Managing Amazon Web Services within a Hybrid IT model

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1 Managing Amazon Web Services within a Hybrid IT model The last few years have seen revolutionary changes to IT operations as technology infrastructure has been transformed through virtualisation, and the adoption of cloud computing has driven the evolution of our approach to IT it is no longer about infrastructure; rather, IT is about delivering services. Hybrid IT operations have become the new norm, and IT s role is now about adapting and managing this operational model in support of business requirements and goals. Private Cloud Hybrid Cloud Public Cloud Enterprise Server Extended Enterprise For many, if not most companies, this shift to hybrid IT has been based around the adoption of AWS (Amazon Web Services) cloud to complement existing infrastructure and services capabilities. In the beginning this adoption was for very specific non-production environment use cases and quite manageable. However, as the process of cloud adoption matures into production environments the rate and scale of AWS cloud usage is accelerating, managing this has in itself become a problem. The purpose of this white paper is to provide 5 key considerations for the permanent shift towards an AWS based hybrid IT service, and to provide some useful guidance and insight around where MaxCloud and MaxAnywhere can be deployed to facilitate this shift.

2 1. Manage the business expectations If you re not deliberately pursuing a hybrid IT model using AWS, you can be reasonably sure that someone in your business is. The critical thing is that you acknowledge this and plan accordingly by setting guidance and expectations within your business by communicating your strategy for hybrid IT. The aim of a hybrid IT strategy should be to provide a clear view of how IT operations are aligned to support business stakeholders who want to leverage the new cost effective and flexible services available through the cloud. You need to sell the business on the benefits of your approach outline the means and methods for the business to engage with IT, and illustrate how your approach can speed time to market and boost revenues. Clearly outlining your policies, and why those policies are in place, is key. The role of IT in this instance is to provide a governance structure that protects the business from itself. The indiscriminate deployment of public cloud resources from a shadow IT approach may appear cost effective and allow for a faster roll out of services as a one off instance, but it will have implications on current business processes and service standards when considered as a whole. By operating outside of the IT governance model, the business could easily introduce factors or problems that require subsequent remediation or customisation, both of which will impact the initial perceived benefits on costs or speed of implementation. The business has to be educated regarding the implications of independently seeking and deploying their own cloud services and solutions. Fundamentally, it will limit the IT team s visibility and control over new infrastructure components and may adversely affect business critical applications and potentially have a negative financial impact to the business. The movement to the cloud can potentially create as many problems as it solves, it isn t the fix for every requirement. Unless carefully planned, moving to the cloud will impact operational structure and have a potential detrimental effect on IT application performance and availability. The aim of a hybrid IT strategy should be to provide a clear view of how IT operations are aligned to support business stakeholders who want to leverage the new cost effective and flexible services available through the cloud. 2. Engage the business in planning and decision making Creating a hybrid IT infrastructure and services operation whilst maintaining and delivering services to established Service Level Agreements (SLAs) is challenging and requires careful planning and decision making. You can t just deploy cloud and forget about everything else - adopting and introducing cloud services without following the companies IT governance model is risky. Moving to a hybrid model offers some clear benefits but adds a significant level of complexity, too. Each requirement has to be carefully assessed within the context of this emerging hybrid IT landscape to identify key underpinnings of impacted applications and services. Migration needs to be planned and validated to ensure that the before and after deliver the required functionality and desired outcome.

3 Create a clear point of contact The first consideration is how you engage the business and, as importantly, the mechanism for how they can engage you. Employees need help and support, and you should aim to provide it to them by creating a business consultancy and support role. This will enable the business to engage with IT to explore new ideas and potential projects, and give IT a valuable insight into the business. Select the right workloads Requirements such as back-up and disaster recovery have become clear cloud use-cases and are relatively easy to implement. Similarly, application development and testing can be achieved in a fraction of the time and cost of running and maintaining your own dedicated test ecosystem. When evaluating an application for its cloud potential, a wide set of criteria around maintaining compliance should be considered: mitigating risk, achieving financial gains, as well as consideration of service-quality of the application workload. Preserve business processes and IT workflows If a process is in place and is working well on existing infrastructure, you will need to make sure nothing breaks as a result of the move to the cloud. Otherwise, you ll end up impacting efficiency and potentially availability as well as frustrating users. If you have too many trade-offs or potential disruptions to these processes or workflows, any potential gain may be more than outweighed in re-work and remediation costs. Run the numbers Build a cost model around the AWS services you will need to build as well as the migration and support elements. Whilst the opportunity is there to save money, having to go back and rebuild something could end up costing you both time and money. Understand the security and compliance implications The risk and governance issues in the cloud are significant from a legal and regulatory perspective, including key issues such as data leakage, breaches and loss. It is important therefore that tools are in place to enable both visibility and transparency of data, and also include the ability to move applications or data in-house as required, so as to maintain adherence to established policies and industry regulations. There are obvious differences between how data is accessed, so think about the implications for identity and access management, how privileges are defined and maintaining and managing credentials. The company information and governance policies apply to all corporate data, irrespective of where it is stored. Migration needs to be planned and validated to ensure that the before and after deliver the required functionality and desired outcome.

