Cloud Agility

What is Cloud Agility?

Cloud agility is the ability to quickly develop, test, and launch applications in a cloud-based environment. Much like in the athletic theater, agility makes it easier to move nimbly in response to changing environments or challenges.

How is cloud agility beneficial for business?

Cloud agility is beneficial for business because a constantly changing and evolving IT environment could otherwise propose impediments to forward progress. Quick iterations, with short turn times help maintain profitability and innovation.

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How does cloud agility help create a competitive advantage?

Cloud agility helps create a competitive advantage as sweeping changes in technology pose lesser threats in an agile environment. Cloud agility gives customers and users expanded choice and quick access to computing resources—two critical ingredients to success in today’s competitive marketplace.

What are the challenges with cloud agility?

The move to an agile cloud computing environment can be challenging for personnel, as it requires process changes. For example, DevOps teams must get comfortable with much quicker turn times and iterative work. In the past, a project build cycle could last months, but in an agile cloud environment those iterative cycles could be closer to two weeks; a turn time that produces smaller updates that can feel less impactful.

Additionally, moving to a hybrid cloud environment can be a boon for innovation but a stumbling block for technical and managerial staff who are short on proper training and skills development. The investment in hybrid cloud solutions for the business should also be reflected in efforts to upskill current and future employees with cloud knowledge to support both the initial migration as well as the ongoing changes.

Cloud agility presents opportunities to scale and innovate quickly, and rapidly responding to changes in the market and in technology. But those changes may also introduce security and compliance challenges if organizations don’t have the knowledge or training to run the robust, built-in security tools available in the cloud environment.

Lastly, change management and implementation from traditional IT to cloud-agile environments can create roadblocks.

How is cloud agility related to cloud computing?

Cloud agility is related to cloud computing in that one is a benefit of the other. Cloud computing refers to any computing activity that takes place in the cloud, whether in public, private, or hybrid cloud environments. Cloud agility, on the other hand, implies a value statement as it is defined as the ability to create, test, and deploy applications and software in the cloud quickly, often in response to market changes.

In other words, cloud computing refers to provisioning and maintaining resources in computing; cloud agility refers to issues like security, monitoring, and analysis.

What are the principles of cloud agility?

The main principles of cloud agility help businesses harness cloud computing to achieve flexibility, scalability and accelerate innovation. 

  • Elasticity: A cloud's elasticity refers to its ability to adapt to shifts in demand by scaling resources up or down to provide additional resources during increased workloads and release them when not needed. 
  • DevOps: It contains a set of strategies used to accelerate the software development lifecycle and enhance product quality. A collection of procedures known as Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) automates software development, testing, and deployment.
  • Automation: The capability to automate enhances resource provisioning, configuration, and management. It streamlines redundant tasks, lower manual intervention, and facilitates quick deployment of applications without compromising functionality.
  • Service-oriented architecture: The applications contain loosely coupled services in the SOA architecture, which can be developed, deployed, and updated easily.

What are the key components of cloud agility?

The components of agile cloud computing enhance the adaptability of a cloud environment.

  • Infrastructure as code (IaC): The process of managing and provisioning infrastructure resources using machine-readable configuration files or scripts is called infrastructure as code (IaC). IaC enables enterprises to manage their infrastructure resources more easily, uniformly, and automatedly, enhancing cloud agility, efficiency, and scalability. 
  • Automation: This involves using tools to automate processes (automatic resource provisioning, configuration, deployment, and monitoring) in the cloud environment to organize all business operations, lower manual intervention, and improve agility. 
  • Containerization: Containerization offers a lightweight and portable way to package and deploy applications by encapsulating the applications and dependencies. Also, it ensures quick application deployment, scalability, and adoption of microservice architecture.
  • Multi-cloud and hybrid cloud strategies: The multi-cloud and hybrid cloud strategies merge the private and public clouds to improve flexibility and agility. It helps organizations to allocate workloads across various platforms to prevent vendor lock-in and maintain an equilibrium between scalability and control.
  • DevOps and CI/CD: Implementation of DevOps ensures seamless and collaboration between development and operations teams to accelerate development. The CI/CD pipelines enable enterprises to automate the software design, testing, and deployment to launch software solutions quickly and adapt to the changing market demands.

How do DevOps and continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) contribute to cloud agility?

DevOps and CI/CD facilitate agility in cloud computing by abiding by the following crucial concepts. 

To shorten the software development lifecycle and raise software quality, a set of procedures known as DevOps combines software development (Dev) with IT operations (Ops). This enables rolling out upgrades and new features more quickly, keeping businesses ahead of the competition.

CI/CD automates the development, testing, and deployment of software. As a result, you can track bottlenecks in your program early in the development cycle, thereby improving its quality. Additionally, you can quickly release new features and upgrades by automating the deployment process.

DevOps and CI/CD aid cloud agile computing by improving communication and collaboration between teams, automating tasks, and facilitating the deployment of changes to production.

What are container orchestration platforms for cloud agility?

Container orchestration platforms play an important role in cloud agility. For instance, Kubernetes includes several characteristics that can help boost agility in cloud computing. 

