7 Habits of Highly Effective Cloud Architects – Part Three

Lat week we posted part two of our series: 7 Habits of Highly Effective Cloud Architects. This week we will cover habits 6 and 7.

Habit #6: Let your users share IT environments; be sure to manage user roles

A big part of being agile in software development is the ability for developers, test engineers and support staff to collaborate with one another on common issues.  Traditional data center resources may provide machine level screen sharing; however, sharing an entire IT environment that includes servers, databases and networks is not easy with physical resources.  Using a cloud based architecture, you can easily enable users to share IT environments as simple as sharing a URL.   In addition, your users may also want to organize their work by project and limit the access to members of a specific project. For instance, an administrator may have the right to view a complete audit trail of activity in a virtual data center, whereas an offshore tester may only have access to a sandbox test environment to complete specific test cases.  Most cloud providers don’t offer easy sharing of IT environments.  What’s more, creating granular role-based access control permission to IT environments often a programming task.

Deploying a cloud solution that enables easy user-to-user collaboration will ensure your early users are successful and rave about your deployment. By choosing cloud solutions that provide a self-service interface to set granular user access control (UAC) permissions, IT architects can save considerable amount of time.

Skytap Solution: Skytap enables users and IT architects to create and publish URLs for IT environments that can be easily shared with vendors or consultants so that work can be completed over the web. Skytap also offers a rich UAC model and ability to set fine-grain permissions depending on the role of the user. For instance, roles such as ‘managers’, ‘editors’ and ‘members’ can be implemented to enable different levels of access to a virtual data center.


Habit #7: Retain visibility & control through usage & charge back policies

CIOs expect IT architects to create and enforce security and compliance policies. CIOs also need usage visibility to keep costs under control. In some companies CIOs also require IT architects to implement charge back policies due to a shared service model. One good way to meet these requirements would be to create IT approved policy compliant templates made available to users based on their project needs. In addition, by creating project and user specific usage reports, IT architects can provide detailed usage visibility across users and implement charge back policies.

Most IaaS providers, unfortunately, provide only simple credit card based provisioning on a per user basis. The do not offer advanced security and compliance policy management tools. They also don’t provide any cost control capabilities or the ability to isolate usage to internal groups for charge back. They require IT policies be implemented in a separate solution rather than providing it “out of the box”.

Cloud solutions that provide policy management as an integral part of the solution saves IT architects a lot of time and money.  They also enable IT architects to manage usage costs pro-actively and avoid nasty sticker shock at the end of the month when the bill arrives.


Skytap approach: Skytap offers core cost control capabilities integrated in the product. For example, Skytap enables virtual data centers to be auto-suspended when not in use to save costs. In addition, quotas can be applied to individuals and organizations to cap usage unless authorization is obtained to burst capacity. Skytap also enables global enforcement of IT policies, such as templates that contain licensed operating systems, applications and databases. It also provides workflows of subnet ranges for virtual data centers and disapprovals of public IP addresses to virtual machines.  Finally, Skytap provides a detailed reporting and auditing capability for administrators to maintain full visibility and control.


As an IT architect, you are called upon to make a lot of decisions, guide your organization towards successful cloud deployments and understand how to weed through all the hype.  Successful IT architects identify workloads that are a good fit for the cloud model and deliver early success.   They also understand that you don’t have to re-architect apps to move them to the cloud. They recognize the importance of easy to learn, self-service solutions that make it possible to achieve faster adoption and recruit internal evangelists from successful projects.  Finally, successful IT architects are keenly aware of the need to drive user productivity by enabling them to “multi-task” in the cloud while providing full visibility and control over cloud deployments to manage usage costs prudently.  These successful habits are applicable to all IT architects that want to drive faster innovation in their company and be the pioneer that transforms their business using the cloud model.


– Nate Odell, Director of Marketing – Skytap

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