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How to Manage Customers in Cloud Computing

If you’re a business manager using a cloud computing services provider, you need visibility into both the computing infrastructure and the applications you’re using in the cloud. You need to understand some key factors so you can manage both your cloud-based services as well as your own data center.

Provision resources in the cloud

If you’re using a public or private cloud, you need a mechanism that enables you to provision new resources when you need them. Can this be automated, or does someone have to manually do it? This administrative function includes setting up your cloud environment as well as building and deploying applications in the cloud. This administrative process will be needed regardless of whether you’re using a public or a private cloud.

It is also true, in a slightly different way, in the Software as a Service (SaaS) environment. The service provider manages the performance levels of the overall environment that might require the addition of servers, increasing processing power, and so on in a compute environment. It may include provisioning a database or mapping your data to your new cloud application.

Incidents and problems with cloud computing

When your organization begins adopting some cloud computing capabilities, you must have a plan to handle problems such as unexpected outages. Although the cloud computing vendor will have its own infrastructure and tools for this, you have to be proactive too. Know how your provider handles changes to its environment.

Depending on how critical the cloud service is to your business, you have different levels of support.

Work with your cloud provider if you’re dependent on these services to run your business. You need to have a process for handling incidents and problems. You also need to explain to your management what happens if and when a service fails.

Cloud computing performance level monitoring

Of course, you want to make sure that you can see the performance level of the services in the cloud. This monitoring should be incorporated into your overall capacity plan for your company.

You really need these things overall:

  • A dashboard that provides you with insights across the applications and services that are running in your data center and those that are running in a cloud.

  • A service level agreement across your own services and those provided by cloud providers to get a true picture of the service you are providing to your company.

Billing and other services

All cloud providers will bill your company based on:

  • How many users are supported

  • How much capacity you use

  • How many services you leverage

As with any service you purchase, it is important that you have oversight. You should be able to “see into” your billing, especially if you’re automatically provisioning capacity. Most service providers will provide customers with an application that will include information about what resources they are being charged for. If the service provider can’t provide this accounting information, something is wrong.

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