How To Achieve Operational Excellence in the Cloud

21 May 2020

By Paul Riddle


In this blog we look at how to create Operationally Excellent cloud environments that are not only efficient but also scalable and effective across the board to deliver business value and help you continually improve processes and procedures.

Cloud Operational Excellence focuses on running and monitoring systems to deliver business value, and continually improving processes and procedures. It helps your organisation spread the benefits of cloud adoption beyond the IT department as well as ensuring that the cloud infrastructure can efficiently manage changes, respond to events, and automate standards-based tasks and processes to successfully manage daily operations.

To achieve its objectives a cloud environment must be set up and maintained according to the guidelines of operational excellence in the cloud. This means following the basic design principles, which are:

Perform operations as code

Rather than executing changes manually and increasing the risk of human error, it is better to set up the environment to allow applications, procedures, and processes to be created and maintained as codes.

Annotated documentation

In the cloud, there is no need to provide manual instructions to the environment and the system every time an operation needs to be completed. Rather than relying on manual inputs, it is more effective to create documentation for processes and procedures that include annotations for the systems (and human administrators) to read.

Rely on frequent, small, and reversible changes

Rather than applying one big patch and making several consequential changes at the same time, the recommended path is making small changes and doing things in increments. Small and frequent changes are more manageable, and they allow for better environment effectiveness in the long run.

Evaluate and refine procedures frequently

The cloud environment also allows for better monitoring and the collection of comprehensive insights. Applying procedures and processes as code amplifies the ability to spot potential improvements and make constant refinement more accessible.

Anticipate failures

As with conventional systems, it is necessary to plan for the worst-case scenario. What’s different with the cloud is that the environment can be tested through different scenarios without the usual complications. This means anticipating potential failures and worst-case scenarios is also easier.

Learn from the failures

When parts of the system go wrong, the way the Cloud environment is set up allows for more comprehensive learning and better contingency plans for the future.


Operational excellence is an ongoing effort. Every operational event and failure should be treated as an opportunity to improve the operations of your architecture. By understanding the needs of your workloads, predefining runbooks for routine activities, and playbooks to guide issue resolution, using operations as code and maintaining situational awareness, your operations will be ready and responsive when events occur.

Through focusing on incremental improvement based on operational priorities, and lessons learned from event response and retrospective analysis, you will enable the success of your business by increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of your operations.

If you would like AltoStack to help your business to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your cloud environments please contact us here.

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