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How to improve the efficiency of cloud management

The key for service delivery to customers is more automation.

During the last few weeks I’ve spent quite a bit of time looking at how to improve my own business’s ability to manage our cloud services more effectively. The overwhelming focus was improving our service delivery through a software-defined datacentre approach.

So what does that actually mean? Firstly you need to ensure your underlining platform is predominately based on software defined infrastructure methodologies. This covers everything from the automation of virtual data centre provisioning (including the deployment of software-based networks, firewalls, load balancers and software-controlled storage) right through to the applications being used by the client, without the need to have the customer, or an operations team, doing large pieces of work.

These components combine to create the various user environments running within a cloud service – they should be enabled with a click of a mouse via automated systems. To achieve this level of automation requires rich and highly developed application programming interfaces (APIs) within the service provider’s technology stack. This is an area where there are big differences from vendor to vendor, as well as from one product to another, so, the technologies used are critical to the success of delivering improved efficiencies. It is the area where I have seen the greatest improvement in the quality and quantity of APIs, especially within the new cloud-specific technologies that are now becoming established.

These components combine to create the various user environments running within a cloud service – they should be enabled with a click of a mouse via automated systems. To achieve this level of automation requires rich and highly developed application programming interfaces (APIs) within the service provider’s technology stack. This is an area where there are big differences from vendor to vendor, as well as from one product to another, so, the technologies used are critical to the success of delivering improved efficiencies. It is the area where I have seen the greatest improvement in the quality and quantity of APIs, especially within the new cloud-specific technologies that are now becoming established.

By Julian Box, Posted 15th April 2013.

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