Modern businesses often scale quickly and therefore require expanded data center resources. Or more simply, they do not want to invest a huge amount of capex in expensive hardware in advance - they prefer to follow a “pay as you grow” model. In that case, moving to a public or hybrid cloud environment is often the best solution. However, that is easier said than done, and this process could be hard to perform without an experienced team.
Finally, moving to the cloud requires modifications to the processes of data center operations. Moving your IT operations from maintenance of on-prem infrastructure toward maintenance of virtual instances of storage or computing is not an easy process. Maintenance of infrastructure instantiated in the cloud is often called CloudOps. But what does it really mean?
In this article, you will find more about what CloudOps is and what the benefits are for moving from on-prem to the cloud. There will also be some information about potential CloudOps challenges and you will find some explanations about DevOps & CloudOps cooperation.
CloudOps or cloud operations is a model of operational practice in which all or part of a company’s services or workloads are running in the cloud. CloudOps sometimes refers also to the teams maintaining services deployed in a cloud infrastructure.
CloudOps supports cloud infrastructure by providing procedures and best practices. These practices aim to manage the delivery, tuning, optimization, and performance of a company's IT services in the cloud - whether we are talking about multi or hybrid cloud environments. What is also worth mentioning at the very beginning is the fact that cloud operations try to prevent problems/disasters/issues before they occur due to a proactive approach.
In CloudOps, automated monitoring, logging, alerting and analytics play a considerable role – it provides better insight into the resources and elements of the environment for better management and efficiency of the services.
When deciding to switch up a traditional on-prem infrastructure for one in the cloud, some obstacles can occur.
Companies often take the scalability aspects on top. However, sometimes that means that organizations invest in new servers and nothing more. To ensure low latency for customers, they also have to be managed consistently and properly.
Secondly, the amount of cloud resources seems easy to adjust to a company's needs at first sight. But in fact, the organization has to have developed a way to effectively, and almost on-demand, reduce or increase the load.
Choosing the right cloud solution for the needs and requirements is another challenge a company can encounter. Public clouds are (in most cases) the easiest and obvious choice at the start. However, as all data is controlled via the internet, that means more possible security vulnerabilities.
It is worth considering a private cloud that provides more secure possibilities or hybrid solutions that are a middle ground between scalability and security. Here, it is also critical for the company to map all their infrastructure and networks before moving to the cloud to choose the best-fit cloud. This phase can be time- and effort-consuming but definitely pays off in the future.
New solutions require new skills in the company – managing traditional, physical servers differs from dealing with clouds. That means additional courses and training or a need to employ new specialists on the team.
When the organization has agreed on a strategy which describes its business outcomes and KPIs, there is time to think about a “moving to the cloud” strategy.
This focuses on connecting both business and technical aspects, as well as prioritizing which service/app features will be redesigned in the first place. When the cloud strategy is defined, you can move to talking about the cloud operating model. This allows for organizing all required operational processes that define how the company wants to operate in the cloud.
While choosing a cloud operating model, a company often decides to remove some of hardware from its unit operations in favor of cloud assets. Then the main focus goes to keeping the IT operations consistent.
Fig. 1 From business strategy to cloud operating model
CloudOps provide benefits not only for customers that can take advantage of seamless services but also for the company itself. How? The answer is right below.
Due to using cloud infrastructure, which has a third-party host, the company can save a significant amount of budget that would otherwise be allocated to buying hardware. Moreover, using the cloud allows for avoiding the expenses related to maintaining a data center, such as paying for infrastructure. Going to the cloud allows us to start with a small amount of infrastructure and optimized initial costs, and purchase additional infrastructure as the business grows.
Cloud tools facilitate performance management tasks like testing, reporting or notifications. There are also numerous infrastructure provisioning automation and orchestration solutions. A higher automation level helps with increasing team effectiveness, improving service delivery and avoiding errors related to human manual operations.
Security in the cloud is a broad and demanding topic. No matter if we are talking about software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), or infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), users have to keep data safe and control access to it. Cloud providers do not impact how the end users use the service and whether their actions do not breach the security rules. How can the cloud deal with these challenges and ensure a high-security level?
Thanks to an API connection, complex insight into cloud data is possible. There is no doubt where the data is located or who is using a particular piece of information. Besides visibility, organizations can take care of control-related aspects. Companies can decide to implement data loss prevention (DLP) that disables access and transport of data when suspicious activity is noticed, or encryption prevents unauthorized access to data, especially if that data is stolen. These are only a few cloud possibilities regarding data control.
Restricted access rules and compliance requirements impact not only data but also virtual machines, Kubernetes clusters, and the overall cloud computing field.
