Cloud Management: Tutorial and Course
Cloud Management: Overview
"Cloud Management: Tutorial and Course" is the ultimate SEO tutorial and course created by SEO University to help you understand Cloud Management and other related technologies, including facts and information about Cloud Management.
Cloud Management: Tutorial and Course
What Is Cloud Management?
The cloud management system is one of the most important components to consider when planning, deploying, and operating (or consuming) a cloud service. In a public cloud environment, the customer might only utilize a fraction of the overall cloud management platform — usually just the ordering and self-service portal hosted by the public cloud. In an enterprise private cloud, the management system makes it possible for organizations to provision, track billing and utilization, and manage the entire cloud infrastructure. Lessons learned from the first generation of cloud providers and private cloud deployment has clearly shown an under-appreciation of the importance of the cloud management platform. The cloud management platform is the true core for automation, orchestration, workflow, resource tracking, billing, and operations.
Cloud Management: Tutorial and CourseArchitecture of a cloud management platform Orchestration and automated provisioning Systems management Multitenant self-service control panels Software applications and packaging System extensibility and APIs Build versus buy decision for cloud management platforms Open source cloud platforms and industry standards Cloud management best practices
One of the most important components of cloud computing is a robust cloud management system. Many organizations have learned the hard way that building or buying a cloud management platform must be done early and with careful evaluation and planning. Delaying the automation and orchestration of cloud ordering, billing, provisioning, and operational tools has proven to be extremely difficult to add later — the cloud management platform is actually one of the first things that you need to determine because it provides the foundation and sometimes the architecture of the cloud environment. In this this "Cloud Management: Tutorial and Course", we provide more experience-based education, example software architectures, evaluation criteria, and best practices in selecting or building your own cloud management platform.
In an enterprise private cloud deployment, cloud management tools are the most underestimated or overlooked component. Using just a hypervisor platform for server virtualization is not the same as a full cloud management system that provides multitenant online ordering, approval workflows, customized automated provisioning, resource utilization and financial tracking, self-service application administration, and reporting.
Throughout this "Cloud Management: Tutorial and Course", we have stressed the importance of cloud characteristics. To achieve on-demand ordering, automated provisioning, and pay-as-you-use billing, a cloud management system is an absolute necessity. Anyone can build a server farm, install some virtualization software, and then declare he has a cloud; however, without a system to manage it there is no multitenant customer interface, no automated provisioning, and no metering of resources for billing. And you can forget about saving money on personnel: you'll have to manually configure networks, servers, virtual machine templates, applications—everything. This would drive your costs too high to be competitive in the industry (public cloud) or control your operational costs in a private cloud.
Cloud Management: Cloud Management System Architecture
Cloud management systems vary greatly in their features, ease of use, flexibility, and cost. A cloud provider (or private cloud operator) can develop its own cloud management system or purchase an existing system from cloud software management vendors.
A well-designed, modular cloud management system provides a cloud portal, orchestration, workflow, automated provisioning, and integrated billing/resource metering capabilities.
The above Figure shows a vendor-agnostic example of the primary functions of a cloud management system. These functions are presented in three functional layers. Each layer integrates with the layer directly above and below it. For the purposes of illustration, the top layer represents the client-facing web portal on which consumers can place orders, manage, and track their cloud service subscriptions. The middle layer represents the automation, orchestration, workflow, and resource management functions. The bottom layer is the network management layer. This is where systems monitoring, security, and capacity management functions monitor the cloud infrastructure and integrate with existing datacenter operational management tools.
It is very important to note one function that is not included in the cloud management system: the hypervisor. There can be several of these including those hosted at other cloud providers.
The following Figure depicts a detailed functional architecture of an ideal cloud management system. There are dozens of ways to show a detailed functional architecture and they will vary depending on cloud management software vendor — none are right or wrong, but pay attention to the individual elements shown in this figure that represent functionality any cloud management system should have.
the function architecture presented in the following Figure does not include the hypervisors or actual cloud service provider(s) — this is just the command and control functions for all the cloud ecosystem.
In this example, the orchestration levels are both above and below the automation system. This is an attempt to show that orchestration activities occur both pre- and post-initial provisioning. This could also be represented as a circle surrounding the boxes in the middle of the architecture diagram. The orchestration system makes the connections, integration, and data interchange between other layers of the architecture, which allows software from various companies to be integrated when necessary. Workflow and business process logic is normally part of the orchestration layer. There can be multiple instances of the provisioning systems shown in those same middle boxes. As new cloud providers or technologies are added, these additional provisioning systems would integrate with the orchestration system, facilitating modular additional functionality to your cloud without changing the other layers that have been integrated and are in production operations for your business.
The network management layer at the bottom represents the operations, security, asset, configuration, and software licensing functions that the cloud provider uses to manage the entire infrastructure, including all legacy IT systems, private cloud, and any hybrid integration to third-party cloud services.
Cloud Management: Best Practices
Based on lessons learned and experience from across the cloud industry, you should consider the following best practices for your organization's planning.
All cloud providers and operators of a private cloud utilize a cloud management system that provides a customer ordering portal, subscription management, automation provisioning, billing and resource utilization tracking, and management of the cloud. Here's some recommendations for you:
- Use the full capabilities of the cloud management platform's orchestration system. Do not rely on legacy sequential scripts for automation; instead, use orchestration-based workflows and service designs.
- Utilize third-party automated software installation packaging tools along with the orchestration system for maximum flexibility, but ensure that the orchestrator is the primary logic engine/workflow tool.
- When selecting or building a private cloud, evaluating and selecting the cloud management platform is one of the most critical decisions. The features, functionality, and vendor support (including future updates and new features) of the cloud management system will have an impact on every aspect of how a private cloud is managed, the user experience, and the time and cost of releasing initial and new service catalog items.
- If your organization is planning to use a private cloud and one or more public cloud providers, consider implementing a hybrid cloud management platform rather than just a private management system.
- The following are the features to look for in a cloud management platform: 1. Usability and customization capabilities of the consumer-facing portal; 2. Ability to create, manage, and display multiple categories and types of cloud services through a service catalog; 3. Ability to see pricing, optional services and pricing, terms and conditions, and renewal settings for all cloud services through a shopping cart or order checkout process; 4. Customizable order-approval workflow process; 5. Consumer-visible status dashboards and reports on utilization, billing, and service status; 6. Ability to manage subscribed cloud services (i.e., perform service restart, stop, pause, and add new capacity) via the cloud portal.
- Preintegrated support for multiple hypervisors, external cloud service providers, internal service ticketing system integration, integration with security and network/systems monitoring software.
- Most cloud management platforms have some form of on-demand reporting and statistics dashboard available for cloud consumers. Cloud operators and consumers will quickly want more and more real-time dashboards, usage statistics, trending/forecasting, and so on. Expect customer requests to outpace development efforts initially, so manage expectations and plan enhancements for future portal releases.
- There is a trend in the industry by many service-ticketing software vendors to create cloud XaaS items in their service-ticketing system and claiming they are a cloud management platform. Most of the backend architectures of these products are not conducive to the cloud and are just IT service-desk ticketing and workflow systems. These systems can make API calls into hypervisors and other cloud services, but the architecture, functionality, and integrations are nowhere near the level of a true cloud management platform. Be very detailed and careful in evaluating service-desk, IT service delivery, and other platforms that were originally designed and intended as IT service management and support ticketing systems.
Cloud Management: Further Reading
- Cloud Management: Books
- Cloud Management: eBooks