A Quick Guide to Lifecycle Management for Cloud and Hybrid Cloud

You did your homework and transitioned to the cloud. Everything it promises in the way of availability, ease-of-use, and high-performing resources has brought you and your team satisfying returns. Relying on these “unseen” resources can sometimes make people lose sight of other considerations. Like application lifecycle management, there are aspects to cloud lifecycle management that need consideration.

Managing the lifecycle of cloud services may not be on the top of everyone’s mind, but due diligence tells us it should be. Furthermore, doing everything needed to effectively manage multiple cloud services can be a bit stressful. Suddenly the benefits that made the cloud so attractive can start to work against you. Having a plan in place to take stock of current resources and plan for future growth is critical.

Planning for Day-2 Operations

If you have heard of the phrase “day-2 operations,” you already understand the importance of continual upkeep, monitoring, and improvement of an application. This is especially true in the production phase where small changes can have large effects. True Day-2 operations focus on the continual maintenance of not just the application itself, but the infrastructure behind it.

Looking at everything needed for correct cloud application lifecycle management, there is a lot to consider for just one application. Beyond creating required components is the need to update, secure, and monitor those resources. The infrastructure of an application may shift over time to accommodate newer technology or to scale in and out in a consistent manner.

Keeping the application alive to ensure SLA is a matter of having proper monitoring, planned maintenance, and appropriate scaling. It does not stop there, however. Just because an application or service is alive does not mean it is thriving. There may be additional tasks—housekeeping items—still requiring a manual aspect that could benefit from automated lifecycle management.

One way companies are keeping their applications alive during their intended lifecycle is via closed loop automation. Such automation allows for the deeper logic necessary to actively monitor and modify the state of a service. Rather than reinvent these routines, companies are turning towards tools designed to take advantage of these application uptime assurance methods.

Tools like Cloudify enable extensive abilities in your environments that help implement monitoring and self-healing techniques via closed loop automation. This ensures the hard work teams put into the design and deployment of an application are allowed to persist through activities that would have otherwise created a poor user experience.

Planning and Optimization :  Keeping Costs Down

How often have you encountered a situation where resources are created in your cloud space that are never decommissioned? It is akin to throwing money out of a window! This type of mindset of having readily available environments is more traditional, for sure. It was often required due to not having the ability to simply “spin up a server” in the cloud.

Oh how things have changed! Appropriate modeling of not only what resources are needed for an application but when they should be created and decommissioned can have a very positive effect on your cloud budget. Dynamic creation of environments via all of today’s various infrastructure supporting tools is already a reality. Why not implement additional aspects to handle the modeling of the entire solution?

Those using ARM templates to handle their Azure cloud infrastructure already realize the benefits for the creation of consistent resources. Additional tools like Terraform and VMware extend these types of consistent resources across cloud and hybrid cloud. Even still, there are manual aspects that can benefit from a more centralized orchestration.

That sounds a bit complicated, and it is- mostly because it gets hard to maintain from an operational standpoint. Sprawl across multiple cloud providers in addition to differences in how their infrastructure is maintained begs for a little bit more assistance. This is where a centralized orchestrator really shines. Successfully enabling lifecycle management for cloud and hybrid cloud is highly dependent on such centralized orchestration.

The Trouble With Toil

Toil is the continued operations necessary to maintain all areas of an application’s lifecycle. Some of this required manual management uses the appropriate CLI for the target environment. Expecting engineers to be familiar with such a gambit of tooling could create needless complications.

Utilizing a centralized point of automation should help with standardizing the approach to creating, monitoring, and scaling cloud and hybrid infrastructures. Solutions like Cloudify’s self-serve portal can help by way of a highly customizable interface that allows access to the full framework for cloud automation and orchestration.

It could very well be worthwhile to utilize pre existing “widget” tools to create a meaningful view to add to your workflow. Additionally, integration with 3rd party or in-house implementations make it so you can retain what you and the team are already accustomed to.

Extending Configuration Management Automation

We use various provisioning and configuration management tools that are often complicated and unfamiliar to some members of the team. Tools like Ansible, Terraform, or SaltStack, are allowing companies to move more towards Infrastructure as Code. This consistent method of creating and configuring resources has become the standard in companies thriving with automation.

The tools used require an orchestration for each environment for which they have been employed. Furthermore, while similar, the differences in each are enough to prevent simple coordination through generic scripts or homebrewed solutions. Having a way to culminate the management of cloud and multi-cloud into one view provides the means necessary to have greater control over your application landscape.

Services are available to help contain the various tooling and inventory used for automated lifecycle management. What’s more is being able to do so from a centralized location. This way of tightly integrating with current and future CM tools is where services like Cloudify excel.

Cloudify is considered the “Orchestrator of Orchestrators.” Considering the amount of activity going on behind the scenes, there are a lot of complications that are better left to the platform designed to manage it all. It’s not enough to point out how Cloudify’s platform helps teams extend powerful lifecycle management. The ability to be implemented in most any cloud or hybrid cloud environment is just the start.

An orchestrator that is future-ready allows for additional innovation as it becomes a standard. By integrating all aspects of cloud infrastructure and configuration, the end-to-end (E2E) orchestration of Cloudify allows projects to succeed with leaner costs and exceed expectations on stability and scalability. All of these aspects that typically fall on operations and DevOps are easily handled by the Cloudify Platform.

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