Cloud-based services enable increases to capacity, memory, computing power, or storage on demand without the necessity to purchase and set up new hardware. Moreover, the cloud works on a pay-for-use model, so it is possible to quickly increase and decrease the amount of resources according to the actual usage or traffic, even doing so multiple times a day.
Cloud-based solutions also ensure high accessibility. The CloudOps teams may (if it’s not restricted by design) connect to the cloud from the Internet using secure connections and authorization methods.
Accessing the cloud is simplified thanks to IAM solutions provided by each cloud provider. In the reality of the remote work first approach, easy access to services and company resources is essential for employees. With the cloud onboard, the company can work seamlessly without impacting any services, even if some software modifications or upgrades will be necessary in the meantime.
Fig. 2 CloudOps benefits
More and more enterprises are deciding to adopt the cloud in their infrastructure. However, the key is to do it right to see the expected results. Implementing best practices can help to achieve optimum performance.
Increasing the level of automation can facilitate processes connected with provisioning, configuration, upgrades and other repetitive tasks. That allows for redirecting resources to focus on improving your products or services instead of slowing down the development process by managing some of the procedures manually.
The cloud allows for extending of the available resource pool. Instead of buying new, often expensive hardware, the company can invest in increasing cloud capacity. However, in some cases organizations can face higher than expected cloud maintenance costs.
Automated security checks, configuration tests, and alerting about potential risks – these together will ensure consistency and stability of service provision. To achieve that it is worth starting by setting up clear security policies and compliances.
The environment should allow for managing data with a holistic and unified approach even if it means management across different clouds - anything that enables proper and efficient data management.
The above points are general examples that will probably be worth your attention while implementing CloudOps. However, every environment has its own specific requirements, so it is important to take care of all issues.
When it comes to CloudOps and DevOps topics, questions like "how does CloudOps fit into DevOps" often arise.
Let's start with a short introduction to DevOps. DevOps is an approach to software development that fuses development and operation teams to deploy code in an agile way, maximizing its value for the business. CloudOps teams very often benefit from DevOps practices, especially, when automating the cloud operations, deploying infrastructure as code (IaC) or leveraging on the CI/CD process.
If you are interested in the DevOps topic, you can check out our previous publications about DevOps vs. SRE.
On the other hand, CloudOps focuses on linking various roles, such as cloud architecture, software development, IT operations, and security, so as to manage products or services in the cloud.
Both DevOps and CloudOps practices care about good cooperation between teams and positions in the organization, however, they have slightly different aims.
A DevOps team tries to improve the software development life cycle (SDLC), shorten the time-to-market of the new product without compromising on the code quality, and prevent situations that can negatively impact the development schedule and IT operations.
CloudOps's goal is to ensure that data and applications are secure from end to end. Cloud operations also look to maintain all necessary backups and (similar to DevOps) focus on increasing the level of automation.
Following DevOps rules in the CloudOps team's work allows for better management of company cloud-based resources and ensures their high-availability level.
We provide our customers with the best possible solutions that meet scalability requirements without burdening the budget with unnecessary costs. At CodiLime, we build and integrate solutions across public, private, hybrid and multicloud environments.
Our experts can support with:
- moving on-prem apps to the cloud and deployment orchestration with infrastructure as code (IaC),
- cloud-native solution development, including: UX & UI, backend development, CI/CD, automated tests and quality assurance (QA),
- ensuring security and proper monitoring of cloud solutions, as well as performance analysis and troubleshooting.
After building and integration, our clients can rely on us in terms of support and maintenance and overall cloud services management.
You can check out our other cloud-related services.
Looking for a real example of how moving to the cloud can improve a project? In this case, we built an automation module for a network observability solution for our client.
Our goal was to automate the onboarding process of virtual private clouds to the client's network observability platform. We use the IaC approach to enable the configuration of the customer's observability platform. Moreover, the whole process was supported by a team of DevOps engineers who had great experience in network monitoring and observability, cloud operations, and automation.
As a result, the client received a fully-automated process to integrate a virtual private cloud with the client's platform. What's more, as the integration was implemented utilizing widely-adopted technologies, the product is now in line with the relevant industry standards.
Businesses that want to stay appealing to their customers and still offer them high-quality products and services will definitely move to the cloud soon or (what is more probable) have already done so.
With CloudOps, companies can earmark more budget for further development and improvements instead of investing in unnecessary hardware, making projects easier to scale, and allowing systems to run at peak performance.
If you are curious about how cloud implementation could boost your products, leave us a message – our experts will contact you.