Cloud native is changing the ways enterprises work. On-premise workloads are not only lifted into the cloud but migrated to leverage the technology of hyperscalers or replaced by SaaS solutions completely. Simultaneously, the number of cloud native-born organizations continue to grow—but even these companies need to understand how to establish a smart IT governance. In both worlds, cloud architects and enterprise architects become more important on a daily basis.
Having worked with many of both over the last years, here are my top reasons why a tool like LeanIX Cloud Intelligence could be a game changer.
As a cloud architect, there’s a lot on your plate. You require deep knowledge on cloud offerings (which often go beyond one hyperscaler). You create environments for decentralized teams to work efficiently and focus as much on business value as they do on technology.
You leverage dynamic pricing to match scaling business demands but still manage to control budgets and ROI. And since you understand that cloud services don’t free you from obligations, you keep cloud usage secure and compliant.
Most likely you’ve already come to a decision about your cloud landing zone. Perhaps you chose multiple AWS accounts, Azure subscriptions or GCP projects in order to segregate usage based on teams, criticality, billing, or other factors. As well, you’re no doubt fully aware of the direct tooling available from hyperscalers like Azure Advisor (for security and availability concerns) or AWS Cost Explorer (for cost monitoring). Maybe you’ve even implemented a tagging strategy, either custom-defined for your company or based on Infrastructure as Code standards like AWS CloudFormation to relate cloud services to teams, applications, and environments.
All of which is to say: what’s the value of yet another tool such as the LeanIX Cloud Intelligence solution for your cloud native environment?
Five reasons cloud architects need LeanIX Cloud Intelligence
1. To make your cloud footprint available to everyone.
Consider how often you’re asked about the amount of cloud services in use. Whether during an audit or an inquiry from an executive or developer, can you point stakeholders to a highly-usable, up-to-date location where information can be accessed and understood at a level that makes sense also for non-cloud professionals? Can you instantly determine who is responsible for any given cloud service? Think about the benefits of having a common knowledge base where those responsible from business, technology, legal or security teams can resolve issues such as an unused VM. What if you could notify them directly through one tool—for answers or to trigger an update—and then open a ticket directly at the right place in your ticket management system?
2. To help decentralized teams expand knowledge in a shared environment.
Hyperscalers release dozens of new services a year. But while everyone should be able to use the right tools for their job, how can developers use theirs to the best of their ability by leveraging knowledge from other teams (e.g., knowing who else is using Lambda functions, identifying runtimes in use, confirming if the AWS-deprecated Node.js v8 is still being used, etc.)? What if these developers could subscribe to automatic notifications about certain technologies and pool intelligence whenever something like an AI service is released? Without a shared platform, how can you encourage freedom while simultaneously enforcing a technology whitelist/blacklist and be aligned to the commercial, technical or legal requirements of your organization’s cloud strategy?
3. To provide a joint view on your company’s technical, security, or financial violations.
You’re probably already using something like AWS Trusted Advisor or an external, dedicated tool for operative cloud security. You also likely have cloud security engineers with their own ways to monitor open ports and mitigate issues such as missing backups or incomplete firewall configuration. Chances are you even have experts for availability/performance and for billing. But what if your job is to guide these individuals to central policies? Or, alternately, how can you communicate when it is okay to violate certain security policies in development environments? What happens when you need to negotiate potential discounts with AWS on billing for the entire company rather than just one team? Just think about how difficult it is to inform business owners on technical debt so they can decide, say, whether it’s more important to update a specific Lambda function’s runtime or to build a new feature.
4. To understand cloud spend holistically.
You offer your team the freedom to exploit their budget, and you’re supportive if they break budgets for concrete business value. You’ve set up cost alerts in your cloud environment and trust hyperscalers to let you know when budgets are exceeded. Perhaps your finance department has its own billing tool to separate blended, unblended and amortized costs and other details. But do you have one central place to monitor your evolving cloud spend to confirm, for example, if too much is spent on one hyperscaler during a multi-cloud strategy? Can you segregate costs according to team, region, staging/production environment, or according to IaaS or PaaS components? And can you say where to cut costs, and where to invest, come the next budgeting round?
