Cloud Operations Management: Is the Cloud Really Making Operations Easier?

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Click to learn more about author Jay Chapel.

As cloud becomes more mature, the need for cloud operations management becomes more pervasive. In my world, it seems pretty much like IT Operations Management (ITOM) from decades ago. In the way-back machine I used to work at Micromuse, the Netcool company, which was acquired by IBM Tivoli, the Smarter Planet company, which then turned Netcool into Smarter Cloud … well, you get the drift.

Here we are 10+ years later, and IT = Cloud (and maybe chuck in some Watson).


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Cloud operations management is the process concerned with designing, overseeing, controlling, and subsequently redesigning cloud operational processes. This involves management of both hardware and software as well as network infrastructure to promote an efficient and lean cloud.

Analytics is heavily involved in cloud operations management and is used to maximize visibility of the cloud environment, which gives the organization the intelligence required to control the resources and run services confidently and cost-effectively.

Cloud Operations Management Can:

  • Improve efficiency and minimize the risk of disruption
  • Deliver the speed and quality that users expect and demand
  • Reduce the cost of delivering cloud services and justify your investments

Since we help enterprises control cloud costs, we mostly talk to customers about the part of cloud operations concerned with running and managing resources. We are all about that third bullet. We strive to accomplish that while also helping with the first two bullets to really maximize the value the cloud brings to an enterprise.

So what’s really cool is that we get to ask people what tools they are using to deploy, secure, govern, automate, and manage their public cloud infrastructure, as those are the tools that they want us to integrate with as part of their cost optimization efforts. We need to understand the roles operations folks now play in public cloud (CloudOps).

And, no it’s not easier to manage cloud operations. In fact, I would say it’s harder. The cloud provides numerous benefits: agility, time to market, OpEx vs. CapEx, etc. But you still have to automate, manage and optimize all those resources. The pace of change is mind boggling – AWS advertises 150+ services now, from basic compute to AI and everything in between.

Who are the people responsible for cloud operations management? Their titles tend to be DevOps, CloudOps, ITOps, and infrastructure-focused, and they are tasked with operationalizing their cloud infrastructure while teams of developers, testers, stagers, and the like are constantly building apps in the cloud and leveraging a bottoms-up tools approach. Ten years ago, people could not just stand up a stack in their office and have at it, but they sure as hell can now.

So, what does this look like in the cloud? I think KPMG did a pretty good job with this graphic. It generally hits on the functional buckets we see people stick tools into for cloud operations management.

How should you approach your cloud operations management journey? Let’s revisit the goals from above.

  1. Efficiency. Automation is the name of the game. Narrow in on the tools that provide automation to free up your team’s development time.
  2. Deliverability. When your team has time, they can focus on delivering the best possible product to your customers.
  3. Cost control. Think of “continuous cost control” as a companion to continuous integration and continuous delivery. This area, too, can benefit from automated tools.

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