Visibility is the First Step to Cloud Cost Journey

Visibility is the First Step to Cloud Cost Journey

Imagine driving an expensive car without ever knowing its mileage. Or handing over an ‘all-you- can-buy’ pass to your spouse during the festive season. The only words that come to mind are ‘unpredictable’ and ‘expensive’.

Cloud adoption is at a somewhat similar stage right now, being entirely driven by FOMO (fear of missing out). Everyone is eager to jump on the bandwagon without comprehending the gravity of its aftermath. And as it turns out, it can screw your budgets beyond control.

And research backs it up! 80% of companies increased their cloud workload in 2018, but only 20% of the respondents believe that their company was actually able to monitor the changes.

It is true that monitoring cloud resources can sometimes feel like chewing rocks. Why? Because their architecture can change quicker than the weather outside. Being dynamic in nature, new workloads can be deployed in a jiffy, giving rise to blind spots. And under dangerous circumstances, these spots can grow into the likes of data breaches, compliance nightmares, and cringing customers.

But does this necessarily mean that your cloud journey will end before it sees the light of day? Not if you aim to achieve holistic cloud visibility with Flint. Here is the usual workflow that Flint commences:

  • Flint integrates all apps, services, and infrastructure.
  • Application transactions are communicated across networks.
  • Executes continuous end-to-end cloud monitoring.
  • Simple and intuitive dashboard allows you to analyze data and make quick decisions to reduce cost and optimize resource consumption.

All this and more adds wings to the cloud ecosystem, setting it up for its next phase. And with a pumped-up architecture on steroids, many benefits can be drawn by putting those demons to rest:

  • Monitoring of application performance.
  • Easier identification of cloud costs.
  • Identification of unused cloud resources.
  • Pinpointing any billing irregularity.

With all this on the table, what should be the traits of an ideal cloud management solution? To begin with, it should be witty enough to sniff an oncoming cost mountain, just like Spider Man’s tingling senses. This includes diagnosing the type of issue and notifying users with relevant metrics.

In the end, it all ties up with the business value that your cloud partner provides. At Flint, we function as a one-stop-solution for all your cloud needs so that you don’t have to hop from one digital store to another. Whether it is about Cloud Management, Service Automation, or ITOM Orchestration. We have something in store for every cloud need, especially when it comes to having a transparent window-pane view of your cloud resources!

For more information on how we can paint a promising future for your cloud computing needs, visit our website!

Driving OneLogin Value Integration with Flint’s Automation Engine

Driving OneLogin Value Integration with Flint's Automation Engine

Flint has proven to be a powerhouse of productivity when it comes to handling administrative operations on OneLogin. And while it can weave together the workflows of multiple Identity Access Management (IAM) tools, OOTB services for OneLogin are smartly leveraged for this purpose. The result? Let’s take a quick dive!

How Flint Automates Workflows with IAM Solutions

Let’s expound more on this this with a simple scenario where you are using Azure AD as your IAM tool. Owing to the benefits of OneLogin, you decide to make the desired switch. But your leap of faith is in vain because the following issues:
Flint effectively intervenes in such scenarios with smart workflows that deliver the following functions:
  • Executing manual and tedious migration processes for every existing user.
  • Ensuring that all users are in sync with each other.
  • Manually handling provisioning and on-boarding of users from the old IAM to the new IAM.
  • Managing mundane admin tasks such as password resets for employees, user account locks, assignment of team roles, etc.
  • Sunk cost and resources since the entire user base from Azure Active Directory cannot be directly moved to OneLogin.
All this and more completely eliminate the need for manual intervention, paving the way for highly efficient and organized operations.

Benefits of Flint for IAM Users Migration and Synchronization

With Flint by your side, you can avail the following benefits automation-powered workflows:

  • Substantial savings on manpower and resources.
  • Better quality of end results and improved predictions of quality.
  • Improved robustness of processes and consistency of outputs.
  • Elimination of manual tasks leading to higher accuracy.
  • Engagement of the workforce in more strategic tasks.
  • Optimized operations and intuitive workload management.

