What Is Cloud Management? 

Cloud management is the process of administering cloud computing products and services. It involves taking control over data, applications, and services residing in the cloud through workflows and software solutions that enable efficient cloud operations. With effective cloud management, organizations can automate tasks, manage cloud infrastructure, and ensure seamless service delivery across multiple cloud environments.

Cloud management solutions provide the ability to monitor, manage, and secure cloud-based resources. This includes tasks such as deployment, scaling, and optimization of workloads across various cloud services, whether deployed in a public, private, or hybrid cloud model. 

In this article:

Why Is Cloud Management Important? 

Cloud management allows businesses to harness the full potential of cloud computing without compromising on security or performance. As companies increasingly rely on cloud services for mission critical operations, managing these resources efficiently becomes essential. Cloud management tools offer the visibility and control needed to maintain performance standards, manage costs, and ensure security across the cloud environment.

Cloud management is also vital for flexibility and scalability. It enables businesses to quickly adjust their cloud resources to meet changing demands, ensuring they can scale up or down, adjust resource types or service tiers, and adopt or switch cloud services as needed. This agility is key to staying competitive and ensuring operational efficiency and market responsiveness.

Cloud Management in Practice: 4 Common Tasks with Examples 

To make things more concrete, let’s explore a few common cloud management tasks and see a practical example, using a popular cloud provider, Amazon Web Services (AWS). You can carry out similar tasks in other cloud providers such as Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud.

Note: Our examples discuss how to perform each task using the cloud provider’s native tools. In complex or large-scale cloud environments, native first-party tools are often insufficient, and many organizations use dedicated cloud management solutions.

1. Auto-Provision Virtual Servers

Auto-provisioning allows organizations to automatically create and configure virtual servers in the cloud as per predefined specifications, without manual intervention. This capability is essential for rapid scaling and deploying new services efficiently. 

Practical example

In Amazon Web Services (AWS), auto-provisioning can be achieved using AWS CloudFormation or AWS Elastic Beanstalk. These services enable users to define their infrastructure as code, allowing for the automatic setup of complete environments based on templates. 

AWS lets you automatically set up a fleet of EC2 instances to handle web application traffic. Using CloudFormation, you can define the desired instance type, security groups, and load balancers in a YAML or JSON template. When the template is deployed, AWS automatically provisions and configures the resources as specified.

 

2. Identify and Remove Unutilized Resources

Cloud environments often suffer from resource sprawl, where unused or underutilized resources continue to incur costs. Identifying and removing these resources is crucial for cost optimization. 

Practical example

In AWS there are several tools you can use to remove unutilized resources, including AWS Trusted Advisor and AWS Cost Explorer. These services analyze your usage patterns, identify idle or underutilized resources (like unused EC2 instances or unattached EBS volumes), and recommend actions. 

For example, AWS Trusted Advisor can alert you to Elastic Load Balancers with no active instances or Relational Database Service (RDS) databases that are oversized for the current workload. You can automate the deletion or resizing of these resources by writing a script that triggers AWS Lambda functions triggered by CloudWatch alarms.

 

3. Scale Up Workloads to Meet Higher Demand

Scaling workloads efficiently to meet demand fluctuations is key to maintaining performance while optimizing costs. Cloud providers offer auto scaling mechanisms that can track metrics indicative of high application loads (such as high CPU utilization) and automatically launch more cloud resources to meet the higher demand.

Practical example

AWS Auto Scaling is a service that monitors your applications and automatically adjusts capacity to maintain steady, predictable performance. For example, if you are running a web application on EC2 instances behind an Elastic Load Balancer, Auto Scaling can be configured to increase the number of instances during peak times and decrease during off-peak times, based on defined criteria such as CPU utilization or network traffic.

 

4. Automatically Backup Environments

Regular backups are critical for disaster recovery and data preservation. Cloud providers offer automated backup services, which can be used to backup individual cloud resources or even entire environments, including the ability to backup resources across multiple data centers for improved resilience.

Practical example

AWS offers the AWS Backup service, which can be configured to periodically snapshot EC2 instances, RDS databases, and other services. For example, you can set up AWS Backup to create daily snapshots of your database and weekly snapshots of your entire EC2 environment. These backups can be configured with retention policies, ensuring older snapshots are automatically deleted to save costs. In the event of a failure or data loss, you can use these snapshots to restore your environment to a previous state.

 

6 Key Benefits of Cloud Management 

Here are some of the key benefits of cloud management:

  1. Improved operational efficiency: Automates routine tasks, reducing manual efforts and minimizing errors.
  2. Cost optimization: Provides tools for monitoring, analyzing, and controlling cloud spending, identifying underutilized resources, and optimizing expenses.
  3. Improved security and compliance: Offers solutions for safeguarding data and applications and ensuring adherence to regulatory standards.
  4. Increased scalability and flexibility: Enables businesses to quickly adjust resources to meet changing demands, adopting or switching cloud services as needed.
  5. Better performance and availability: Ensures high availability and optimal performance of cloud-based applications and services via real-time monitoring and optimization.
  6. Streamlined migration and integration: Facilitates easier migration to the cloud and integration of cloud services with business processes, enhancing agility and innovation. 

