerings. As a result, Cloud providers will have to differentiate through other means such as establishing high-quality service levels driven by well-managed Cloud operations to create a differentiating market offering and provide added value to end customers. To manage the Cloud effectively providers must move from an IT-centric operations management approach towards a more service-centric operations model that places greater emphasis on customer satisfaction and customer experience. A well-defined mesh of functions, processes and tools that are tailored towards the management of a dynamic and virtual environment will provide Cloud services operations with the agility and flexibility that is required to manage the environment on a day-to-day basis.