Cloud management is more than just monitoring service in the cloud computing environment. It is the task of provisioning, metering, billing and monitoring service in a cloud computing environment and staying profitable.
The following key areas play an important role in operating cloud services:
- Self-service Portal
- Service Level Agreement
- Policy Management
- Metering and billing
A key requirement for operating in a cloud environment is to enable the self-service aspect of cloud computing to allow service consumers the power to provision the appropriate services from an approved service catalog. The self-service portal must enable consumers to access billing details, SLAs, service consumption dashboards, and service provisioning.
Service Level Agreement
A cloud service may or may not have an associated SLA. A SLA uses an agreed upon language that forms a contract between the ISV and cloud service consumer that enables both parties to agree, to be understood, and to have a consistent approach in the definition and reporting of the quality of a cloud solution. ISV designed SLAs must contain a number of attributes that have an established set of metrics that will be monitored and measured to make sure that the cloud service is meeting its contractual obligations.
Policy management is the demonstration of, and enforcement to, regulatory standards, industry standards, and internal best practices. To have your cloud services run effectively, it must adhere to these agreed upon standards and policies that promote efficient operating procedures.
Example policy categories include the following:
- Security policies
- Regulatory policies
- Resource scheduling policies
- Configuration policies
- Quality of service (QoS) policies
ISVs need to ensure that there is a monitoring system in place to effectively manage and monitor the various policies.
Metering and Billing
It is very critical to have a comprehensive monitoring and metering system to support provisioning, control costs, meet SLA obligations, and define chargeback schemes. Metering is a very valuable endeavor in demonstrating resource consumption. ISVs need to offer an automated billing capabilities to support the new cloud service pricing models, whether that is via flat-rate or usage-based billing. However, this can be challenging due to the cloud infrastructure’s dynamic nature and the complexity to track usage based on resource consumption by each cloud consumer. It is also very critical to provide an easy-to-navigate billing dashboard, and a billing API so that the billing metrics can be integrated with existing reporting and analysis systems. If consumers can see their usage in real time, they can make analytical decisions about controlling their consumption accordingly.
Service players need to extend their offering to include Cloud management in order to provide ISVs the true value and potential from Cloud technology. Differentiation of service vendors will be made not only on whether they can host products in the cloud or can do SaaSification of product, but can they extend their cloud services to Cloud Management as well.
Contribution By Ananta Shamal, Director of Cloud Services, Symphony Services
Symphony Services is a leading global specialist providing software product engineering outsourcing services. The company’s focus on Engineering Outcome Certainty™ drives R&D results that shorten time-to-market for new products and delivers greater innovation to compete in a global marketplace. Independent software vendors (ISVs), software enabled businesses and companies whose products contain embedded software partner with Symphony Services to achieve their business goals.