Don’t Let the Public Cloud Snatch Away All Your Budget

Don't Let the Public Cloud Snatch Away All Your Budget

“Never put all your eggs in one basket.”

This adage perfectly sums up the advice any veteran cloud manager would pass on to a novice. And it is required more than ever today. Why? Because Gartner reports that global spending on public cloud services hit an insane mark of $214.3 billion this year.

As things stand, spending all your resources on public cloud is the worst decision that you can take. Controlling this is an even harder feat in case you have a multi-cloud strategy in place.

If you have been a victim of wasted resources and higher than appetite costs, here’s what you have to do to keep your cloud environment under check:

1. Analyze Your Monthly Cloud Bills:

If your organizational culture reflects the callous attitude of a rich and spoiled brat, you will be in trouble the moment you get out of bed. The faster your hand reaches for your pocket, the deeper will its hole be. You need to be stingy with your spends, analyze your cloud bills, and narrow down any unexpected services and regions that are in use.

2. Drill Down on Spikes and Anomalies:

But before that, do you have a blueprint of your cloud strategy in place? If not, you should not even be reading this. The next step is to map the frequency and intensity of your cloud resources on a wall (figuratively) and look for instances where they hit the ceiling or the floor. These are the points of inflection that can do with some smart optimization.

3. Compute the Costs of Your Network Traffic:

You don’t bring a needle to a sword fight. And, of course, vice versa. Cloud resources are billed on the hourly rate of machines. And as logic dictates, smaller machines are cheaper than their larger counterparts. While using smaller machines is an obvious initial reflex, you can even deploy a scale-out architecture that makes use of multiple and smaller resources.

4. Consider Cost Differences by Location:

Have you ever been to two different McDonald’s and paid different prices for the same happy meal? The same is possible with Cloud services. Prices are naturally dependent on input variables labor costs and market fluctuations. Whatever the case, don’t jump the gun without a fair share of due diligence.

5. Design Workloads for Scalability:

Before making any decision, time-travel into the future. What would be your cloud needs 2, 5, or even 10 years from now? The efficiency with which you answer these questions is directly correlated to cloud costs down the road. With cloud orchestration, containers, and microservices in the picture today, tipping the decision in favor of one factor may enrage another.

Which is the most nagging issue related to public cloud costs that you are facing? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Step One to Cloud Adoption: Overcoming the Transformation Fear

Step One to Cloud Adoption: Overcoming the Transformation Fear

If you haven’t already done so, imagine moving all your sensitive data onto the servers of a third-party. Chances are that as an executive in the C-seat, it freaks you out more than you expect it to. And you’re not alone! Cloud computing and newbie jitters go hand-in-hand.

Although there are many strong cases in favor of cloud migration, apprehension still commands the front seat. Here are some major cloud-related fears and how you can handle each of them:

1. Fear of Ceding Control

This is perhaps the most common fear due to data storage units being remote and non-tangible. This fear particularly compounds for managers who do not have any idea about the type of Cloud infrastructure that they need. If you are one of them, you need to realize that cloud storage offers more flexibility due to standardization and control through APIs.

2. Use an Appropriate Storage Class

Managers who go through the terms of service of cloud providers get a reality check when they read that the provider takes no responsibility for any loss of data whatsoever. To overcome this, they need to keep these in mind:

  • Cloud providers are simply protecting themselves from legal liabilities.
  • The terms are not a reflection of their service quality.
  • There are similar risks associated with maintaining local data drives.
  • Timely data backups can always be an effective risk mitigation strategy.

3. Fear of Data Security

Another common cloud-related anxiety, data security is something that is completely dependent on the cloud partner. Hence, the choice of your Cloud service provider is critical to bypass this risk. An ideal cloud platform includes:

  • Requisite firewalls and security norms.
  • Locks on all network applications.
  • Emergency data backup protocols.

And whatever you do, realize that the entire business of the cloud provider depends on the robustness of their platform. They are likely to take it more seriously than you ever will!

