The cloud has streamlined utility infrastructure by hiding all of the technology that we don't need to see behind a magic curtain. However, as an operations manager, there may be some things that you need to see to ensure your business processes are getting the service level they require. Your network and utility compute functions may be sound, but sometimes nuances in your business workflow processes and transactions need a more hands-on approach.
For all of its convenience, does an investment in modern cloud platforms necessarily need to forego your ability to second guess something as simple as an email in the cloud? If everything works out after you hit "send," great; however, who is to say that everything will work out? Where is the demarcation of where your ability to take action ends and when you are at the mercy of the cloud providers support helpline? In most cases, a multi-tiered management approach is necessary. Let's take a look at some of the most important aspects of cloud orchestration, monitoring and processes to consider when operating your data, workflow and operations in the cloud.
As a business operations professional, you need to understand the IT SLA and escalation procedures below the daily business application transactional layer. Each cog in the IT stack has a support mechanism with an SLA. When your network, server, operating system and application supporting your general ledger or order management platform has an issue, you are responsible for delivery of the business service to your team.
When the lower portion of the IT stack, internet, network, compute (IaaS) is in the cloud you may only see your application’s performance sitting on top through your monitoring software set up by your IT team. If you are lucky, the IT team set up something to see the application running but you may be blind to the health of the business process running on top. The IaaS portion is delivered through the cloud API (if the service provides one). Here is the disconnect; in most cases, even your IT team is blind to the cloud provider’s underlying issues, and it is extremely difficult to determine if the issue lies with your local internet or network when swinging on the ‘helpless line’ looking for answers. All you care about is whether the service is up and can your end users get what they need to work efficiently.
The power of unified IT stack monitoring
To avoid feeling helpless as a member of the Operations team and to avoid finger pointing by your IT team, it is best to implement a layered approach.
Are you running required functions in the most efficient way possible? There are many application stacks that will get you to the same place, but overload costs money. You also place additional security risks within your operations flow the more inefficient you become. There is also the question of interoperability - some apps simply do not work well with others, and you need to know this sooner rather than later.
The proper software resources must be instantiated on cloud services and properly configured for the task at hand. As the operations manager, you are also the responsible party if application integration with the database server goes wrong. However, if too much of this process is out of your control, your hands are tied.
Your company will look to you in the event of a load spike that company systems cannot handle. You will also need robust application usage statistics in order to verify certain workflow choices to the C-suite, and this is just if everything goes well. If anything goes wrong in terms of allocation, you will need to refer to these statistics quickly in order to see if there is any bloat that you can reduce.
The complex procedure of orchestrating communications and computations across heterogenous private or public cloud services can quickly become overwhelming without the ability to address each step in the process. For instance, if you need to allocate one of your CPU resources to software, then mount an EBS resource and assign an elastic IP, there is some automation that can help, and some functionality that you need to keep for yourself, depending on the skill set of your in-house team.
In short, there is a proper balance between letting go and holding on when it comes to cloud orchestration. If you give too much functionality to your automation partners and APIs in the cloud, you may save time, but you also face severe consequences if anything goes wrong in the chain. At the same time, you do not want to spend management and executive time focused on rote applications. You need a partner that can tell the difference between the two extremes, relate to your company's specific needs, and apply the proper plan of action.Alphaserve is the eye in the back of your head, watching your cloud workflow, taking back control when you need it. Do not let automation and convenience lull you into a less efficient flow of operations. Outsourcing aspects of your cloud orchestration to a dedicated IT partner will give you that extra layer of security and efficiency that you have been looking for.