5 Steps to Optimizing Your Operations for the Cloud
April 19, 2012

Aruna Ravichandran
CA Technologies

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Cloud is one way to respond to business needs faster. Imagine: You could build a simple self-service portal where people could go to provision services with the click of a mouse. From that point on, service provisioning would be automatic and fast, saving substantial time and money. But unless you’ve prepped the underlying infrastructure launching services will still require manual work from your staff. Whether you're just setting up your first private cloud or expanding your hybrid model, follow these steps to ensure your cloud initiative is primed for success.

1. Standardize and consolidate your environment

You're probably juggling multiple operating systems and versions, a hodgepodge of software and hardware, and a host of different vendors. But standardizing your technology and consolidating the number of vendors you work with and the versions and types of operating systems you employ reduces variability. And less variability saves you time when deploying, maintaining, and operating your infrastructure.

2. Virtualize and automate

Virtualization and automation are critical components of cloud prep, and while virtualization is common, many enterprises have yet to really get a solid grip on automation. Many organizations rely on scripts for automation. But there is no repeatability and leveraging of best practices with scripts. Instead, replace manual scripts with an automation tool that addresses these issues.

3. Baseline your environment

A baseline can provide a clear picture of what devices, capacities, and resources exist across all of your data centers. Some things to measure and document include:

- Physical and virtual server configurations and resources

- Performance metrics for the network, storage, servers, databases, and applications

- The utilization rates necessary to deliver the services without performance issues

- The amount of storage available

- Access policies

- Software versions

4. Automate tasks

Task automation is the first step in freeing people from routine operations and maintenance activities, allowing them to focus on managing more complex tasks. And until you automate those tasks, your ideal of near-instant service provisioning in the cloud will never be a reality.

5. Automate processes

Once you have identified and automated tasks, you can start to automate the workflows around them — the final step before establishing your cloud. Automating processes involves combining multiple tasks, now automated, into a single workflow. Automated workflows not only enable faster service setup, but also enforce best practices, eliminate human error, speed time to market, and make it easier to comply with regulations.

Aruna Ravichandran is Vice President, Product and Solution Marketing, Application Performance Management and DevOps, CA Technologies.

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