Challenges of Managing a Cloud Environment 

There are several obstacles to smooth cloud management, which can make it more challenging to manage cloud assets:

Interoperability

Interoperability issues can arise when managing a multi-cloud environment, where applications and data must seamlessly interact across different cloud platforms. Ensuring compatibility among diverse cloud services and APIs is a significant challenge. These interoperability issues can hinder operational efficiency and limit an organization’s flexibility to use the best cloud services for each purpose.

To address these issues, organizations adopt cloud management solutions that are integrated with multiple cloud providers and support standard protocols. This enables consistent management, and ensures applications and data can be ported across cloud environments, maintaining operational continuity and agility.

Cloud Sprawl

Cloud sprawl occurs when an organization loses track of its cloud resources, leading to inefficiencies and unnecessary costs. As companies rapidly adopt cloud services, keeping an overview of all deployments becomes challenging. Without proper management, resources can become underutilized or forgotten, inflating expenses and complicating governance.

Effective cloud management strategies must include tools and practices for inventory tracking and resource optimization. By maintaining visibility over all cloud assets, organizations can prevent sprawl, ensuring that each resource is fully utilized and aligned with business objectives.

Lack of Cost Visibility

Accurately assessing and managing cloud costs is a complex challenge. The pay-as-you-go pricing model of cloud services, while flexible, can lead to unpredictable expenses if not carefully monitored. Organizations must navigate different pricing structures and discount options, making it difficult to forecast and control spending.

Cloud management platforms that offer cost management and optimization features can help alleviate this challenge. By providing detailed insights into usage and expenses, these tools enable businesses to identify cost-saving opportunities and optimize their cloud spending for maximum efficiency.

Security and Privacy

As data and applications move to the cloud, protecting them from threats and ensuring compliance with data protection laws become critical. The shared responsibility model of cloud computing requires organizations to manage their security posture actively, even as cloud providers secure the infrastructure.

Adopting cloud management solutions with built-in security and compliance features is essential for addressing these concerns. These tools can help automate security policies, perform regular audits, and ensure data is encrypted and protected, regardless of the cloud environment.

 

Types of Cloud Management Tools and Platforms 

To help address the above challenges, organizations adopt several types of solutions that help manage cloud environments:

Cloud Automation and Orchestration Tools

Cloud automation and orchestration tools streamline the deployment and management of cloud resources, reducing manual efforts and minimizing errors. Automation tools enable predefined processes for provisioning, scaling, and managing cloud services, enhancing operational efficiency. Orchestration tools coordinate automated tasks across multiple cloud environments, ensuring seamless operation of complex workflows.

These tools are crucial for implementing scalable and reliable cloud infrastructure. By automating routine tasks, organizations can focus on strategic initiatives, while orchestration ensures that all components work together, optimizing resource use and service delivery.

Cloud Cost Management and Optimization

Cloud cost management and optimization tools help organizations monitor, analyze, and control their cloud spending. These platforms provide detailed visibility into cloud expenses, identifying underutilized resources and suggesting areas for cost reduction. By implementing cost optimization recommendations, businesses can significantly lower their cloud bills without compromising performance or scalability.

These tools typically offer budgeting and forecasting capabilities, provide intelligent recommendations for cost savings, and can even apply these recommendations automatically to cloud resources. This proactive approach to cost management ensures that cloud investments are aligned with business objectives, maximizing the value of cloud technologies.

Learn more about the Anodot cloud cost management platform

Cloud Performance Monitoring and Management

Cloud performance monitoring and management tools ensure high availability and optimal performance of cloud-based applications and services. These solutions provide real-time insights into resource utilization, application performance, and user experience, enabling IT and development teams to quickly identify and resolve issues.

By leveraging these tools, organizations can maintain the reliability and speed of their cloud services, enhancing customer satisfaction and operational efficiency. Performance monitoring also helps in capacity planning, ensuring that resources are appropriately scaled to meet demand.

Cloud Security and Compliance Management

Cloud security and compliance management tools offer solutions for safeguarding cloud environments and ensuring adherence to regulatory standards. These platforms include features such as identity and access management, encryption, threat detection, and compliance reporting. 

By implementing these tools, organizations can protect their data and applications from cyber threats while meeting legal and industry-specific compliance requirements. This helps maintain trust and operational integrity in the cloud. These tools automate security best practices, reducing the risk of breaches and ensuring continuous compliance monitoring.

