How forward planning can simplify cloud management

Today, more and more organizations are opting to shift elements of their operations onto cloud solutions instead of locally hosted solutions. While cloud solutions can deliver lower operating costs and other efficiencies, many business managers seem to believe it will somehow make the need for IT administration in the organization virtually disappear. Understanding in advance what responsibilities will still need to be accounted for in-house will make tackling your cloud management responsibilities a lot easier.

There are three main ways in which cloud solutions are deployed within organizations: infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, and software-as-a-service. Each type of solution involves different responsibilities for managers in an organization.

Businesses and organizations adopting infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) solutions remove the need for hardware maintenance by running the IT infrastructure on virtual machines. However, the user still has responsibility for pretty much everything else: the organization still has to build and manage the underlying operating system and any applications that run on it. Forward planning and understanding the details of the IaaS solution that is being provided can avoid problems such as incompatibilities between the cloud infrastructure solution and the management tools you use to administer your organization’s systems.

Legacy management tools can also be an issue with platform-as-a-service (PaaS) cloud solutions, which effectively provide a virtual operating system while leaving the user responsible for the applications that run on it, and therefore all aspects of application support. It’s vital to have the right tools to be able to manage and monitor performance; adopting a PaaS solution makes this no less important.

 Organizations deploying software-as-a-service (SaaS) cloud solutions free management from both application and operating system responsibilities, but even SaaS doesn’t mean IT managers can afford to be entirely hands-off. The main responsibility resting with SaaS users is identity management – ensuring access and permissions are amended or deleted when someone changes role or leaves the organization entirely.

Each of the three layers of cloud solutions can save business money and deliver other efficiencies, but it’s important to bear in mind the responsibilities that will still rest with your IT managers and staff in terms of cloud management. When exploring and deploying new cloud solutions in your organization, always take the time to understand these responsibilities and plan ahead to avoid unpleasant surprises further down the road.