How Inventory Management Helps Optimize Your IaaS Environment

Posted by
Josh Bouk

31 January 2019

Blog

Inventory management is a term well-entrenched in the vocabulary of IT professionals.

As a service that offers organizations the opportunity to accurately track, manage, and report on all IT assets, its benefits are multifaceted.

However, these perks are most keenly felt when managing hardware – notably fixed and mobile devices or network infrastructure – and are rarely even considered, much less discussed, when referencing cloud computing.

Inventory Management in the Cloud

This omission is an unfortunate result of a convoluted, saturated, fast-paced cloud computing market – one filled with noise concerning new technology announcements and adventurous start-ups.

But it’s not, as is readily perceived, because inventory management does not extend to the upper echelons of the public cloud. In fact, the inverse is true.

Via sophisticated inventory management practices, enterprise-level public cloud environments can be readily optimized – generating enhanced visibility, reduced costs, and improved ongoing management.

Considering migrating to the Cloud? Download our comprehensive guide to public  cloud computing today.

Boosting Visibility in the Cloud

At the enterprise-level, cloud environments are incredibly vast, intricate, and complex – particularly when multi-cloud configurations are in place.

Yet, if you were to assume native cloud management tools would proffer a clear window into public cloud configurations – you would be sorely mistaken.

AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud all emphatically fail to deliver adequate insight into the entanglement of IaaS services and products, leading to numerous complications – not least over-payments and a definitive lack of understanding.

Thankfully, inventory management is on-hand to pick up the slack.

After the performance of a thorough cloud inventory audit – a core tenant of cloud inventory management – enterprise organizations gain a detailed snap-snot of their cloud configurations.

This provides much-needed information such as product and service location, usage parameters, cost-center responsibilities, service and product dependencies (if applicable), and total cost of the service per month.

Using this data, organizations are provided with a crystal-clear image of what their cloud looks like, delivering an easy means for optimization practices.

And this is where a reduction in cloud spend can be achieved.

Reducing Cloud-Related Spend

Using the data provided by the cloud inventory audit, organizations can highlight unused or unneeded services to be eliminated, as well as uncover low-usage workloads suitable for migration to better-suited, and thereby cheaper, instances.

However, while this activity can deliver immediate savings – which can either be transferred back to the cost-center responsible or retained by the IT department – trawling through myriad services to find the correct one is no small task.

But, by giving cloud management services providers the necessary access to their systems, IT managers can avoid this resource-draining duty, while still reaping the benefits.

Some may argue that deleting a few unused services is but a drop in the ocean in comparison to the entire cloud environment, but studies have shown that initial savings of up to 35% can be achieved by employing such tactics.

And with Gartner predicting that the worldwide cloud computing market will grow to be worth $411B by 2020, this percentage is likely to grow yet further over the forthcoming years.

However, initial cost-savings is only a preliminary step. To keep costs down, the cloud environment must remain optimized on an ongoing basis.

Enter inventory change management.

Tracking Cloud-Based Change Management

Once an accurate and working inventory is achieved, it must be maintained.

In addition to its scale, an enterprise public cloud environment is ever-changing – instances and services can be spun-up and down in seconds and the configuration can change significantly from one day to the next.

Gaining a snap-shot of the cloud environment is useful to make quick-fire optimization improvements and savings, but for continuous value to be achieved and ongoing savings to be realized, permanent inventory management practices must be implemented.

This is known as change management and is, arguably, the most important element of an inventory management service.

Organizations require an automated service that, when activated, kicks off an action to update inventory with every provisioning activity – often referred to as move, add, changes or disconnections (MACD) – that takes place.

When inventory is managed daily and systematically based on everyday MACD activity, it's always accurate – and visibility is always at a constant – thus ensuring that unused or wrongly provisioned workloads become a thing of the past.

Cloud Management Services

Cloud inventory management offers enterprise organizations the opportunity to enhance visibility, control costs, and track changes to better optimize their cloud environment.

But cloud inventory management is only a single component of cloud financial management, which is in turn, but one element of cloud management services (CMS).

To discover more about the value of CMS and gain a deeper understanding of public cloud computing and how to choose the right option when purchasing IaaS products and services – download our enterprise buyer’s guide.

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Topics: Cloud Management Services

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