Cloud Management: Self-Service Provisioning
This is the second article in a series about Cloud Management Platforms.
Self Service Provisioning is at the heart of cloud computing. It is the capability of a cloud user to select a service from a service catalog for provisioning with minimal intervention from the cloud operator.
Once selected the various CMP components work together to instantiate the service and make it available to the user.
A service is a composite of multiple objects. At the core of it may be one or several virtual machines (one for the Web Server tier, one for the data base tier etc), it may include rules for the network configuration, including IP addresses, DNS entry creation, firewall and load balancer setup. Other scripts to provision data or setup initial users may have to be run as well. This composite is subject to devops functions and there may be multiple versions of a service, that may exist in development, testing and production. Typically the service is subject to configuration management.
Often the self service provisioning includes the ability to customise the service. Customisation is expressed in forms of options which can be capacity selection (disk space, number of nodes), architectural options (load balancers, firewall configuration), data initialisation.
The provisioning request is often subject to rules. These may cover authorisation or limits to customisation. Some type of requests might require approvals. The self service provisioning needs to be able to route and manage theseapproval flows.
Its key functional elements are:
- Request Management System
- tracks requests, its status and ties into the process orchestration for fulfillment of the request
- Ability to receive and mange requests to changes in a provisioned service
- Provisioning Request Customisation
- when the user requests a catalog object from the service catalog, they may add specific changes such as size of hard disk, or VPN access etc.
- Pre-approved Provisioning
- Specific services in the catalog may be marked as pre-approved, either as a blanket approval or dependent on the rights assigned to the user requesting the service
- Automated Request Fulfillment
- The ability to route the request from lodgement to approval to implementation. This function ties into the orchestration component of the CMP
- Provisioning status and change request status
- The ability to track provisioning/change requests
- Life cycle management for provisioned objects
- As services evolve, provisioned objects may need to be tracked for updates. modificaitons and decomissioning
- Performance monitoring for provisioned objects
- The ability to assign monitoring of services
- Usage limit enforcement
- Based on perfomance management, policies may be defined to respond to events where predefined usage limits are being exceeded.
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