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The Spread of Attention at Cloud Era

In today’s digital world, there are no doubts the cloud utilization is growing fast and will continue to grow in the coming years. Gartner forecasts 17% grow at 2020, with this growth, the Cloud Management complexity will keep raising.

According to Cloud Complexity Management Survey conducted by Deloitte Development LLC at 2019, large enterprises (37%) and medium companies (33%) are the most vulnerable to cloud complexity. Moreover, almost half (47%) of the surveyed professionals stated the Cloud complexity to be considered as top negative impact on Cloud ROI over the next five years.

At a previous blog I discussed the Cloud Center Of Excellence and emphasized the CCoE importance, outlining the possible achieved benefits to the organization that can cope with the raising Cloud management complexity. Ideally, the CCoE composed of highly skilled individuals possessing wide knowledge at various relevant domains, technical and non-technical. Naturally, as humans, such individuals are constrained to a behavioral and cognitive limitations that can interfere with the mission to achieve Operation Excellence to their organization.

Fortunately, the cloud brought democratization to IT organizations, allowing all departments to experiment, test and deploy with minimal bureaucracy, while granting anyone at the organization the power to provision IT infrastructure at matter of clicks and in a few minutes, thus achieving organizational high agility. For example, development teams may provision environments and assets for project experimentation and debugging, QA teams may provision test and staging environments. This clearly beside the running production environments.

CCoE needs to follow up with all teams and environments making sure work is done as expected, and no dead or unused assets left at the end of each project.

A recommended reading at this context, A day in the life of two development teams provides more details of the complex aspects that a Cloud team need to deal with.

As shown at The 5 Pillars of the AWS Well-Architected Framework, CCoE responsibility is distributed over vast areas, while liability is quite high. The team needs to make sure the Cloud systems topology is accurate; architecture is optimal and secured. Above all, to make sure the costs are in-control and kept optimal too.

At typical organization, such team is responsible over continuously monitoring the Cloud provisioning, system deployments, assets usage and cost; making sure the other organization departments are accountable when using the Cloud without incurring unnecessary expenses.

Moreover, a typical Cloud system may be based on multiple Cloud services. Clearly it has some compute component (e.g. EC2 Instance or Lambda), most probably it has Networking components (e.g. Network Interfaces and NAT Gateway), it may have some storage components (e.g. S3, RDS DB, NoSQL DynamoDB, or File system such as EFS or FSx). And it should have security components (e.g. VPC, Security Groups and WAF).

Now imagine how much attention the CCoE need to give. I.e. to follow up with all teams, for all environments, then to get into details of each systems components. I believe, without the right tools and aids, CCoE mission can be wasteless.

At Deloitte survey referred above, 34% of the surveyed professionals stated the effective tools as the most important factor to address the cloud complexity. While 32% stated the effective people are a factor. This is another evidence of the importance for offering auxiliary tools to support the complex management task.

Spread of Attention vs. Visual Attention

As said, CCoE composed of individuals, and if we want this center to be successful of raising the organization Operation Excellence, we need to investigate the human behavioral and cognitive processes.

How the team can spread the attention? What are the needed aids to achieve the task?

I recommend examining this at two possible approaches:

1. Attention Spread Only

We can demand from CCoE to spread of attention to all topics and areas mentioned above. Will CCoE be successful? Is the best team behavior?

Due to the Cloud speed, dynamicity and acceleration, I personal think, Spread of Attention behavior alone will not be enough to achieve the desired success. The team need to jump from one system/environment to another, at the meanwhile other systems are growing and evolving, by the time the CCoE restore attention to a specific system, it may be too late, or system control can be lost. People may not remember, or poorly documented, why assets are allocated and what was the intention of certain configuration, so CCoE need to reanalyze again and again.

2. Visual Attention Aids

Now let’s examine the Visual Attention behavior from cognitive psychology. At Cloudivize we believe in the ability of the human brain to process visual scenes. Thus, we believe it should be applied to Cloud Management, and to contribute to CCoE mission too.

Speaking at very high level, Visual Attention mainly about the ability of the human brain to Focus on something, secondly, the ability to Sustain Focus while needed, and third, the ability to Alternate Attention to another area and refocus.

Human brain Visual Attention can spread at broad view, it can process the wide visual to certain level while filtering out irrelevant information from cluttered visual scene, then it selects local area (narrow view) to focus and sustain focus on it, but still can alternate focus to another local area based on the initial preprocessed wide visual view.

Visual Attention in Action

Obviously, partial Visual Attention can be achieved by traditional monitoring charts and dashboards on Cloud assets, but we at Cloudivize took it farther to full integrated visual view, including assets, dependencies, status, topology, architecture, cost, monitoring and security.

To assist organizations, including their CCoE, to achieve the desired Operation Excellence when managing the Cloud systems, Cloudivize harnesses Visual Attention behavior, allowing the human brain to process the Cloud as visual scene, then it provides multiple tools to help him focus on “Cloud assets need attention”, and at last, it provides tools that can automatically draw the user attention by providing visual indications within the full visual scene.

With Cloudivize Canvas View, user will have the broad visual view of his Cloud, and then can focus on specific deployment by zooming or drilling into that area. This Canvas view shows the Cloud health in most intuitive visual indications, and by matter of cursor move, the user can comprehend topology and dependencies.

With Cost Inspector mode, users can overlay the Cloud costs to be integrated into the visual canvas, without losing the visual scene. While Smart Insights view will provide a highly intuitive usage and health view integrated into the visual canvas making it into a Monitoring view.

Request a demo today to learn more about Cloudivize Visual tools.

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