Practical Best Practices for Your Cloud Infrastructure

These days, more and more people are turning to the cloud and implementing what’s known as infrastructure as code. There is a lot of room for agility, scalability, and flexibility with having virtual IT infrastructure. Gone are the days where you are restricted to whatever upfront expenses you can swallow to buy the latest hardware.

With cloud providers like AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft always working towards improving their services globally, it makes total sense to jump towards the cloud bandwagon. But it only provides you long-lasting benefit if you know exactly what you are getting into.

Thriving with your cloud infrastructure is an entirely different matter. You may have ease in setting things up for the first time after migrating from physical to virtual server setups. It can also be, depending on your business operation requirements, that you are entering into a hybrid cloud and physical infrastructure mix. Whatever your choice, there are some general best practices in maintaining and automating your cloud infrastructure and keep yourself in your A-game as you do so.

Be vigorous with the automated backups and version control of your infrastructure code.

One of the best ways to secure your system is to have a readiness to roll back in case things go awry with your infrastructure. Services like CodeCommit, CloudFormation change histories, snapshots of Elastic Block Storage (EBS), and version control for S3 objects are just some of the many ways where you can proactively protect your virtual resources. Schedule automated backups especially for the most critical parts of your system. Databases may have read replicas that update on its own and may conserve the state of the database before it started having performance issues.

Have a thorough knowledge of your “weaponry” or outsource it to the pros.

Having experts on board is the best way to maximize your cloud infrastructure. It’s incredibly tempting to DIY and dig deep into the documentation of the cloud-based services but it takes a significant amount of time to do so. Doing so removes the focus on other aspects of your key business drivers and strengths for your business.

A black belter in taekwondo, for example, knows which moves to use for faster results compared to an enthusiast watching karate movies on cable. The actual number of years that a person or agency has in managing cloud-based deployments can help save time even if at first it entails that you pay a premium for their knowledge.

This is where competent managed services like Cascadeo Corporation come into play. They’re the black belters who look at your infrastructure and where to apply the necessary corrections that will save you costs in the long term. Experimenting on virtual resources as a newbie or middle-level user can take some learning curve expenses that could have otherwise been avoided.

Provision of ample resources for logs and root cause analysis for incidents.

Services like Cloudtrail and CloudWatch are provided and it’s highly beneficial for your business to keep using them and store those logs. The actual raw logs tell the story of the entire infrastructure’s health, where things started to fail in the case of minor or major incidents, or which resources need some modification (ex. an upgrade, increase of instances to handle a sudden spike in traffic, etc.)

The more detailed and the more historical data you have on your infrastructure, the better it is for you in the long run. Cost optimization, however, needs to be considered as well. You may do well to have a life cycle for deleting logs that are no longer necessary for your team to have access to or put them in an archive.

Take advantage of new tools like serverless, but use only what you need, when you need it.

Serverless tools like AWS Lambda offer the benefit of speed, scale, lower latency per location, and friendlier costs (you only pay for the time the Lambda functions are used or firing up). There are some people who are comfortable with containerization and there are others who are ready to jump full steam ahead in serverless configurations.

But the best way to use serverless tools like Lambda involves efficiencies. You can have a trigger for Lambda to switch on and off some resources to help save costs. A good example is using AWS Lambda to stop or start EC2 instances at regular intervals (you can check the tutorial here).

Try not to reinvent the wheel, as much as possible.

The whole concept of migrating to the cloud involves being as efficient as possible. This also involves using what’s already out there to you and your business’ ultimate advantage.

If cloud services already provide off the shelf solutions for certain things, you don’t have to build from scratch. A good example of this is the optical character recognition tool called Amazon Textract. It will automatically digest scanned documents and detect text or tabular data from the files. Instead of building a machine learning algorithm from scratch that will take some time to train and test, you can harness Amazon’s pre-trained machine learning algorithm powered by millions of scanned documents from its data centers and just pay for what you need to process on a per file basis.

One of the best things with having a cloud-based infrastructure is the ability to make as many changes necessary without having to incur the costs of traditional infrastructure. These benefits will continue to make waves and sustain the interest of technical practitioners globally. Your ability to ride the dynamic nature of these services for your virtual infrastructure will help determine your success in keeping your systems in good condition.