It’s quite appropriate that the words “tool” and “solution” are frequently used interchangeably in the field of cloud computing, because it is possible to make an analogical comparison between the different types of tools you keep in your workshop and how best to use a cloud management solution.
Think of the tools you keep in your workshop. There are some that are task-specific, others that have dual purposes, and then those that are multi-functional. Cloud management solutions are a bit like that. There are some good for tightening a screw, others good for knocking in or pulling out a nail, and then those that do everything – the Swiss army knife of cloud management solutions if you like.
You don´t always need a multi-functional tool for every workshop job, but it is difficult to finish most jobs without using a range of tools. Similarly, you might complete one job this weekend using one set of tools, and next weekend have another job that requires a different sets of tools. Cloud computing is a bit like that too, so it is handy to have a full range of cloud management tools at your disposal.
Compiling a “Toolset-for-the-Cloud”
How you compile your “toolset-for-the-cloud” can make a difference to how effectively you manage your cloud environment. If you use disparate sets of tools, you may find the ways in which data are measured doesn’t correlate – making it difficult to analyze performance and optimize costs. It can be even harder to identify trends, uncover inefficiencies and spot security concerns.
If you take this scenario and extend it into an enterprise environment in which every department is working towards a common goal, but using its own toolset to achieve it, the likely consequences will be chaotic due to data being measured in multiple ways. A lack of clarity will make it difficult to make key business decisions with confidence or understand what happened when things go wrong.
This is why, when an enterprise is compiling a “toolset-for-the-cloud”, the cloud management solution chosen has to include a common set of capabilities that measures data consistently, yet is sufficiently flexible to fulfill the needs of every department. It will probably be the case that some departments don´t need every capability of the cloud management solution, but it is essential the capabilities they do use communicate with the capabilities being used by other departments.
Taking the Holistic View of Cloud Management
At enterprise level, a weekend workshop job is more like building a house than putting up a shelf, so you have to take a holistic view to get the job done. Not only do you need to know what tools you need, but also what materials you require and how they work together. Using the same analogy, each department in the enterprise could be said to represent a different trade (carpenters, plumbers, electricians, etc.).
Although a carpenter doesn’t need exactly the same toolset as a plumber or an electrician, it is important all the tools exist so the job can get done. It is also important the tools are compatible, and that the carpenter, the plumber, and the electrician are working towards the same common goal using the same plan. The consequence of not taking a holistic view is that your house may fall down.
It is vital there is clarity of the progress being made so that key decisions can be made with confidence and any issues that arise can be resolved with the minimum of disruption. In terms of cloud management, the same principles apply. You (the project manager) need to have total visibility over your assets to understand how they work together and govern your environment effectively.