4 3. Get visibility and control on your AWS cloud with MaxCloud Your AWS cloud assets are in many ways just like any other asset, they are computing resources used to do a job, and must therefore be monitored and managed. However, these resources are different to traditional data centred assets in that they are controlled and monitored through APIs, something that traditional monitoring tools cannot do. There is an additional cost tracking and management dynamic as well - the more you use the, the more you pay which requires careful consideration. MaxCloud AWS performance dashboards As your use of AWS grows, it becomes increasingly more important to deploy the right monitoring tool - a tool that will provide extensive performance and health information and also detailed usage and cost information. MaxCloud delivers an at-a-glance, comprehensive view of AWS performance and health metrics across all Amazon account services, multiple regions and for public, private, and hybrid cloud environments. It also delivers usage snapshots and projections for your accumulated monthly costs based on trending analysis. This enables you to make informed decisions to maintain service levels and manage budgets. MaxCloud AWS costs dashboard

5 4. Evolve the structure of IT operations If IT is no longer about infrastructure but about delivering services to meet the business needs, then the structure and make-up of the team and it s standard processes and workflows will all need to be adapted to meet the demands of being a service-centric operation. For the structure of the team, this will mean re-distributing job responsibilities in line with services instead of infrastructure components, removing traditional siloes in the process. The roles and skills required within the team will necessitate bringing new skillsets, with greater requirement for multi-disciplined professionals with strong service skills, or implementation of a planned re-training program. Special focus needs to be made in the service critical areas of incident and capacity management, which will become far more complex within a hybrid IT operation. Incident Management Service failures cost the business money, so having a reliable monitoring solution providing prioritised, actionable information is essential. However, with the complexity of a hybrid IT infrastructure there will be many monitoring tools required, each operating in parallel, providing discrete sources of information. There will be significant manual interpretation required to identify the source of any given service issue. In these circumstances human intervention and interpretation of alerts will result in mistakes, and undermine the ability to meet SLA s. Capacity Planning Many availability and performance issues come as a direct consequence of unplanned capacity or demand requirements. For hybrid IT operations, capacity needs to be viewed in the context of the services provided. Workload insights for all of the service infrastructure components allow administrators to understand what capacity issues are likely to arise on a service-by-service basis. 5. Deploy MaxAnywhere Unified Monitoring to facilitate IT operations organisation re-alignment From a monitoring tool perspective, to manage your infrastructure and applications effectively across a hybrid IT estate requires all the right data points to be available and correlated simultaneously. As highlighted earlier, if you are relying on current systems whilst adding point solutions as required, you may never get an accurate, actionable view of the business from which to truly manage your service levels. MaxAnywhere hybrid environment and topology and availability dashboards

6 Furthermore, from an administrator perspective, the multiple tool approach requires you to manage multiple alerts and data points from multiple, disparate systems, before piecing the overall picture together and using judgement to get an understanding of any issues that arise. You have to ask yourself if traditional tools are going to be a viable long-term solution. To get the most value out of your hybrid IT solutions requires a level of management and visibility a compilation of legacy tools and point solutions are realistically never going to provide. At ControlCircle we recognised this challenge and have developed MaxAnywhere to meet this need. Our MaxAnywhere solution, built on our Max3000 platform, provides an accurate, actionable view of business service delivery across any mix of physical, virtual and cloud environments. MaxAnywhere IT Service dashboards MaxAnywhere also facilitates the evolution towards a centralised IT operation by uniting and correlating critical IT functions, across traditional and cloud platforms, such as performance, fault, availability, asset, service desk, automation, and event management, all in a single product. Service failures cost the business money, so having a reliable monitoring solution providing prioritised, actionable information is essential. About ControlCircle ControlCircle is a privately owned company, founded in 2001 to provide solutions ranging from secure hosting and global connectivity to managing all security, networking, server and database technologies covering a full range of market sectors. The company offers highly skilled and vastly experienced data specialists who design and support resilient enterprise hosting solutions, built on highly available platforms backed by ultra reliable support. Customers include many of the World s largest online businesses and blue chip companies in the banking, legal, accounting and commercial sectors. They rely on our industry knowledge, technical expertise, innovation, accuracy and skilful team management. Get in touch For more information, please visit +44 (0)

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