Managing Your Virtual Assets

By: Kevin Jackson| - Leave a comment

Today’s businesses run in the virtual world. From virtual machines to chatbots to Bitcoin, physical has become last century’s modus operandi.  Dealing with this type of change in business even has its own buzzword – Digital Transformation.  From an information technology operations point of view, this has been manifested by organizations increasingly placing applications, virtual servers, storage platforms, networks, managed services and other assets in multiple cloud environments.  Managing these virtual assets can be much more challenging than it was with traditional physical assets in your datacenter.  Cost management and control are also vastly different than the physical asset equivalent.  Challenges abound around tracking and evaluating cloud investments, managing their costs and increasing their efficiency.  Managers need to track cloud spending and usage, compare costs with budgets and obtain actionable insights that help set appropriate governance policies.

The cloud computing operational expenditure (OPEX) model demands a holistic management approach capable of monitoring and taking action across a heterogeneous environment.  This situation is bound to contain cloud services from multiple vendors and managed service providers.  Enterprises also need to manage services from a consumption point of view. This viewpoint looks at the service from the particular application down to the specific IT service resources involved, such as storage or a database. Key goals enterprises need to strive for to be successful in this new model include:

  • Obtaining ongoing visibility into true-life cloud inventory;
  • Viewing current and projected costs versus industry benchmarks;
  • Establishing and enforcing governance control points using financial and technical policies;
  • Receiving and proactively responding to cloud cost and operational variances and deviations;
  • Gaining operational advantages through advanced analytics and cognitive computing capabilities;
  • Simulating changes to inventory, spend goals and operational priorities before committing;
  • Managing policies through asset tagging across providers and provider services; and
  • Identifying and notifying senior managers about waste and opportunities for cost savings.

Accomplishing these goals across a hybrid IT environment will also require timely, accurate and consistent information delivery to the organizations, CIO, CFO, IT Financial Controller and IT Infrastructure and Operations Managers.  Ideally, this information would be delivered via a “single pane of glass” dashboard.

One path towards gaining these capabilities would be through the use of a cloud services brokerage platform like IBM® Cloud Brokerage Managed Services – Cost and Asset Management. This “plug and play” service can assist in the management of spending and assets across hybrid clouds by visualizing data that provides focus on asset performance.  Through the use of predictive analytics, it can also provide insight-based recommendations that help in the prioritization of changes according to their expected level of impact.  Analytics enables an ability to recalibrate cost by comparing planned versus actual operational expenditures.  The built-in cloud service provider catalog, pricing, and matching engines can also help organizations find alternative providers more easily.  Using IBM Watson® cognitive capabilities, IBM Cloud Brokerage Managed Services – Cost and Asset Management will also highlight cloud best practices and expected results based on IBM’s rich knowledge base of cross-industry cloud transition experience.

Operating a business from a virtual IT platform is different.  That is why advanced cost and asset management skills, capabilities and tools are needed.  According to Gartner, more than US$1 trillion in IT spending will be directly or indirectly affected by the shift to cloud during the next five years.  This makes cloud computing one of the most disruptive forces of IT spending since the early days of the digital age.  You and your organization can be ready for these tectonic changes by implementing the straightforward five-step process supported by IBM Cloud Service Brokerage capabilities:

  1. Establish governance thresholds and policies for services;
  2. Connect the advanced management platform across all cloud service accounts;
  3. Track the costs of the services, including recurring and usage-based costs;
  4. Enforce compliance on the costs and asset usage using the purpose-built cost analytics engines; and
  5. Simulate and optimize the control and compliance actions and better control your costs.

Establishing a focus on cloud governance, cost and asset management is a truly essential step towards expanding the operational benefits of hybrid cloud. To dig deeper, visit ibm.biz/ExploreCloudBrokerage.

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About The Author

Kevin Jackson

CEO/Founder, GovCloud Network

Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized cloud computing expert and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. Mr. Jackson has also been recognized as a “Top 100 Cybersecurity Influencer and Brand” by Onalytica (2015), a Huffington Post “Top 100 Cloud Computing Experts on Twitter” (2013) and a “Top 50 Cloud Computing Blogger for IT Integrators” by CRN (2015). Mr. Jackson’s professional career includes service in the US Navy Space Systems Command, Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and NJVC Vice President, Cloud Services. He is currently part of a team responsible for onboarding mission applications to the US Intelligence Community cloud computing environment (IC ITE). He is also a National Cyber security Institute Fellow. His first book, “GovCloud: Cloud Computing for the Business of Government” was published by Government Training Inc. and released in March 2011. His second book, released in 2012 by the same publisher, is titled “GovCloud II: Implementation and Cloud Brokerage Services". His next publication, “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View”, will be released by Taylor & Francis in the spring of 2016.

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