Step on the GaaS: Governance as a Service

Congratulations! You and your colleagues are now convinced that the Public Cloud must be at the heart of your overall enterprise strategy. The last members of the resistance have acquiesced and accepted the inevitable, a move catalyzed with an announcement by the two largest IaaS providers to enter the French market in 2017 and finalized with VMWARE burying the hatchet with Amazon Web Services.

Let’s get down to it !

Now, you’re probably afraid of the magnitude of such an undertaking.

Fear not! I have good news for you: if you bear with me until the end of this post I’ll provide you with some tips to send you on your way.

The most significant question before embarking often concerns governance in the cloud; you’re not simply migrating all your workloads into another virtual environment; you’re undergoing a paradigm shift as even your infrastructure is becoming software. Yes, software, as disturbing as that may seem.


You’re interacting via Web consoles and APIs, exclusively. A server is now a program, just like the rest of the datacenter.

This is not insignificant.

Fortunately, you’re smart and you tell yourself “I have at my disposal all the technologies, methods and tools to my infrastructure code that I’ve already applied to my existing applications”

Care for an example?

Testing! As your infrastructure is soon being transformed into pure software, you’ll be able to test it. For once in your IT life, you’ll have an opportunity to QA you DC evolutions against all dimensions: security groups, NACL, IAM policies to name a few.

You might then manage, properly, any dependencies between your application code and/or middleware, and the infrastructure. This is an entirely new way to conceive you enterprise IT where all assets are handled together with the same set of tooling in a flexible and consistent manner.


But what does this have to do with governance?

Let’s start by looking at one of the collateral benefits of the transition from atoms to bytes: automation.

Security, purchasing, billing, and cost optimization policies can now be automated. That is to say that many of the control and IT governance components can be self-driven without human interaction. However, stay vigilant, as this automation is not designed to completely replace human interaction, but rather to complement it.

You must also make choices during the implementation which will determine the balance between complete user control and unbridled agility and relaxed oversight. Between us, it is wholly possible to focus on putting controls in place before or after the fact.

These strategic rules are key to align your cloud governance policies to your business policies and enforce enterprise controlled agility.

The road to governance automation is supported by all the major IaaS players who provide countless amount of data about the state and health of your cloud environments. You have access to near real time technical logs, financial data and audit trails. This really is technical “Big Data” at your fingertips, just waiting for you to make sense of it and to put it into action.

Know that there is expertise available from a few skilled organizations, who provide full-service support, including Enterprise Billing and Financial Optimization, based on a combination of software and consulting services. The best of these firms offer a fully-integrated “managed service”, including portals to monitor and configure governance rules. In addition, skilled firms will also seek to automate actions and optimize remediation in case of SLA breakdowns or lapses in conformity.


These same experts recommend you implement a CMP, Cloud Management Platform.

To find your way through this super crowded CMP market, I’d encourage you to look at CMPs which simplify the implementation and automation of governance and perfectly integrate with your existing tools and production processes, to the detriment of low-value, multi-cloud “provisioning”, which lobotomize the functionalities of your IaaS provider.

If you like to know more about my views on CMPs, hang on, my next post will be about just this.


Meanwhile, there nothing left but to build your Cloud adoption plan to address the different build, transition and run phases. And you will need step on the “GaaS”’ to be successful.