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"End of life management ensures that services don't continue to run after their useful life, which could increase operating costs, clog up capital assets and expose the organisation to vulnerabilities," says Alastair Walker of BMC Software.

Many companies go into cloud with the idea that they will grow as they mature, but they may fail to choose a solution that can grow with them. Instead, they focus on technology that delivers faster provisioning to their detriment, says Shawn Jaques, Director, Cloud and DevOps Solution Marketing and Alastair Walker, Director, Cloud and Automation for EMEA at BMC Software.

"This can cost them in the long term as they move beyond basic virtual machine or AMI provisioning into broader, full application stack services," Jaques says.  "In addition, without considering the process implications of a growing cloud environment, many companies can grow themselves into a management nightmare.  Typically, they will require add-on management tools or custom development to augment their cloud, to tie into their change and configuration management processes to ensure better visibility and control."

"Often the lines of business or application teams push for faster access to resources so that they can develop and release new applications.  This puts pressure on the IT operations teams to make services more accessible while maintaining control of IT resources to manage cost and risk," Walker says.

"Selecting a solution that can grow and handle these diverse requirements from the outset can help reduce future pains and ensure cloud success," says Jaques. Cloud lifecycle management (CLM) supports strategic cloud management, from planning through to deployment and end of life, he says.

According to BMC, effective planning or design of the cloud service includes determining where the components of the cloud service will run (such as public or private cloud), the process for approvals including service desk integrations, the components that will be standardised verses custom, and the parameters that users can control – for instance, CPU or disk size. 

"Deployment management includes simple services such as a simple OS in a virtual instance through complex cloud services, including full applications.  Users should have self-service access to request services across different cloud options such as Amazon's AWS, MS Azure, private cloud or more.  Users should also have the ability to adjust parameters to modify the configuration for different sizes or performance characteristics.  And finally, they should be able to set up the service to be monitored for performance and compliance," says Walker.

Management ensures that the services are performing well, are scaling to meet capacity needs, and that they are compliant and cost effective.  Capabilities should include integrated performance monitoring; policy-based auto scaling; automated compliance detection, reporting and remediation; and usage reporting or chargeback, says Jaques.

"End of life management ensures that services don't continue to run after their useful life, which could increase operating costs, clog up capital assets and expose the organisation to vulnerabilities," says Walker.

To minimise idle or underutilised resources, the organisation must be able to analyse capacity requirements to make better planning decisions, decommission unused resources to free capacity and software licenses and consolidate underutilised resources to free capacity and reduce footprints. 

"BMC's Cloud Lifecycle Management solution helps with all of these phases of the lifecycle," Jaques says.  

* Download a BMC whitepaper on building and testing applications faster with Cloud Lifecycle Management.