Step #3 for successful cloud brokering: Automate common processes

Standardizing and automating your IT processes is an essential part of being a broker of cloud services. One such process is the business user's ability to order and provision an IT service through a self-service portal.  However, a self-service portal is just an abstraction layer. It's on the back-end where the "magic" actually happens--where services are provisioned, applications set up and changes automatically made. Start by following these steps to fully realize the benefits of cloud services:

 

First tasks, then processes

The recommended approach is to start with task-based automation projects, such as provisioning network ports, servers and storage. These are routine manual tasks and unless they are automated, they will inhibit your IT teams’ ability to scale with cloud services. It’s essential that as IT transforms into a cloud service broker, lifecycle management is performed in a highly repeatable and consistent fashion, and automating tasks is the first step.

 

Once automated, those tasks can then be collected into automated process workflows, such as remediation, compliance, change management and application deployment. An administrator should only need to monitor these processes.

 

With this foundation of task and process automation in place, the cloud service broker model can then be adopted more successfully by essentially extending the benefits of automation to the business user.

  

Building a flexible foundation

In order to get the most benefit, especially where business users experience faster service and the business can achieve faster time-to-market, organizations need to have an end-to-end view across IT, which is why it’s important to develop a strategic plan that integrates with overall IT strategy.

 

Providing cloud services typically offer some benefits of automation in the infrastructure layer, for storage and servers. With the cloud service broker model, organizations automate up the stack, including OS deployment, patch management and application management.

 

But that doesn’t mean IT has to make a significant up-front investment in the entire stack. With the right cloud platform and operations management tools, organizations can start small, using an affordable building block approach that allows them to begin automating and brokering cloud services and scale over time.

 

As a cloud service broker, your IT organization should strive to ensure flexibility and heterogeneity, with open and extensible architecture for multi-hypervisor, multi-vendor support that allows it the choice to use a hybrid of both cloud services and traditional IT, and the ability to use APIs to build their own applications and tools where necessary.

 

In the next post, I will look at what you need to consider when selecting what cloud services to offer.

 

Learn more about HP Cloud Management

Find out how HP Cloud Management provides support for application, platform and infrastructure services with cloud brokering and heterogeneous environments for a flexible foundation for hybrid clouds today and in the future. Visit www.hp.com/go/cloudmanagement.

 

Related links:

Step #2 for successful cloud brokering: Plan for all types of services

Step #1 for successful cloud brokering: Start with a strategic plan

Labels: Cloud
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