  • Auto-scaling: Automatically scales up or down your containerized apps as demand changes, saving money by using the resources you require.
  • Load balancing: Transfers load of containerized apps quickly across different servers, improving application performance by ensuring they are dispersed uniformly across the infrastructure.
  • Health monitoring: Tracks the status of your containerized apps, allowing you to detect and resolve problems before they affect users. It offers health checks and liveness probes to assess container health.
  • Version control: Keeps a record of versions of containerized applications and manages container orchestration, manifests application code, and configuration files.

What are elasticity and scalability in cloud agility?

Elasticity and scalability bring agility to cloud computing by enabling organizations to efficiently adapt to changing demands and optimize resource utilization in the cloud environment.

  • Understanding elasticity and scalability in the cloud: Elasticity and scalability help businesses to manage resources and ensure optimal performance by providing the flexibility to adjust to dynamic demands. Elasticity automatically scales computing resources depending on workload fluctuations. Companies can include or exclude resources in response to changes in demand. Scalability adds additional resources (vertically or horizontally), enabling businesses to manage increasing workloads. 
  • Techniques for dynamically scaling cloud resources: Horizontal scaling increases the number of instances of resources, or containers, to divide the burden. The application keeps working efficiently without halting as new resources are added. Once the resource provisioning completes, the application is deployed on additional resources. Vertical scaling means increasing the capacity of individual resources, such as CPU or virtual machine memory. It doesn’t involve adding new resources; instead, the potential of existing resources is optimized.
  • Auto-scaling and load balancing for more agility in the cloud: Auto-scaling increases resource capacity automatically based on established metrics or policies for optimal performance and cost-effectiveness. Load balancing spreads incoming traffic across multiple resources to minimize bottlenecks and improve overall system performance.

What are automation and orchestration?

Automation and orchestration are fundamental concepts in cloud computing that can help you increase agility in a cloud computing environment. Automation uses technologies and techniques to automate jobs. Orchestration involves coordinating and administering various automated operations or processes to achieve a specified result.

Importance of automation and orchestration in cloud agility

Automation and orchestration are required to achieve and maintain agile cloud computing. Some of the main benefits are: 

  • Efficiency and speed: Orchestration and automation reduce manual effort and allow for faster deployment, scaling, and management of cloud resources.
  • Scalability and elasticity: Automation and orchestration enable dynamic scaling and resource allocation, allowing organizations to balance varying workloads.
  • Consistency and standardization: With automation and orchestration, cloud environments are configured, deployed, and managed uniformly, increasing reliability and reducing errors.
  • Cost optimization: Automation and orchestration help optimize resource utilization, manage costs, and enforce governance policies, leading to efficient cloud resource allocation.
  • Agility and adaptability: Cloud-based applications and services can be provisioned, deployed, and modified quickly.
  • Risk reduction: Automation and orchestration reduce cloud risks by automating repetitive tasks, enforcing security measures, and maintaining standardized practices.

What is governance and management in cloud agility?

Governance and management provide processes, frameworks, and tools to effectively control and oversee cloud resources and operations.

Governance Frameworks for Agility in Cloud Computing

  • Cloud governance policies: Establishing explicit policies for cloud adoption and usage ensures that cloud resources are used efficiently and safely.
  • Cloud center of excellence (CCoE): A centralized team responsible for enterprise-wide cloud governance and best practices.
  • Cloud service management: Implementing a service management framework for cloud services aids in managing cloud resources over their entire lifecycle.
  • Cost management: Cloud agility necessitates excellent cost management.

Monitoring and optimization of cloud resources for more agility

Monitoring and optimizing resources to achieve agile cloud computing, performance, and cost-effectiveness is critical. Here's how to do it:

  • Performance monitor: The performance monitor continuously monitors the cloud resources' performance and health.
  • Resources check: Monitoring resource use might help you detect underutilized or overloaded resources.
  • Cost optimization: Measures should be implemented to identify high-spending areas, maximize resource utilization, and eliminate wasteful spending.
  • Performance optimization: Examine application and infrastructure performance measurements to discover areas for improvement.

HPE and cloud agility

Cloud agility is an aspirational quality of cloud computing. It is an optimized ability to roll with changes, stay nimble, and rely on the versatility of cloud-based resources so that your enterprise organization’s compute operations are as flexible as possible. HPE GreenLake keeps you at the top of your game in the transformation of your data environment, as this service provides the cloud agility that you need, and exactly where you need it. Available on a pay per use platform, HPE GreenLake provides resources at-scale for your cloud needs.

With that in mind, HPE knows that any successful transformation from traditional IT to cloud-based services must consider more than just the technology. Most transformation projects succeed or fail not because of technology choices, but because of issues with strategy, skills, or culture. HPE’s edge-to-cloud adoption framework gives you a structure and common language to understand where you are in your journey, and to help you prioritize the right next steps for your organization.

Once you’re headed in the right direction, HPE Hybrid Cloud Solutions promise speed, agility, and cost savings for your organization. Additionally, we offer insight and assistance when you’re solving difficult challenges such as data gravity, security, compliance and regulations, cost management, and the need for organizational change. HPE's Hybrid Cloud Solutions can help your business navigate cloud complexities and speed your digital transformation through a proven methodology for transforming people, processes, and technology.