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The five key pillars that support effective cloud architecture
Fri, 19th Aug 2022
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Of all the trends driven by the global pandemic disruption, one of the most significant has been a strong increase in the use of cloud-based platforms and resources.

Keen to keep staff productive when working from home, many organisations either shifted their applications and data to the cloud or looked for cloud-native alternatives. Now, with the restrictions eased, it's a trend that's showing no sign of slowing. When an organisation has expanded its usage of cloud resources, attention then turns to ensure they are extracting as much value from them as possible. The best way to achieve this is to focus on the five pillars of cloud architecture:

1. Cost optimisation

The best way for an organisation to get the most value from its cloud infrastructure is to eliminate unused components and refine suboptimal processes. This begins by knowing exactly what elements have been put in place and how much they cost.

One way to achieve this is to create a way to visualise the infrastructure. The right cloud visualisation solution will work seamlessly with all the tier-one cloud vendors and build an inventory of all components being used. Then, through automation, a diagram can be created that allows the IT team to see all the relationships between resources and make it easier to
identify where to cut costs.

2. Reliability

Once the extent of the cloud resources being used is understood, an organisation should work to ensure they effectively support all workloads and users. A good way to increase reliability in a cloud environment is to set key performance indicators (KPIs) that allows the IT team to both monitor the resources and be alerted if something within the architecture fails.

Using a cloud visualisation platform to filter cloud diagrams and create different visuals of current, optimal and potential cloud infrastructure allows you to compare what is currently happening in the cloud to what should be happening.

3. Operational excellence

Striving for operational excellence means creating an environment where cloud resources constantly function at their best. If the IT team neglects to upgrade products or processes to help the environment function at higher levels, a ceiling limits the level an organisation can ascend to.

It's important to undertake constant research to see where and how to improve your cloud infrastructure and environment. Then, when changes are needed, it doesn't have to be via a massive overhaul but rather through continuous, smaller improvements.

4. Performance efficiency

Many factors can impact cloud performance, such as the location of components, latency, load, instance size, and monitoring. If any of these factors become a problem, it's essential to have procedures in place that result in minimal deficiencies in performance.

For example, it might be wise to have resources in different locations. This means that if one suffers an outage, other resources can continue to be used as normal. If an organisation has a comprehensive and dynamic view of its entire cloud environment, it will better understand where each dependency is and how disruption can be minimised.

5. Security

Each cloud platform and service being used needs to be able to protect the confidentiality and integrity of an organisation's systems and data. A robust and proactive approach to security will also ensure that an organisation maintains compliance with all government regulations and cloud security standards.

This is another place where cloud visualisation can play a critically valuable role. With real-time visuals, it's possible to stay on top of cloud security, cloud compliance, and internal best practices by visualising and overlaying security metadata in the context of the overall infrastructure diagram. Such metadata may include instance names, security groups, IP
addresses and more.

Maintaining peak cloud performance

By closely monitoring each of these five pillars, an organisation can ensure it is best positioned to take maximum advantage of the cloud resources it has in place. Investments can be closely aligned to business goals and wasteful overspending eliminated.

Cloud resources will continue to be valuable assets for organisations in the years ahead. Through careful monitoring and management, they can deliver the support that an organisation requires to flourish.