Best practices for transitioning to a “CloudOps” model

Best practices for transitioning to a “CloudOps” model

Best practices for transitioning to a “CloudOps” model

Written by David Linthicum exclusively for Nelson Hilliard

The term “CloudOps” (short for cloud operations) means proper operations of cloud-based systems by enterprises.  It’s a new term that’s becoming more common.  As many enterprises move applications and data to the cloud, there is a clear need to develop operational procedures around the use of public clouds. 

This is a trending topic and bound to get hotter.  Enterprises are starting from scratch when it comes to operating within clouds.  Operations and administration of applications within a public cloud provider that you don’t own, nor can see, is also a huge paradigm shift from most in enterprise IT.  CloudOps is part of this shift. 

CloudOps is a new way of going about operations and includes:

The use of abstract management layers to operate the cloud machine instances, storage instance(s), security, network, and governance using a “single pane of glass.”   This means that you’ll leverage a tool to manage instances inside of the cloud, as well as the other necessary systems, such as security and usage-based accounting (examples include Apigee, Service Mesh, Right Scale, etc.). 

A different type of provisioning, meaning that, instead of buying hardware and software to meet the needs of an expanding set of application, you manage the provisioning of machine instances on the cloud.  There are two types of provisioning that you’ll do within CloudOps.  The first is self-provisioning when you allow the cloud users to allocate their own machines, and you can track these in your usage-based accounting system.  Or, more valuable, is to leverage auto-provisioning, which allows the applications themselves to request more machines, or automatically de-provision machines when not needed.  This also must be tracked so you don’t end up with a million dollar AWS bill at the end of the month.

Setting limits, meaning that part of the CloudOps gig is to set policies that limit what can be done within the public cloud environment.  While users can provision their own machines, they can’t provision 1,000 at a time.  Applications are also limited in the capacity that they can claim.  This is not a control thing but ensures that applications don’t run away with unbudgeted resources.  This was a problem back in the timesharing days as well.

Finally, automation.  This means that, as part of CloudOps, we try to automate pretty much everything we can.  This includes provisioning, user management, security management, API governance, cloud resource governance…you name it.  Why?  Because if we can automate most of the work of CloudOps, then the patterns will be naturally repeatable, and thus you should find that things pretty much run by themselves.  Other things to consider automating would be the self-healing capabilities of the cloud provider, meaning that we have automated procedures in place to correct minor issues, such as machine instances going away, or network or data center outages.

As you can see, CloudOps is complex.  As we move more workloads into the public clouds, CloudOps become even more so, as we learn more and development best practices.  That said, CloudOps should be much cheaper and easier than traditional approaches, and take few resources.  Moreover, we should be able to automate CloudOps to a point where things are just monitored by humans.  The future is almost here. 


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David S. Linthicum is a managing director and chief cloud strategy officer. David is internationally recognized as the worlds No.1 cloud computing industry expert, pundit and thought-leader.

(Disclosure: David Linthicum’s views in the blogs, video shows and podcasts are his OWN and are NOT financially sponsored by Nelson Hilliard)

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