Cloud Service Management

Cloud service management refers to all activities that are performed by a cloud service provisioning organization to monitor, maintain and manage cloud computing products and services to ensure a 24/7 availability and exclusive access by subscribers.

A standard cloud service management reference architecture must be in place and adopted by cloud service providers to guide effective planning, analysis, provisioning, and optimization of their services.

Function of Cloud Service Management

The functional requirements and purpose of cloud service management are as follows:

  • To demonstrate appropriate techniques for easy and automated management cloud-oriented services
  • To incorporate cloud service management practices in the current support and development methodologies
  • To maximize cloud service supply chains and reduce costs by integrating cloud services and products
  • To enable constant and uninterrupted provisioning of new cloud service capabilities effectively and efficiently as a way of improving quality of service
  • To effectively mitigate new threats from multiple interconnected infrastructure and computing resources and manage change in a sustainable manner.
  • To harness practices for rapid detection of problems and speedy restoration of service

Cloud service management tips

Here are ten cloud service management tips for cloud service providers and architects:

1. Cloud service providers can harness the power of cloud service monitoring and management tools to ensure peak performance, availability and efficiency of cloud services in on-demand virtualized platforms.

2. Cloud service providers should be aware of the constant changing capacity demands of a high-elastic cloud computing environment for effective cloud service administration and management at part with best practices.

3. Cloud service providers should provide the visibility, automation and control required for seamless and efficient cloud service provisioning.

4. Cloud service should simplify the interactions of cloud users with cloud IT resources.

5. Cloud service providers should ensure that cloud services provisioned are self-service and user friendly.

6. Cloud service providers should maintain an up-to-date cloud service catalogue.

7. Cloud service providers and architects should implement a policy of economies of scale for cloud service distribution.

8. Cloud service providers and architects should automate resource allocation and de-allocation processes for efficiency.

9. Cloud architects should maintain an index of cloud resources to gain greater scalability.

10. Pre-defined alarms should be provided by cloud architects to inform cloud users regarding the service threshold reached.

Dimensions to Cloud Service Management

Cloud service management can be described from three basic dimensions namely – the business support, the provisioning /configuration and the portability/ interoperability as shown in the figure below.

Cloud Service Management Dimensions

Cloud Service Management Dimensions

Business Support

This implies the actual set of business-related services that affect the cloud subscribers and their supporting processes. This may include the elements that drive business operations that are cloud subscriber-facing.

These elements can be identified as a customer, contract, inventory, accounting and billing, reporting and auditing as well as pricing and rating:

Customer management

Keep customer accounts up to date, open/ close/ terminate accounts, ensure effective management of users’ profiles, imbibe know-you-customer initiative to largely maintain customers’ relationship and the endeavor to seamlessly resolve customer problems and complaints.

Contract management

Manage all service contracts; set up/ negotiate / close/ terminate contract as required.

Inventory management

Set up and manage all inventory logs and service catalogs.

Billing and accounting

Manage the customer’s billing and account details, promptly send billing statements and process all payments and invoices.

Auditing and reporting

Audit all financial reporting of business transactions from time to time, monitor user operations and generate appropriate reports.

Rating and pricing

Evaluate provisioned cloud services and determine appropriate pricing, address pricing policies based on each user’s subscription type.

Provisioning and Configuration

Provisioning and configuration include rapid provisioning, resource changing, monitoring and reporting, metering and service level agreement management.

Rapid provisioning

Deploy cloud services automatically with respect to the requested resource(s), service(s) and configuration capabilities.

Resource changing

Fine-tune resource/ configuration request for overhaul, upgrades and connection of new nodes to the cloud.

Monitoring and reporting

Discover and monitor virtual resources, cloud services and events generating relevant performance reports.

Metering

Ensure that a metering model at some level of abstraction commensurable with the type of cloud service (for example, processing, storage, bandwidth and so on) is provided.

Service Level Agreement

Interpret and implement the SLA contract requirements definition (basic schema with the QoS parameters), SLA monitoring and SLA enforcement according to standard defined policies.

Probability and Interoperability

Cloud computing adoption lies solely on how users’ concern about cloud security, portability and interoperability issues are addressed.

Requirements for portability and interoperability are as follows:

  • In the case of portability, prospective subscribers are keen to know the possibility of moving their data and/ or applications cross multiple cloud environments at minimal interference and low cost.
  • From an interoperability dimension, the extent of interoperability support to communicating between or among multiple clouds.

Cloud providers are expected to provide methods and systems offering greater support for data portability , system portability and service interoperability:

Data Portability

Data portability allows the cloud users to copy stored data objects into or out of a cloud for bulk migration using an external storage disk

System Portability

System portability is the ability to seamlessly migrate to a machine image or a full-stopped virtual machine instance from one service provider to another service provider, or migrate to services, applications and their associated contents from one service provider to another.

Service Interoperability

Service interoperability involves the ability of cloud users to access their unique set of data and provisioned services from multiple cloud providers via unified management interface.

However, it should be noted that these requirements vary from one cloud service model to another.