Scaling Operations to Optimize AWS Cloud Native Services
The truth is that modernizing your monolithic applications and infrastructure requires new sets of skills, knowledge, expertise, and understanding to achieve the desired results. Unless you’re a sophisticated, well-funded startup, most organizations don’t know where to start once the migration is complete. Transitioning from deploying legacy software in your own data center to using Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) and microservices while deploying code through an automated continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline is a brand new ball game. Not to mention how to make it work after it’s deployed.
In this article, I provide an overview of how to overcome stagnation that hits after migration. With foresight, an understanding of AWS, and a reality check of your internal capabilities, organizations can thrive with cloud-native services. At the same time, pushing issues downstream, maintaining inefficiencies, and failing to meet new system requirements will undermine the return on investment and supposed gains from modernization.
Is your team ready?
Sure, going serverless with Lambda might be all the buzz right now, but it’s not something you can effectively accomplish overnight. Running workloads on cloud-native platforms and services requires a different way of operating. New operational requirements demand that your internal teams be equipped with these new skill sets. Unfortunately, a team familiar with the legacy data center or dedicated hosting provider environment may not be able to get started on AWS.
The appeal of AWS is its great flexibility to drive your business and solve unique challenges. However, due to the ability to provision and decommission on demand, this also introduces new complexities. If these new challenges aren’t addressed early on, you’re sure to see friction between teams that can hurt collaboration and adoption, the potential for system sprawl increases, and cost overruns can compromise legitimacy and the longevity of modernization.
Due to the high cost and small talent pool of technically efficient cloud professionals, many organizations struggle to attract the attention of these highly sought-after employees. Fortunately, modern cloud-managed service providers can help you navigate the multitude of services introduced by AWS. With a trusted and experienced partner by your side, businesses are empowered to gain the insights needed to drive business efficiency and solve unique challenges. Depending on the level of interaction, existing team members may be able to level up to better manage AWS growth in the future. In the meantime, engaging a third-party cloud expert is a quick and efficient way to ensure that post-migration change management evolves with your goals, design, timeline, and promised results.
Do you implement DevOps?
Modern cloud operations and optimizations address the two necessities of the day that go into long-term AWS management. DevOps principles and automation should be strongly integrated into the operation of the AWS environment. With hundreds of thousands of distinct price points and technical combinations, even the most seasoned IT organizations can be overwhelmed.
Consider traditional operations management versus cloud-based DevOps. One is a physical hardware deployment that requires logging into the system to perform configurations and then deploying software on top of it. It’s slow, cumbersome, and causes lag for developers waiting for features to be delivered, which negatively impacts productivity. Instead of system administrators performing monthly security patches and having to log in to each instance separately, a modern cloud operation can efficiently use a pipeline with infrastructure as code. Now you can update your configuration files to use a new image and then use infrastructure automation to redeploy it. This treats each as a short-lived instance, minimizing any friction or delay on developer teams.
This is just one example of how DevOps can and should be used to achieve high availability, agility, and profitability. Measuring DevOps with the CALMS model provides a guideline for addressing the five core elements of DevOps: Culture, Automation, Lean, Measure, and Share.
Do you continue with the same behavior?
Monitoring CPU, memory, and disk at traditional thresholds used on legacy hardware is not necessarily appropriate when using AWS EC2. To achieve the financial and performance benefits of the cloud, you deliberately design systems and applications to use and pay for the number of resources needed. As you increasingly deploy new cloud-native technologies, such as Kubernetes and serverless operations, you need to monitor in different ways to reduce an abundance of non-actionable alerts that end up becoming noise.
For example, when running a Kubernetes cluster, you should implement monitoring that alerts on the desired pods. If there is a large discrepancy between the number of pods desired and the pods running, this may indicate resource issues where your nodes lack the capacity to launch new pods. With a modern managed cloud service provider, cloud operations engineers receive the alert and start investigating the cause to ensure availability and continuity for application users. With fewer unnecessary alerts and an escalation protocol for the appropriate parties, triage of the issue can be done faster. In many cases, remediation efforts can be automated, allowing for more efficient resource allocation.
How do you reduce costs?
Many organizations are initiating cloud migration and modernization to gain profitability. Of course, these financial benefits are only accessible when modern cloud operations are fully in place.
Considering that anyone can create an AWS account but not everyone has visibility or budget cost concerns, this can lead to costs quickly exceeding expectations.
This is where establishing a strong governance model and scaling up automation can help you achieve your cost reduction goals. You can limit instance size deployment using IAM policies to ensure that larger, more expensive instances are not used unnecessarily. Another cost that can quickly add up without proper controls is your S3 storage. Enabling policies for objects to expire and be automatically deleted can help curb an explosion in storage costs. Adopting policies like these to control costs requires your organization to take the time to think about and implement the governance approach.
How are you going to start evolving now?
Time is running out when it comes to post-migration results — and the board and business leaders around you expect results. As your organization seeks to take advantage of cloud-native services from AWS, your development practices will become more agile and require a more modern approach to environmental management. To keep pace with these business drivers, companies would do well to invest in a team of seasoned internal and external IT professionals who can serve as the foundation for the organization’s cloud evolution.
Dusty Simoni is Practice Director – Managed Cloud Services at 2nd watch.