Enterprises and organizations alike are now managing multi-cloud environments, which in most cases can get quite complex. Many enterprises struggle with getting visibility into their distributed cloud environment between highly complicated pricing structures and an onslaught of innovative cloud services. They fail to understand which resources are being used for which purpose, and how each is connected to the enterprise.
To overcome these obstacles, enterprises can implement an effective tagging strategy. If done right, tagging can help improve documentation of cloud environments and optimize costs across all cloud providers.
Learn how proper tagging is a critical process to your enterprise’s successful cloud operations.
What is Tagging in Cloud Computing?
Tagging is the basis for achieving and managing a structured cloud infrastructure, especially in multi-cloud environments that feature different cloud resources that are used for different purposes.
So what is tagging in cloud computing?
Tagging in the cloud is a process where users can add descriptive metadata (tags) to their cloud infrastructure. A tag consists of two parts: a key and a value to identify a resource in a cloud environment. The key describes the type of tag: for instance, the key could represent the environment, while the values could be staging, development, or production.
Organizations can choose the types and values of the tags they want as they are only visible internally. Cloud tagging policy should be built around the enterprise objectives and how your group perceives and manages the cloud.
Why is Tagging Important in the Cloud?
Rapid growth in cloud use comes with the need to keep track of what is happening in your cloud infrastructure while it’s constantly transforming. That’s where consistent and comprehensive tags come in handy to help in reporting cost, usage, availability, performance, and security. These reports help to show the current state of the tagging efforts and allow enterprises to track improvements within the tag coverage.
A well established set of tags are critical to managing cloud costs within your organization. Appropriate tagging allows CFOs to associate business functions with cloud use and cost to ensure they align with business value and are managed by the appropriate people.
Tags can also certainly help users streamline automation. The added metadata of tags enables a whole new level of automation with the help of bots and scripts.
Tags and automation can be used to:
- enforce policies
- startup or shutdown instances depending on demand
- orchestrate remediation efforts
- automate response to important events
Many different automation tools can read these tags and utilize them to notify the user when action needs to be taken, saving time and money in the long run.
What is a Cloud Tagging Strategy?
A cloud tagging strategy formulates specific rules and practices that a team in a specific organization agrees to follow and implement. The strategy helps them understand how to use tags, how to create them, and how tagging decisions need to be made by the organization.
Steps to Achieve a Great Tagging Strategy
While tagging every cloud resource isn’t easy, enterprises can take several crucial steps to get their cloud tagging strategy going:
Be Consistent with The Format You Choose
It’s important to use a consistent approach in tagging your cloud resources. To do so, you will have to decide on a simpler, clearer, and meaningful naming convention for your tagging system. It’s actually the backbone of every aspect you are planning to accomplish with your tagging strategy.
- Different cloud platforms have different requirements for character usage, number usage, allowed characters etc.
- Different Platforms have limits on the number of keywords attached to a single resource.
- AWS resources are limited to no more than 50 tags each where each tag key is unique and has a single value.
- Cloud tags can be case-sensitive (ex: #Costcenter and #CostCenter are different)
If tagging practices are not consistent across the company resources tagged #Costcenter may show up in reports while those tagged #CostCenter are not, losing visibility into parts of your infrastructure.
Determine Your Tagging Requirements
As you decide which tags you need and how to use them, come up with rules to govern their usage. CFO’s and COO’s need to understand how tagging delivers the outcomes that they care about. Getting buy-in before roll-out is an easier path to quick adoption instead of rolling out first and waiting for the stakeholder’s reactions later.
Decide which team, business unit, environment, or application will be needed for the success of your tagging strategy. With these requirements, you will get precise tags that are more focused, have buy-in from the entire team, and answers critical questions. As a result, it will be easier to apply tags consistently, and gain useful insights into your organization.
Cloud tagging policies should be thoroughly documented and cover key policies of the tagging strategy that the enterprise uses. Make sure you include the definition of tags, how they will be used, who is in charge of the tags, and any reasoning behind implementing these decisions. Also, the documentation should cover the policies and when to use them. It’s also important to ensure the document is centrally accessible and approved by leaders.
Building a Powerful Cloud Tagging Strategy
Setting up and implementing consistent and effective tagging policies provide visibility and clarity in the cloud environment to ensure you are getting the most value from your infrastructure. Proper tags are key to an extensive list of operational benefits, from quick identification of assets to complete automation across a range of assets and cloud providers.
Now that we understand what tags are, how they’re used, and how to create a tagging strategy, how can we take this to a whole new level? Our team will perform a detailed audit of your cloud assets, identified dysfunction tags, and recommend best practices to set and enforce tag formats and ensure they work with all cloud platforms.
Ready to implement your cloud tagging strategy? Talk to us and we will help you get started!