Automated Cloud Management and Governance from CloudHealth by VMware
CloudHealth by VMware is a Software-as-a-Service cloud management platform that can help organizations improve cloud security, optimize costs, and eliminate performance inefficiencies. The platform is trusted by more than 7,000 enterprise customers throughout the world to automate the management and governance of public, private, multi-cloud, and hybrid cloud operations.
The company behind the platform – CloudHealth Technologies – was founded in 2012 and acquired by VMware in 2018 in order to enhance the service provided to enterprise customers operating in multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments. In the same year, the platform was recognized as a leader for cloud cost monitoring and optimization, and as a strong performer for hybrid cloud management.
Visibility before, during, and after Migrating to the Cloud
One of the platform´s primary strengths is that it provides total visibility into on-premises and cloud operations through a single pane of glass. The benefit of total visibility is that organizations can identify security risks, cost drivers, and performance inefficiencies, and take steps to address minor issues as they evolve in order to prevent them developing into critical issues.
Cross-environment visibility is particularly important when planning to migrate workloads to the cloud, as it enables organizations to more easily identify candidates for migration and examine the downstream application and infrastructure dependencies of these workloads. Without visibility into workload dependencies, cloud migrations are more likely to fail or encounter issues once live.
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During the migration process, having total visibility into the cloud environment can help prevent over-provisioning. Latest generation cloud servers are typically more efficient than on-premises cloud servers, so provisioning cloud servers with the same CPU, memory and disk configuration as on-premises servers can result in organizations spending more than necessary. CloudHealth helps prevent this scenario.
Thereafter, visibility remains important for monitoring security, cost, and performance. CloudHealth´s granular reporting capabilities enables organizations to extract customizable usage reports from the platform, in order to make well-informed decisions about how best to manage and govern their cloud environments, before using the platform´s automation capabilities to enforce governance guardrails.
The Impact Total Visibility has on Data Security
The biggest concern for HIPAA Covered Entities operating in the cloud is data security; yet the majority of threats to data security in the cloud are self-inflicted and attributable to misconfigurations. CloudHealth helps eliminate this issue by verifying configurations in the CI/CD pipeline, and then continuously verifying the integrity of resources in order to prevent configuration drift.
Thereafter, the CloudHealth platform enables security teams to prioritize other threats using smart risk scores. Once identified, lower priority issues can be prevented in the future using the platform´s policy-driven automation capabilities, while higher priority issues can be investigated with visual context to prevent the remediation of one issue creating another issue elsewhere.
The way in which policy-driven automation enhances security and prevents data breaches varies according to the requirements of the customer. The platform can be configured to (for example) automatically encrypt unencrypted storage volumes, enable multi-factor authentication for privileged accounts, or revoke user access in the event of suspicious behavior or unauthorized activity.
With regards to threats attributable to suspicious behavior or unauthorized activity, CloudHealth integrates with SIEM solutions in order to correlate risks and streamline security operations. Security teams receive real-time security alerts with analyses of their causes and recommended actions to mitigate threats quickly. None of this would be possible without total visibility.
Controlling the Cost of Cloud Operations for Healthcare Organizations
Total visibility again has an important role to play in cloud cost control, as it can help identify the use of unsanctioned cloud services by Lines of Business (“Shadow IT”) or the misuse of sanctioned cloud services – both of which can be significant cost drivers. Furthermore, total visibility leads to users having greater confidence in spend tracking and budget reporting, which helps enforce accountability.
With regards to optimizing cloud spend, the same policy-driven automation capabilities that enhance security and prevent data breaches can be applied to cost control. Policies can be created that alert administrators to unused or underused resources that can be terminated or rightsized – or, can be created to alert administrators to performance bottlenecks when capacity needs to be increased.
Other cost control policies can be created to alert budget owners when costs-to-date are projected to exceed monthly budgets, when costs increase by a pre-determined percentage over a day, week, or month, and when the cost of retrieving data from infrequent access storage volumes exceeds the cost saving of placing data in lower tier storage volumes.
One key cost control capability of the CloudHealth platform is the “greedy knapsack” algorithm. This algorithm compares all possible combinations of committed use discount programs on AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, and makes recommendations for purchases, exchanges, and resales based on historical usage, program types, tiered discounts, and expiring reservations.
Transform Your Healthcare Cloud with Automated Management and Governance
Individually, each of the capabilities of the CloudHealth platform provide valuable protection against security, cost, and performance issues; but together they can transform a healthcare cloud through automated management and governance. To find out more about CloudHealth by VMware and to arrange a free demonstration of the platform in action, please contact the company directly.
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