Add an Azure governance offering to the services you provide

By Sowmyan Soman Chullikkatil, Cloud Solution Architect, Application Development and Harsha Bennur, Practice Development Professional, Data Platform and Analytics

A couple of years ago, IT organizations were busy building and implementing the concept of private cloud. The goal was for IT to provide service-level agreements, self-service automation, and management capabilities. Then the concept of public cloud happened, and then came the concept of hybrid cloud. The economics and profitability of the cloud have been established along the way, as more businesses began transforming to the cloud and experiencing the benefits. But the rapid pace of cloud adoption can have pain points for a company if there isn't a plan for governance in place. In this post, we'll discuss the importance of governance in Azure, and how partners can create a service offering for it.

To create a plan for cloud governance, a company needs to take an in-depth look at the people, processes, and technologies currently in place, and then build frameworks that make it easy for IT to consistently support business needs while providing end users with the flexibility to use the powerful features of Microsoft Azure.

The partner opportunity: Create an Azure governance offering

Many partners have cloud assessment engagements, where they plan the migration path and workloads to the cloud. In these engagements, they look at a customer's environment and provide an analysis of return on investment (ROI) and total cost of ownership (TCO) to convince the customer that the cloud makes sense for their business. This has proven to be a successful engagement model.

Some customers, though, have hit a point where trying to understand all the ways that Azure is being used in their business has become difficult. To address this need, we recommend that partners create a governance offering. This offering can be used in cloud implementations engagements as the first step, or it can be used to go back and add structure and control around a customer's cloud consumption. In our experience, sometimes the barrier to moving to the cloud is the customer feeling a lack of control over what services, and how much of those services, different departments and individuals consume. Often, a customer has begun the journey to the cloud, only to come to a screeching halt over lack of control. Partners can enable customers to continue their journeys, and reap the benefits of the cloud, with an offering that builds efficiencies in their operations.

Now, let's talk about what goes into a typical operations jumpstart engagement, and define a service delivery model for managing Azure, with roles and responsibilities, monitoring, and processes.

Defining the service delivery model for managing Azure

Many IT organizations have historically operated in silos. This limits their ability to deliver cloud services to meet the capability, capacity, performance, availability, and financial perspective that the cloud allows. Companies need to look into how to shift to a cloud computing operations model from a traditional management model to a cloud optimized model. Cloud computing means that IT will need to be trained with new skills and there should be consolidation of existing skills so that IT now becomes more of a service provider model. This process of acquiring new skills, roles, and technologies requires an organizational change in how IT manages and delivers services.

Through a governance offering, you can work with organizations in these ways:

Service delivery

  • Define consumer requirements for cloud based services

Service lifecycle management

  • Look at recommended practices for managing cloud services

Process readiness

  • Provide guidance on the processes needed to manage IT's service consumers

Fabric management

  • The fabric is vital to cloud services, the partner will help ensure infrastructure components are managed, monitored, and maintained

Service operations

  • Define the roles and responsibilities to manage the cloud service with prescriptive guidance on operational tasks that enable specific capabilities within your IT strategy, such as DevOps, disaster recovery, database as a service, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and private cloud

Cloud Adoption Framework Workshop

The Cloud Adoption Framework Workshop is ideal for presales engagements where customer cloud opportunities need to be uncovered and adoption accelerated. Through a co-creation style workshop, we jointly develop the customer’s cloud adoption goals, desired outcomes and create an adoption plan. This ideation exercise, accomplished in a co-creation fashion, provides the customer with ownership of the output is available for partners on the Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise partner resources site.

Design considerations and guidelines

When building out the application infrastructure in Azure, it's important to understand the design considerations and guidelines. Here are links to that documentation set:

Subscription limits, billing, and usage

Customers need to be able to accurately predict and manage their Azure costs. As they move from a capital expenditures (Capex) to an operational expenditures (Opex) model, they need the ability to do showback vs. chargeback analysis and provide mode fidelity in estimation and billing, especially for large cloud deployments.

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