5. To join forces with enterprise architects.
Yes, while you might not be best friends, you at least recognize the value of enterprise architecture departments and their ability to drive application portfolio management and watch over technical risk, data privacy and application ownership for business. But when enterprise architects ask questions like whether AWS is being used in HR or how to prepare eCommerce applications for the Christmas season, how can you supply them with automated, aggregated information for their systems? What if business architects with an affinity for technology could navigate their way through technical details without extra credentials or training? And, similarly, what if developers could quickly understand the business context of VMs and drive educated discussions with business owners to help lead architectural decisions?
You have a well-established enterprise architecture practice. You are aligned with important stakeholders on business, legal and security. Your CIO understands and supports your initiatives, and you have set up governance structures and a central knowledge base in your EA tool with more than 100 monthly users from across numerous departments. You’re supporting your company’s digital transformation initiatives and looking to develop roadmaps and foster decisions based on solid data.
Why should you care about LeanIX Cloud Intelligence?
Five reasons enterprise architects need LeanIX Cloud Intelligence
1. To prepare for cloud native.
Cloud native is not only about IT infrastructure. Maybe your company already has cloud competence centers, and maybe you’re starting to see new job titles like Cloud Architect or Cloud Security Engineer. These professionals talk about increasing business agility, managing technical risks and keeping costs under control—all topics you once thought were yours. So, upon visiting the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, you’re stunned about the number of companies adapting their approaches to technology and business. Not just those like Facebook and Netflix but ones like yours, too. And you quickly realize you should join forces instead of getting into a competition you’re likely to lose.
2. Because IT security matters.
A recent LeanIX study listed “security concerns” as the second-most important issue preventing digital transformation. However, despite your company having mature cloud security engineers who’ve helped get operations under control, it’s clear that these professionals need help aligning decisions based on business criticality. So how do you educate business owners about IT security and help them to manage risk and measure the value of new features? What would happen if all operative security information is aggregated to a central EA tool, condensed to the utmost relevant details and stored in navigable locations to help business owners find details and identify those responsible from security? This could free so much valuable time that you could spend on digital transformation instead.
3. To understand cloud spend.
You’re well aware that infrastructure costing is a difficult topic. You work with your finance department and tools like Apptio to figure out how to distribute the costs of Oracle contracts to your business application. Though you understand dynamic and scalable billing, you can’t help but get lost in financial details when it comes to blended and amortized costs. And even though you support rationalization and investment decisions based on solid financial data, you don’t want to get involved in operative finance. All of which is to ask: what if this information could be condensed and imported into your EA tool to show not only the current value, but also the development over time?
4. To track cloud native technology obsolescence.
You have a lot in place: an integration to a CMDB; a catalog like Technopedia; a shared understanding on why technology obsolescence matters (for security, efficiency, commercial and many other reasons). But have you looked into cloud environments? You trust your team to know if AWS has deprecated its entire Lambda service, but do you know which .NET version or node.js versions are still supported as runtime environments, or which database versions are underlying your different SQL or noSQL services? After speaking to experts, you realize that the lifecycles for these technologies differ from those from the community or vendor, and that you need information in the future from the cloud environment as well.
5. To foster a vivid business-IT exchange.
Your company’s IT takes cloud native seriously. In fact, among many other things, they regularly discuss the benefits of small teams, microservices, and DevOps. Thankfully, you did a great job by creating a technical standardization discipline that encourages freedom while also ensuring compliance, but now you have more and more people asking for a joint information base centered upon tools like Confluence and Slack. Of note, your HR department is telling you how much tooling matters (talent, of course, wants to work in integrated environments with superb user interfaces). It’s your job to foster a silo-less culture by giving business owners access to technological details, and you seek to help teams exchange technology best practices while acting independently.
The world of cloud native is evolving. LeanIX Cloud Intelligence was built using feedback and interactions from our customers to ensure that its functionality matched the actual needs of competitive businesses. We are committed to continuously improving our product, so please, let us know what resonates well with you—or perhaps what doesn't!