4. Fear of High Expenses

Managers often underestimate or overshoot the costs of moving data to the Cloud. This leads to an uncertain ROI, improper planning, and inaccurate expectations. The end result is often either sunk costs or resources. But this does not mean that Cloud computing itself is to be blamed. With a pay-as-you-go payment model, you can ensure that you shell out your hard-earned cash only for the resources that you actually use!

Looking for a one-stop solution that meets all these needs? Flint is a simplified and all-in-one Cloud management platform that can solve all your Cloud-related woes. Know more about the platform here!

5 Ways in Which You Can Reduce Your Cloud Bill

5 Ways in Which You Can Reduce Your Cloud Bill

Multi-cloud strategies are quickly becoming the cloud computing norm in 2019 as organizations continue to explore new avenues to bring down cloud-related costs. According to reports, about 50% of the respondents spend more than $1.2 million every year on Public Cloud. And 13% of them spend as much as $12 million!

As evident, an un-optimised cloud strategy can spiral costs out of control before you know what went wrong. So let's get to the chase and take a look at the checklist that will help you avoid such a mayday:

1. Drill Down on Unused Resources

While this is an obvious one, some important checks/solutions here can include:

  • Turning off temporary servers when the job is done.
  • Removing the storage attached to instances that are terminated
  • Using AWS OpWorks and Elastic Beanstalk to quickly deploy and redeploy apps

2. Use an Appropriate Storage Class

Cloud Providers include different tiers of object storage classes. For every tier, costs are broken down according to the actual storage, number of HTTP PUT and GET requests, and the volume of transferred data. To optimise cloud data storage costs, your develop or cloud manager needs to leverage object life cycle management that automatically transitions data between storage classes.

3. Select a Relevant Instance Type

To reduce costs, it is crucial to deploy the most cost-effective practices for your application workload. Consider variables such as the amount of required memory and the type of processing unit. Further optimisation can also be realised by tagging instances and setting up ‘No Tags, No Instance’ policies with dedicated tools.

4. Constantly Monitor Cloud Usage

Using cloud usage monitoring and management tools, such as TrustedAdvisor and CloudWatch, is mandatory if you plan to scale. Not only do they collect crucial cloud usage data, but they can also identify idle cloud resources via configuration checks. Such tools can even help you leverage the best cloud management practices, set up alerts, monitor log files, and automatically react to changes.

5. Use Reserved and Spot Instances

Instead of one-time buys, use reserved and spot instances to significantly bring down your cloud costs. Even though it would make you commit to the cloud platform for a period of 1-3 years, the resulting savings are totally worth it if you have large-scale cloud dependencies. By selecting the right reservation, you can even pay cloud costs on a per month basis.

Conclusion

When it comes to cloud savings, always keep in mind that numerous small gains will eventually amount to big differences in your cloud bills. This is especially true for organisations who are in the scaling stage. Leveraging all of these tips cohesively can significantly help your case.

Why Workload Automation is a Critical Cloud-first Strategy

Why Workload Automation is a Critical Cloud-first Strategy

Every bold prediction of cloud pundits has come true over the years. Cloud computing has gone way beyond its initial use case of easing the headache of maintaining basic IT systems. In fact, research from Forbes expects investments of $277 billion in public cloud services by 2021 alone, marking it as a bold foray into uncharted territories.

But, implementing a cloud ecosystem is one thing. Scaling it without bottlenecks is a different beast altogether. And this is exactly where cloud automation comes in.

Unboxing Cloud Automation: What It Is and How It Works

Automating workloads means that admins no longer need to execute mundane and repetitive tasks that eat away at their productivity. The immediate result? Breezy management of various cloud functions such as:

  • Backups and storage.
  • Creating new instances as per scale.
  • Security and compliance.
  • Code deployment.
  • Changes to settings.
  • Configuration management.

