Having spent the last year discussing the issues with a large numbers of cloud newcomers, and as part of my position in Newvem, I found that the cloud can be really great if managed correctly – but what exactly does that mean?
I opened a new topic on Quora “Cloud Management” and asked a simple question: “What is “Cloud Management” and what areas does it cover?” I got several answers from companies that define themselves as “Cloud Management” providers. IMHO, all of their answers were good, but none were perfect. Some of the guys described cloud management as the abstraction layer of the infrastructure and used the terms delivery, design, and deploy. Others mentioned SLA and used terms such as tracking and auditing. The answers lacked the objectivity I looked for and it was really hard to find true uniformity between the suggested definitions/descriptions.
Presenting my own view, yet trying to remain objective, I finally decided to coin my own simple definition of cloud management:
Cloud Management refers to all cloud environment aspects and their related tasks.
Tasks include deploying, monitoring, analyzing and more. Cloud aspects include capacity, utilization, availability and more. Continuing my research, I backed up and checked the Wikipedia definition of “Systems Management”. I wasn’t surprised to find the term “administration”. The Wikipedia article details the different administration tasks, such as managing servers’ availability and security. At first glance it would actually seem relevant for the cloud as well – but is that really the case?
It is interesting to try and compose a list of cloud environment aspects. Currently it seems to only some of the Systems Management aspects from Wikipedia, though I expect it will need to include additional items. The same is true for the list of tasks. For example, in the cloud you can find new operations such as analysis and federation.
Another important cloud management issue is the recognition that you will never reach saturation. In a cloud solution, the amount of users changes all the time as do their behavior and needs. These usage pattern changes force the cloud environment to change. The difference between the deployment investments and the ongoing costs should be minor. The same team that deployed the cloud needs to maintain a continuous deployment practice. Cycles of learning, designing, and changing must be part of any cloud management policy.
If we are not delivering the right quality of services, you should be able to walk away. You, the consumer of these services, should be in full control.
Dr. Werner Vogels’, Amazon AWS CTO at the 2012 AWS Cloud Summit in New York
The cloud management market is on shaky ground, and the related terminology is in flux. Cloud management is not only for the IaaS layer. I am still looking for relevant management solutions for PaaS and SaaS. Enterprises and ISVs leaders push to reach their cloud services but unfortunately are not aware of the importance of having a management solution and eventually find themselves lost. Don’t be afraid to fall, quick managed moves to the cloud help us understand the mistakes and lead to an ongoing great successful business.