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Author: Ramesh Thimmaiah | 11/02/17

How to manage Change Management process in Cloud

Change Management (CM) is one of the ITIL processes responsible for controlling the life cycle of IT Infrastructure. The main objective of this process is to enable changes to be made while ensuring minimum disruption in IT services. Traditionally, support teams have followed the ITIL change management process to manage changes while delivering IT services. However, with the advent of Cloud services, this has changed. This is mainly due to the way in which services are delivered in Cloud, if we were to consider automation, auto provisioning and decommissioning of services.

This brings us to the question, how do we manage change management process on Cloud. Should we use the traditional ITIL Change management process or do we have to do something different?”

Customers are moving to Cloud for its ability to scale quickly based on business demand and to reduce issues like IT overcapacity. However, the traditional Change Management process in Cloud has the following challenges:

  • Need to validate change request and approval process which greatly reduces the ability of enterprises to scale Cloud computing services quickly based on business demand
  • Identifying the right balance (from a cost and time perspective) for standard approvals to execute Cloud-based changes
  • Cloud based subscription. For example, Software as a Service (SaaS)) and how it impacts business in terms of additional operational expenses

All these challenges can be addressed using either Processes or Tools for change management in Cloud.

Processes for Change Management in Cloud

  • Cloud based tools that can undertake configuration changes and track management approval process, can be adapted to approve or decline additional configuration or subscription changes
  • By following pre-approved change tasks for Cloud computing scenarios (eg. Auto scaling, DNS update), you can reduce the delay in approval processes while retaining flexibility in the change process
  • Standard change requests (pre-approved) which are within pre-defined rules, parameters and cost limits, can be automated. This helps customers benefit from the scalability and elasticity of service offered by Cloud in a controlled and pre-defined manner
  • A tracking system which can track and record all changes made in Cloud including ability to generate reports for tracking and reviewing trends for further action

Tools for Change Management in Cloud

Just as it is important to define the right processes for Change management in Cloud, it is equally important to use the right Tools for managing IT infrastructure and applications on Cloud.

Public Cloud providers have various tools that they use for Configuration and Change Management on Cloud. These tools help them capture information like cloud resources currently being used, what has changed, how the relationships between cloud resources have changed and so on.

In short, you can use Cloud tools for undertaking the following activities:

  • Manage server Operating System Images (ISO or AMI)
  • Dynamic addition of servers to auto scale groups resulting in better application management
  • Manage changes to security groups’ configuration or OS firewalls which are part of OS hardening baselines and monitoring their instances for intrusions or unauthorized changes
  • Automatic configuration of instances

Given below are some popular tools for AWS, Azure and Google cloud which can be used for change management in Cloud:

Category

Service

AWS

Azure

Google Cloud

Management Tools

Resource/

Configuration Inventory

AWS Config

Portal (audit logs)

Cloud Security Scanner

To cite an example, AWS Public Cloud has a tool called AWS Config which can be used for Configuration and Change Management in Cloud.

AWS Config also enables the following:

  • Tracking changes to AWS resources/services and their impact on associated resources
  • Setting up AWS Compliance rules like enabling MFA for all IAM Users, IAM Password Policies and Resources with non-tags and Unused EBS Volumes, Changes in security rules for Security Group (SG) and so on.

The Cloud Config tools also integrate with Mindtree’s Mwatch or ServiceNow CMDB tools to enable effective Change Management process in Cloud.

For example, AWS config tool can be integrated with MindTree's MWatch or ServiceNow CMDB to manage and track AWS resources at the application and service level. It can also be used to monitor AWS service health and improve its availability by integrating with Amazon Cloud Watch.

Conclusion

All changes made in a hybrid Cloud environment have an impact on business, hence, controlling changes in Cloud Infrastructure is critical for business success.

Implementing Change Management in Cloud using processes and tools can greatly reduce service interruptions especially those related to Configuration Management.

To schedule a meeting with our Experts or for more information, please write to us at info@mindtree.com

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