What Is Cloud Provisioning?

Cloud technology, what was once a questionable avenue, is now the way of housing and communicating business systems. It’s a seamless and more accessible route, almost easy to maintain your systems and data. Technology journalist Adrian Bridgwater says it best: Clouds start up. Actually, cloud computing services are usually said to ‘spin up’ into life – it’s ready to use. He further explains, “As instantaneous as cloud spin-up is, like any vigorous exercise it’s best to warm up first. In cloud land, this is a practice known as cloud provisioning. It is the process of readying a cloud for its intended tasks by making sure that it has the required attributes and performance characteristics. The trouble is, as automated as so many of the technologies in this space are, cloud provisioning can be quite a chore.” Bridgwater shares an article on Forbes, with the help of other tech experts, on the importance of cloud provisioning and while it is a chore, it is a necessary one.

Keeping tabs on tags. “‘In the cloud, tagging allows users to add important and descriptive metadata (tags) to cloud infrastructure to identify resources or values like staging, development, or production,’ Brial says. ‘Good tags drive good decision-making but, in a rapidly growing cloud environment, you need to be keeping track of what is happening across a lot of different areas like cost, usage, availability, performance and security in what is a constantly transforming cloud infrastructure.’ Additionally, Omar Abi Issa, cloud specialist at OVHcloud, believes that that cloud provisioning does include a large number of administrative tasks, so like going to the gym, habit (and perhaps the repetitive logic that comes from muscle memory) is key – so in this case, that means automation.”

Bang for your (cloud) buck. “‘Public cloud is usually more automated than using dedicated servers and a lot of the provisioning is taken care of by the Cloud Services Provider (CSP),” said Issa. ‘Whereas with dedicated servers, end users are responsible for everything themselves – but dedicated servers will give you more processing power for your buck.’ Issa further notes that from a user perspective, choice of automation tools can also make a difference. For example, with public cloud service providers, organizations tend to use Terraform to automate infrastructure and network deployment or switch to services like Ansible or Puppet for OS and other software deployment.”

Instant access factors. “Dave Chapman, chief cloud evangelist at Capgemini has been through more cloud provisioning consultations than he cares to remember (but in a good way, with good customers). He says that cloud provisioning is a huge step onwards from pre-cloud infrastructure provisioning in the era before we had the always-on pipe of the web-connected cloud to draw from.”

Distributed cloud, distributed provisioning. “According to Jay Jenkins, chief technology officer (CTO) for cloud computing at Akamai, much of the hard work that’s been done to migrate to DevOps practices (Developers & Operations teams) can be reused in the realm of cloud provisioning. His reference relates to methodologies and practices including Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) and Continuous Integration & Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) today, which are argued to be essential for repeatable deployments – and, in the distributed environments that typify enterprise cloud, it simply means that you have more targets.”

Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM). “Saumitra Das, vice president of engineering at Qualys, states that the technology industry has become better at security around cloud provisioning from the time that Amazon S3 buckets (a public cloud storage resource on AWS) being public was so common. ‘There are several more ways to deploy this now, with more and more automation possible to make this a scalable process. Tools like the Center for Internet Security (CIS) benchmarks help maintain industry standards and they can be applied at different points in the software development lifecycle. It can be done all the way shifting left by applying build time controls to Infrastructure as Code (IaC), to on the right after deployment using Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) tools. However, there are still too many organizations that still have deployments done from the cloud console that are hard to maintain and verify,’ said Das.”

In other words, Bridgewater sums up, cloud provisioning has been a chore at times in the past, but in our increasingly automated infrastructure future, cloud provisioning will have been provisioned and provided for.


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