Learn more in our detailed guides to:

  • Cloud management tools (coming soon)
  • Cloud optimization tools (coming soon) 

Cloud Management Strategies and Best Practices

Here are some best practices for implementing cloud management:

Encourage Cloud Visibility

Organizations should implement tools and practices that provide a comprehensive view of their cloud resources, including usage, performance, and costs. Visibility allows IT teams to make informed decisions, optimize resource allocation, and identify potential issues before they impact operations.

By fostering transparency across cloud environments, businesses can ensure that all stakeholders have the information needed to manage cloud resources effectively. This approach enhances operational efficiency and supports better governance and compliance.

Simplify Cloud Migration

Organizations should adopt methodologies and tools that streamline the process of moving applications and data to the cloud. This includes assessing workloads for cloud readiness, selecting the most appropriate cloud deployment model, and implementing migration plans that minimize downtime and disruptions.

Cloud management platforms that offer migration support can significantly reduce the complexity and risk associated with these projects. By simplifying migration, businesses can more quickly realize the benefits of cloud computing.

Improve Cloud-Business Alignment

Cloud-business alignment is crucial for ensuring that cloud strategies effectively support an organization’s overall business goals and objectives. To achieve this alignment, businesses must first clearly understand their strategic priorities, such as increasing operational efficiency, enhancing customer experience, or fostering innovation. 

For example, if a company aims to accelerate product development, it might focus on cloud services that enhance collaboration and speed up development cycles, such as DevOps tools and microservices architectures. 

Regular communication between IT and business leaders is essential to maintain alignment as both business needs and cloud technologies evolve. This can involve setting up cross-functional teams or governance structures that ensure cloud decisions are made with a clear understanding of business priorities.

Optimize Cloud Resource Usage

Organizations should continuously monitor and adjust their cloud deployments to ensure they are using resources efficiently. This includes rightsizing instances, leveraging auto-scaling features, and adopting best practices for workload distribution.

Cloud management tools that offer optimization recommendations can significantly improve resource utilization, reducing costs and improving performance. By focusing on optimization, businesses can ensure that their cloud infrastructure is always aligned with current needs, maximizing efficiency and agility.

Learn more in our detailed guide to cloud optimization (coming soon)

Optimize Cloud Costs

Optimizing cloud costs is an essential practice for businesses looking to maximize their cloud investments while minimizing expenses. This involves a careful analysis of current cloud usage patterns, identifying areas where resources are underutilized or unnecessarily expensive, and implementing strategies to reduce spending without impacting performance. 

Techniques such as rightsizing instances to match workload requirements, using reserved instances for predictable workloads, and shutting down idle resources can lead to significant cost savings. Additionally, employing auto-scaling ensures that resources are automatically adjusted to meet demand, preventing overprovisioning and reducing costs.

Cloud cost management tools that perform many of these activities automatically. They can help identify unused or underused resources, suggest changes to reduce costs, and allocate expenses accurately for better budgeting and forecasting. By adopting a proactive approach to cloud cost optimization, companies can not only reduce their cloud expenses but also improve operational efficiency and resource allocation.

Use Managed Services for Cloud Management

Managed services for cloud management can provide expert assistance and reduce the burden on internal teams. Managed service providers (MSPs) offer comprehensive cloud management solutions, including monitoring, security, compliance, and optimization services. 

By partnering with MSPs, companies can benefit from specialized knowledge and resources, ensuring their cloud environments are managed efficiently and effectively. Managed services allow businesses to focus on their core activities while leveraging the full potential of cloud technologies.

Utilize AI Tools for Cloud Management

Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools are revolutionizing cloud management by providing advanced capabilities for automating complex tasks, enhancing decision-making, and improving efficiency. AI-driven tools can analyze vast amounts of operational data to identify patterns, predict potential issues before they occur, and recommend optimizations for better resource utilization. 

AI tools can enhance cloud security by continuously monitoring for anomalies that may indicate a security threat, automating threat detection, and response processes. AI-driven insights can also assist in compliance management by ensuring that cloud deployments adhere to regulatory standards and policies through automated compliance checks and reporting.

Cloud Management with Anodot

Anodot can significantly aid companies in cloud management in the following ways:

  • Real-time Anomaly Detection: Quickly identifies unusual spikes in cloud costs for proactive management.
  • AI-Powered Insights: Provides actionable insights for efficient resource utilization and cost reduction.
  • Multi-Cloud Support: Offers comprehensive visibility and control across different cloud platforms.
  • Customizable Dashboards and Alerts: Enhances understanding and responsiveness with tailored alerting systems.
  • Advanced Forecasting: Utilizes predictive analysis for accurate future cloud spending and budgeting.

Learn more about Anodot’s cloud cost management platform

Written by Perry Tapiero

Perry Tapiero is an experienced marketer specializing in demand generation across diverse B2B verticals such as AdTech, FinTech, and Cyber. With a focus on driving revenue and growth, Perry excels in developing and executing effective Go-To-Market strategies.

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