Efficient, Effective, Intelligent, and Secure O&M — Part 1: The Need

By Shantanu Kaushik

The cloud computing era has led to an increase in the number of IT systems and development to deployment methodologies. Optimal business systems require strong infrastructure, and infrastructure requires an effective and efficient Operations and Maintenance (O&M) system. O&M solutions are mission-critical to keep the platforms working correctly.

Operations and Maintenance are two terms that define a lot that goes on behind the scenes. The past decade has seen a dramatic increase in demand for an effective O&M solution for the cloud. The cloud has been undergoing continuous transformation, and the most important aspect of this transformation is to achieve an O&M solution that provides the level of service required to reduce complexities related to multiple cloud architectures. Alibaba Cloud responded to this growing demand and created the Operation Orchestration Service (OOS) and Bastionhost for cloud-based O&M and security, including audit and identity management.

In this article, we are going to discuss the needs and practices surrounding Operations and Maintenance. We will also discuss Alibaba Cloud Bastionhost and Operation Orchestration Service (OOS) and how they provide secure and effective O&M services, identity management, and auditing for the cloud.

O&M Requirements and Challenges

Achieving high quality solutions with maximum up-time and a budget cap is a challenge but the most basic requirement. Cloud systems have to maintain high availability, elasticity, and rapid deployment of services, requiring a strong and secure O&M hold.

The cloud and data centers grow concurrently. These data centers house a massive amount of equipment that makes it a tedious task to detect and isolate faults. The amount of technologies you use with your solution affects your requirements and makes it difficult to maintain an effective O&M. The needs increase ten-fold with more virtualization and use of open-source tools for multi-level deployments, including CI-CD practices with DevOps.

Operations and Maintenance require resources. Maintaining lower operational costs is the key to a better managed and efficient system. The cloud model is highly efficient for enterprises since most systems are fully-managed. However, with custom business applications and an elastic plus scalable system, the resources need to be balanced.

The cloud offers a flexible, automated, and scalable system of operations. The cloud has shared resources to improve utilization efficiency and provide a balance between service availability and user experience. Service assurance is the key factor when opting for any cloud provider. Alibaba Cloud has a fortified system that provides seamless service assurance with service level agreements and unified services, such as Alibaba Cloud Bastionhost and Operation Orchestration Service (OOS).

Hybrid Cloud architecture showcases another challenge of optimizing and working with public and private clouds. Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)-based connections take the driver’s seat. Proving O&M in hybrid scenarios requires careful planning and considerations pertaining to service assurance.

Automation is the prime mover when it comes to cloud operations. The cloud infrastructure works through automation to make the architecture more efficient for continuous delivery and integration. Most operations feature some form of automation, such as resource scheduling, fault isolation and recovery, testing, or service maintenance. Alibaba Cloud developed its in-house O&M services to present a front towards a perfectly maintained and optimized system.

Cloud Data centers exceed the operability of traditional data centers by a huge margin. The primary goal of an O&M service is to maintain a seamless and available service scenario. Enterprise customers leverage fully-managed services and focus on end-results and functioning business applications.

Automation must be implemented using a unified strategy that is workflow centric. Alibaba Cloud OOS and Bastionhost provide service upkeep along with deep integration with identity management (Bastionhost.) These services provide the correct form of automation to allow users to leverage standardization and excellence to further the cause of business intelligence.

In the cloud era, using the Elastic Compute Service, storage, and networking services with other applications and SDKs, configurations, and permission management requires a highly effective O&M system that can help you manage the entire cloud environment conveniently.

Seamless development to deployment methodologies based on agile and distributed models require more frequent O&M. Alibaba Cloud allows for one-click provisioning of tools that provide automation with resource provisioning on-demand. Alibaba Cloud allows a sandboxing system, testing, version rollbacks, and grey launches with different products and solutions. An extensive service scenario is required while supporting centralized provisioning of thousands of instances spanning multiple data centers worldwide.

Prevention, Detection, and Self-Healing

Traditionally, O&M was conducted after a fault was detected. The evolution of the cloud and its rapid growth has caused O&M operations to work towards prevention through early fault detection. The size and scale of computing power will grow concurrently with the number of events. This is the main reason to implement an intelligent O&M solution.

Alibaba Cloud Big Data analytics, machine learning, and AI have enabled the O&M solutions to deliver an intelligent support capability with active fault prevention.

Having no faults is always better than handling faults, especially with Alibaba Cloud’s massive data centers. Big Data technology enables early detection and predictive analysis. This intelligent system allows faults and issues to be solved before anyone detects any issues, enabling an uninterrupted service.

Wrapping Up

O&M systems have to showcase capabilities that help an organization deal with any issues that could hinder operations and provide excellent maintenance capabilities. Alibaba Cloud has state-of-the-art integration and identity management to provide a secure access system for enabling a highly-intelligent system that showcases monitoring and data analytics based on Big Data and AI.

In the next article in this series, we will discuss ways to benefit from an intelligent O&M system. Later in the series, we will showcase Alibaba Cloud Bastionhost and Operation Orchestration Service.

  1. Efficient, Effective, Intelligent, and Secure O&M — Part 2: Results and Key Findings
  2. Efficient, Effective, Intelligent, and Secure O&M — Part 3: Attaining O&M Perfection With Bastionhost
  3. Efficient, Effective, Intelligent, and Secure O&M — Part 4: Alibaba Cloud Operation Orchestration Service

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