Challenges Faced By Cloud Environments

Although companies have been quick to turn to cloud computing, they have done so hastily and in an unplanned fashion. Lack of resources and inconsistent communication practices only add to the mayhem. The challenges include:

  • Complex-to-manage Cloud infrastructure with enterprise governance.
  • Lack of visibility of cloud spend and its alignment with business.
  • Scalability challenges while managing extensive customer data.

Cloud Automation: Productivity with Wings

Cloud automation explores productivity in a manner that removes inconsistency in communication practices. Immediate benefits of the technology include:

  • Cloud agility and business scalability.
  • Simplified business processes.
  • Speedy management and deployment.
  • Cost reductions and better control.
  • Enterprise-grade cloud services on multiple platforms.

How to Implement Cloud Automation With Flint

Flint empowers you to bring every facet of your cloud ecosystem on the same boat. It then fills the arsenal with multiple workload automation capabilities such as:

  • Infrastructure provisioning.
  • Configuration management.
  • Workflow Automation
  • Cloud Self-service Catalog

This will enable you to bring your cloud utilization under control, lower your resource costs and automate service requests.

Intrigued yet? Visit this link to learn more about every cloud solution that we offer.

How to Automate Okta Administrative Operations for Higher Productivity

How to Automate Okta Administrative Operations
for Higher Productivity

As veteran AWS users are aware, Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a web service that enables them to control access to their AWS resources securely. With IAM, managers and project leaders can authenticate and authorise team members to use various involved resources.

Although IAM tool Okta is used for this purpose, it can quickly turn into a scaling bottleneck for large enterprises that include multiple users. With Okta, users can manage access rights and connect to the requisite SaaS apps, mobile apps, devices, on-premise apps, and infrastructure systems. But, the tool falls short in the case of the following challenges:

  • Admins need to perform manual and repetitive tasks. These range from resetting user passwords to managing service desk requests.
  • Mundane tasks like manual provisioning and de-provisioning consume resources and increase costs.
  • Employee productivity reduces substantially owing to the time consumed by admin tasks.

All this and more call for a dedicated solution that automates such redundant tasks and saves admins from unproductive operational loopholes.

And this is exactly where Flint comes in!

How Flint Automates Okta Admin Operations

Flint is an IT platform that orchestrates digital processes and automates cloud services. It readily integrates with Okta to pave the way for seamless component communication, imparting intelligent workflows into the equation.

With exclusive out-of-the-box services for Okta, admins can deploy automated workflows for tasks such as provisioning/deprovisioning users, resetting passwords, locking users, and more. Admins can perform every Okta action that they usually do, while also tying them with automation.

The resulting custom workflows trim down lengthy and repetitive processes into their flexible counterparts that can be remotely triggered from any ITSM platform. And this is securely executed through self-service portals.

And the best part? Every workflow can be hyper-customized to cater to complex employee onboarding processes of organizations.

Benefits of Flint for Enterprises

Apart from Okta, Flint includes valuable integrations with numerous ITSM self-service portals. It even allows users to define workflows by stitching together distinct out-of-the-box services. This eliminates the need for human intervention in low-grade IT support and admin tasks. As a result, organizations realize the following benefits with Flint:

  • Reduction in the time spent on manual Okta requests by multiple bounds.
  • Overhauling entire routine workflows and setting them up for automatic triggers in the case of predefined events.
  • An increase in the quality and reliability of workflows since all similar actions are executed identically.
  • Higher levels of employee motivation and productivity while also boosting innovation capabilities.
  • Significant reduction of costs and turnaround times of support requests and admin tasks.
  • Higher availability of organisational resources for other complex tasks.

Use-case of Okta User Provisioning with Flint

Let’s dive deeper into the practical aspect of the integration and understand how Flint bridges the gap between manual processes and automation.

Consider the legacy workflow of Okta user provisioning from an ITSM tool:

  • A new employee Jane has recently joined a company. The HR executive needs an employee account for Jane to complete her onboarding process.
  • The HR rep raises a service request on the ITSM tool to request the same.
  • The admin manually visits the ITSM tool and notes down all relevant details of Jane.
  • He/she then acknowledges the raised request and logs into Okta to enter the requisite details.
  • The account is finally created, and the admin reverts back on the ITSM tool with details.

