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Magalix Introduces the Cloud-Native Application Policy Pack

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Cloud Data Asset Management and Tagging Cloud Resources

DevOps Policy as Code
Cloud Data Asset Management and Tagging Cloud Resources
DevOps Policy as Code

The Journey of Data from On-prem to Cloud

Modern organizations no longer have to rely on expensive, inflexible, and resource-intensive on-premise data centers to host their hardware, software, and data. Thanks to the cloud, they can host all their applications and data offsite, pay only for the resources they use, and scale up or down as their business evolves.

But, despite the cloud’s many advantages, IT teams still need to manage, optimize and secure their cloud data assets. Here’s where Cloud Data Asset Management is really valuable.

What is Data Asset Management?

If there’s one valuable asset that all modern organizations rely on to accelerate innovation, enhance customer experiences, improve business efficiency, and boost their competitive position – it’s surely data. Data assets include customers’ names, addresses, and financial information, as well as access credentials, internal documents, software applications, databases, websites, and more. Companies expend a lot of time and energy to collect, manage and secure these assets. And increasingly, they are turning to the cloud to simplify these needs.

Cloud assets include everything that stores and processes data, including compute resources like servers or containers, storage assets like object stores or block storage, and platform instances such as databases or queues.

Data Asset Management involves the maintenance, upgrades, disposal, and compliance of data assets.

Better Visibility into Cloud Data

Often, organizations don’t have clear visibility into their cloud infrastructure, which makes it difficult to track assets and data, leads to suboptimal processes, causes asset inventory inaccuracies, and increases costs.

With Cloud Data Asset Management, organizations can:

  • Track cloud asset locations
  • Identify the relationships between them
  • Schedule preventive maintenance
  • Improve operational and financial reporting
  • Manage assets cost-effectively

Better Data Management in DevOps 

In a DevOps environment, cloud data issues curtail the ability to continuously integrate, test and deploy application releases. In the rush to deliver, integrate, test, and deploy application code, teams lack key insights about data, such as:

  • How it will be ingested, accessed, stored, and scaled
  • How to protect it from corruption or losses
  • How data types will change over time
  • How legacy databases will be updated for new use cases

If such issues are not addressed early, it results in poor database architecture decisions later, and poor DevOps outcomes in general.

Cloud Data Asset Management provides a clear framework for engineers and DevOps leaders to address these issues and fix security gaps early.

Tagging Cloud Resources for Cloud Data Asset Management

As organizations rely more on multi-cloud environments, they have to contend with an increasingly complex infrastructure. With tags, enterprises can understand which resources are being used for what, and how they are connected. They can track their cloud workloads, understand costs, and improve the documentation of their cloud environment.

What is a Cloud Resource Tag?

A tag is a “label” assigned to a cloud resource to apply custom metadata. Single resources like virtual machines and databases, resource groups, and the top-level cloud tenant can all be tagged.

Every tag is defined as a “key-value” pair. The key defines the kind of tag, which is specified by its value. So in a DevOps environment, the key could be “environment”, with multiple values like “staging” or “production”.

When based on consistent rules, and applied globally across all resources, resource tags provide better visibility into the distributed cloud environment.

Tagging in Public Clouds

All major public CSPs provide tagging features. The below table shows how different cloud providers use tagging.

Cloud Data Asset Management and Tagging Cloud ResourcesCloud Data Asset Management and Tagging Cloud Resources

Such tags, e.g. instance ID or subnet ID, are automatically generated by CSPs, and cannot be altered by the organization. Typically, they contain long strings of letters and numerals.

CSPs support two types of tagging.

  • Explicit tagging: Enables organizations to add specific context to cloud assets
  • Implicit tagging: To impose specific naming conventions on resources in the cloud account

User-defined tags enable DevOps teams to enrich their cloud resources with relevant information and keep better track of cloud data.

The Benefits of Cloud Resource Tagging

Tagging allows teams to improve inter-departmental collaboration and efficiency, e.g. between DevOps and Finance. Cloud tags also enable enterprises to design a robust governance setup to manage cost allocation, optimization, chargebacks, reporting, and compliance.

Tagging helps improve cloud cybersecurity. DevOps teams can identify and track resources that hold PII data, and spot violations in security policy. It also simplifies access management, so admins can ensure that only the right users can access the right resources.

Tags support application tiering, automatic backups, and automatic startup or shutdown of instances. This helps minimize errors and allows the dev team to focus on generating value, not on manual backups.

Tagging helps streamline operations management, allowing admins to identify resources that need to be updated.

Standardization for Cloud Tags

As the organization’s cloud estate expands, more tags can complicate cloud governance. That’s why it’s important to define a standardized naming convention and enforce it globally and consistently.

Different CSPs have their own requirements for allowed characters, character count, and case-sensitivity for tags. For organizations using a multi-cloud environment, tagging naming standards should align with all these various conventions.

Tagging in AWS

Tagging in AWS must adhere to specifications like:

  • In most cases, up to 50 tags can be assigned per cloud data resource
  • S3 objects can have a maximum of 10 tags per resource
  • Each tag key for each resource must be unique and have only one value
  • Any characters can be used for EC2 tags
  • Character limit: 128 for keys, 256 for values
  • All tag keys and values are case-sensitive

Tagging AZURE and GCP

 

Azure

GCP

# of allowed tags per resource

Up to 50

Up to 64 (“labels”)

Character limit: keys

512

63

Character limit: values

256

63

Case-sensitive

No

Yes

Allowed characters

< > % & / ? not allowed

Lowercase, numbers, underscore, hyphens

Policies to Enforce Cloud Tags

Tag policies enable organizations to standardize tags across cloud resources. They also simplify cloud governance. For example, a policy can specify that a “cost center” tag must use specific case treatment and tag values.

Including the cloud tagging policy in Infrastructure as Code (IaC) templates eliminates the need to manually implement cloud tagging policies. Magalix provides hundreds of built-in, codified templates and policies to easily specify tags in IaC, consistently apply tags across all projects and resources, and automate the process.

Organizations can also implement and enforce tagging using Policy as Code. E.g., a policy can be defined to tag the S3 Bucket, so that deployments missing the required tags will fail. This ensures that the team never forgets to add tags on every cloud resource.

Magalix policies can help you enforce labels and tags on all your cloud assets, including data assets like AWS S3 buckets, container volumes, etc. Protect your data with the right configurations and security settings using the codified policies from Magalix.

Explore Magalix Policy Library with a 30-day free trial

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