By the simplest definition, cloud provisioning is allocating your services and applications into a cloud of any type.
In broader terms, “cloud provisioning” relates to two different actions. You can quite literally provision your cloud, creating a landing zone for your user networks — as you also provide access to and allocations for all the elements within the cloud.
For the purposes of this discussion, I’m talking about that simpler definition: the allocation – or provisioning – of service provider services and applications into the cloud. When it comes to services, provisioning can for example refer to infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platforms as a service (PaaS), software as a service (SaaS), and containers as a service (CaaS) in both public and private cloud environments.
Know the three cloud provisioning delivery models
Here’s a breakdown of the three delivery models for cloud provisioning:
Advanced cloud provisioning
The cloud service provider’s users or customers agree to a formal contract of services. The provider prepares and delivers the agreed-upon applications or services.
Dynamic cloud provisioning
Cloud resources are deployed flexibly to match fluctuating demands. Deployments can scale up to accommodate usage spikes and scale down when demands decrease.
Self-service provisioning is another way of describing on-demand, elastic access to IT resources and is a defining facet of cloud computing and DevOps. It uses automation and orchestration to eliminate the manual handoffs that typically slow down digital transformation projects.
The benefits of cloud provisioning
These can be summed up in three favorite benefits terms: scalability, speed, and cost savings.
When it comes to scalability, your organizations can scale up and scale down cloud resources based to meet changing usage requirements. As to speed, cloud provisioning enables resources to be quickly spun up and made available for use – often within hours or even minutes. Cost savings can be realized from the very fact that provisioning the cloud does not require the large upfront investments deeply required to build and maintain traditional on-premises technology.
Challenges emerge on several fronts
Complex management and monitoring
You may need to rely on multiple provisioning tools to customize how you use cloud resources. If you deploy workloads on more than one cloud platform, it can be even more challenging to have a central console to view everything. (Morpheus can solve this challenge.)
Resource and service dependencies
Applications and workloads in the cloud often tap into basic cloud infrastructure resources, such as compute, networking, and storage. However, some higher-level services like serverless functions, machine learning, and big data capabilities can carry unexpected dependencies that can generate unexpected overuse and associated costs.
The self-service provisioning model helps streamline how users request and manage cloud resources. It’s important to provide clear guidelines around provisioning resources they shouldn’t.
Beyond provisioning policies, automated monitoring and alerts about usage and pricing thresholds are critical. (Again, Morpheus can help here.)
Automation is a key corollary to provisioning software and tools
Organizations can always manually provision the resources and services they need, However public cloud providers offer tools to provision multiple resources and services. With your chosen cloud provisioning provider and software, you can tackle – and automate – security and compliance, code deployment, data backups and storage, even changes to settings and configurations.
Automating provisioning and configuration of related tools help your teams better manage all aspects of your cloud environment. Automation also helps you simplify issue resolution around things like patching, checks, and updates. Working with a multi-cloud deployment? Automation helps with the cross-platform management and provisioning too.
Managing skillset needs with consistency
If you don’t have the skills to operate cloud provisioning software, or cloud orchestration software, or cloud automation software for that matter, you can find yourself in a tough spot.
As I’ve mentioned in my previous blog on cloud integration, industry studies confirm that many organizations are facing a skills gap that limits their ability to maximize the full potential of a range of cloud services, including cloud infrastructure, platform, and provisioning services.
The more consistent or “normalized” your approach to all aspects of cloud management including cloud provisioning, the fewer different skills are required, which is a proven way to manage the current skills gap. (Yes, Morpheus helps here too.)
To expand on the importance of consistency, consider this provisioning scenario typical to many organizations, particularly those with bigger cloud environments: Your VMware team is happy staying in their own silos provisioning things. The same can be said for your Azure and other teams. But if you’re trying to drive down costs, improve efficiency, and move more quickly (and who isn’t?), having a consistent, modern approach to cloud provisioning is of value. Of course, teams may be resistant to change, clinging to what they know in their respective silos. Taking the time to evangelize the benefits of consistency is well worth the effort! Or like I sometimes say, the cool kids take a consistent approach to cloud provisioning!
Cataloging that helps keep provisioning consistent
The Morpheus instance catalog, for example, provides on-demand delivery of OSs, databases, web servers, and more including options for bare metal, VM, containers, cloud-native items, or PaaS services. Layouts can range from a single machine to complex clusters complete with auto-scale rules and primary/secondary node dependencies.
How Morpheus can help
Morpheus is all about creating a consistent framework that enables you to view different clouds (private, public, hybrid and multi-cloud) through a single pane of glass. We offer codeless hybrid cloud integration and automation that’s built in and ready to go. So you can deploy in minutes – and move that much more quickly to reap the benefits and tackle the challenges of cloud provisioning.
Self-service provisioning in particular is at the heart of Morpheus. It’s what we’re all about. We make it easy to customize your self-service provisioning catalog. One instance can have multiple layouts, so a single service could have options for private or public cloud. What’s more, you can run workflows for configuration management, embed security policies, and more as part of fully automated self-service provisioning.
In short, we can help you with self-service provisioning of any app into any cloud. And we can speed application deployment by 150x or more.
To learn how, request a Morpheus demo today.