With Flint, here is how users can leverage automation to eliminate the associated operational hassle:

  • The HR executive raises a request on the ITSM tool for user provisioning.
  • Every subsequent step is automatically handled by Flint!

And that’s not all!

Flint can also simultaneously handle hoards of such requests without any lag in performance.

The Verdict

Flint’s Okta integration capability empowers Okta users to execute mundane tasks with minimal human intervention. Not only does it eliminate the involved inaccuracy-related risks, but it also imparts a next-gen operational ecosystem that can be scaled beyond measure!

Visit our website to learn more about how we can make automated Okta admin workflows a reality for your organization.

Flint Platform + ServiceAide

Flint Platform + ServiceAide

Smart tools work wonders when together. Flint platform and ServiceAide integrated to make ITSM and ITOps Automation work for you. Service requests, support tickets from ServiceAide ISM when demands end-to-end automation or automated resolution are routed to Flint for unattended automation. Automated support ticket and service fulfilment mean you don't need a human workforce to be available 24x7. Leverage closed-loop automation capabilities driven by seamless integration of ServiceAide with Flint platform.

Bundled ISM Automation of ServiceAide and Flint

The objective:

The integration of Flint with ServiceAide is aimed at being an extension of ServiceAide capabilities to automate requests being processed manually. The tickets raised, irrespective of if they are categorized under Incident management, change management or Problem, are re-routed to Flint if they can be auto-resolved. This eliminates the redundancy an operational workforce has to go through in a day and helps to bring in greater efficiency at reduced long-term costs.

Benefits of the integration:

1) Flint does not only auto-resolves a majority of the tickets raised but also organise the ones that do require intervention by human agents on the basis of priority, sending out proactive alerts and push notifications to agents for their involvement, as and when required.

2) Flint - ServiceAide in tandem also opens up the option to choose whether to perform service management operation using on-premise IT infrastructure or migrate to the cloud.

3) A unified view over the IT operations will result in more efficient identification and resolution of problems, as you can efficiently zero-in on any underlying issues and negative patterns that can trigger system crashes and breakdowns.

5 Things to Look for in a Cloud Management Solution

5 Things to Look for in a Cloud Management Solution

Since its inception, there is no denying the fact that cloud computing has quickly risen the ranks of emerging technologies to find firm roots in the global digital ecosystem. The Cisco Global Cloud Index reiterates this and suggests that by 2021, 94% of workloads will run in the cloud.

But even after such rampant proliferation, cloud migration and management remain critical hurdles for project managers today. And as fate may have it, almost all cloud issues can be traced back to a single decision - choosing the right cloud management partner.

So, does your Cloud Management Solution fit the bill of the ideal cloud partner? Here are some features that it might be lacking:

1. Built for the Future:

The ability of operating various cloud platforms in conjunction with each other imparts a high level of flexibility in your tech ecosystem. Without this, it would be impossible to run applications in foreign infrastructures without significantly tweaking the underlying code. And as the number of new entrants in the IaaS playing field, such as AzureStack and GCP keep increasing day by day, the menu of services they provide and the strength of vendors’ offerings will look quite different in a year's time.

To this end, the platform's ability to support multiple cloud providers including Public, Private, and Hybrid is incredibly important.

2. Support for Application Lifecycle:

It makes no business sense to deploy a different cloud environment for every stage of the application lifecycle. Not only can this spiral costs out of the project’s leeway, it can also turn into an upskilling nightmare for your teams. An ideal cloud management solution should be able to handle disparate life event such as code updates, security and vulnerability patches, capacity management, performance optimization, and regular backups.

3. Intuitive Automation:

Capacity management, continuous integration, and resource orchestration is key for any cloud platform. But this often involves repetitive tasks that interfere with productivity and pave way for unforced errors. Without automation, something as menial as VM provisioning or push code can prove to be serious operational bottlenecks, especially for large environments.

4. Seamless Monitoring and Control:

Without the ability to track resources, projects can go down unprecedented tangents. An ideal cloud environment or IaaS partner enables users to monitor resources in real-time, create custom environment reports, and more.

5. Expense Management:

It is crucial to have a constant overview of cloud-related expenses in order to keep projects under control and realize optimized resource management. With an expense management system in place, you will be able to access dedicated insights about both present and historical cloud utilization patterns along with unused instances that might be increasing costs.

The Verdict

All such features need to cohesively function as cogs in a wheel for managers to realize high payoffs. The ideal cloud management solution does everything in its power to make this a reality.

What are your views about this? Share with us in the comments section.

Effective Solution for Cloud Sprawl You Never Knew Existed

Effective Solution for Cloud Sprawl You Never Knew Existed

The cloud adoption growth trajectory in a considerably short span of time has been downright remarkable. As per latest prediction, almost 90 per cent organisations will have moved some or all of their tech operations to the cloud by end of 2019. The remaining 10 per cent will, in all likelihood, follow suit by 2021. For all its advantages and transformative abilities, cloud operations do have an undeniable downside too – cloud sprawl.

Cloud sprawl refers to the unchecked proliferation of an organisation’s cloud services triggered by an expansion of cloud-based computing resources that far outdoes the requirement. Since organisations pay for cloud computing resources on per-use basis, cloud sprawl can prove to be a costly enterprise.

Strategies to Contain Cloud Sprawl

If left unchecked, cloud sprawl can trigger a host of other problems within an organisation. Therefore, effectively containing this phenomenon is a crucial part of IT operations. Flint cloud management services are aimed at helping you solve this problem with unique yet effective solutions based on a unified management approach:

Clearly Defined Cloud Strategy

Before addressing cloud sprawl, Flint tackles the root of the problem by establishing a clearly defined cloud strategy for its clients. This includes solutions such as role-based access control, establishing protocols and putting in place migration and use policies, which when communicated to all stakeholders and users can ensure seamless weeding out of cloud sprawl.

Expert Handling of Cloud Migration

A well-executed cloud migration strategy can in many ways mitigate the risk of cloud sprawl altogether. With a thorough understanding of how, when, and where to move workloads, Flint can be your reliable partner in expertly handling cloud migration.

Unified Management Approach

Instead of setting up different points of access, Flint offers a unified platform, a single pane of glass, if you will, for managing diverse workloads, cloud resources, and taking automated actions all from one place. This empowers cloud operators and admins to base their management decisions on actionable insights.

Developing Cloud Governance Policies and Protocols

Setting in place cloud policies and requisite protocols play a fundamental role in checking cloud sprawl as these can enable automatic de-provisioning and shutdown of unnecessary workloads after a pre-determined period. Flint helps you set these policies for governance that touch upon not just the broad issues of proliferation but also finer intricacies such as access to applications, cloud services, as well as SaaS solutions usage, for employees working remotely.

Handling Cloud Sprawl Holistically

All these cloud sprawl containing solutions and strategies can yield results only when they are backed by a platform capable of managing a combination of cloud providers in a holistic manner. Flint with its streamlined cloud management solutions that rely on a standardised management approach toward the public, private, and hybrid clouds makes it easy to handle cloud infrastructures diverse in structure, usage, and cost from a single platform. This enhances the ability to collect, consolidate, and analyse utilisation and performance metrics to deliver greater transparency, which ultimately helps in reining in any tendencies of cloud sprawl.

Being one of the few cloud management platforms capable of handling public, private and hybrid cloud, Flint also delivers the added advantage of increased flexibility through swift deployment and development of applications. This agility helps rein in incidence of cloud sprawl considerably by deployment of workloads anytime and anywhere without the need for maintaining an IT infrastructure capable of supporting these changes. This not only helps boost performance but also keeps costs under check.

The element of versatility is another driving force behind Flint's effective multi-cloud management. As a cloud management platform that can be either consumed as Saas or deployed on-premise, Flint enables automation, optimises management and provides greater control to create an environment designed to drive operational efficiency.