Cloud Services / DevOps / Sponsored / Contributed

What Is Real-Time, Collaborative Cloud Visualization?

27 Apr 2022 4:30am, by

Dan Lawyer
Dan Lawyer, chief product officer at Lucid Software, is passionate about creating value by solving problems in delightful ways. Prior to Lucid, he led product and design organizations at Adobe, Ancestry and Vivint.

When and how collaboration happens, especially in a hybrid work environment, is directly related to business success. For IT professionals, working in the cloud is no different. Allowing your teams to collectively visualize your cloud environment opens up possibilities for real-time collaboration that can simplify planning for your cloud’s future, help identify and mitigate security risks, and ensure the best use of cloud resources. When you enable teams to collaborate in real time on your cloud environment, they can more quickly identify and respond to any issues to ensure compliance and security.

Real-Time Visualization

Real-time, collaborative cloud visualization begins with first being able to accurately see your cloud environment. An accurate visualization of your cloud environment ensures each team member is operating with the same understanding and can stay aligned during synchronous and asynchronous work.

To begin this process, compile an inventory of your current cloud environment. Depending on your cloud provider — Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Platform (GCP) — you may want to identify available management consoles and whether you’ll need to write scripts to pull data on resource types from your cloud environment. However, companies should use automated inventory tools, as management consoles and scripts will incur a time-consuming process — which works against the idea of real-time collaboration.

Once you compile your inventory, it’s time to visualize. Using an automated cloud diagramming solution will allow you to transform your inventory into an accurate and dynamic picture of your cloud environment. The optimal diagramming solution will have features that promote flexibility and real-time updates to ensure that internal discussion and objectives reflect the most recent state of your cloud environment.

Lucid's real time incident response software

Lucid’s real-time incident response software

Real-Time Collaboration

Being able to work as a team on your cloud infrastructure will be extremely important in the coming years as more companies transition their daily processes into the cloud. Visual collaborative solutions will make life easier for both IT departments and non-IT decision-makers when real-time collaboration is necessary. This could include the unexpected appearance of security issues or planning discussions about the future state of your cloud environment.

Let’s take a look at some of these use cases in which real-time cloud collaboration, enhanced by the right digital solution, can more quickly identify and fix issues within your cloud environment.

Let’s say there’s a security concern or malfunction within your cloud infrastructure. The first step to addressing a problem is identifying that specific problem and then assessing the damage.

If you enable real-time collaboration with a digital visualization platform, you should be able to filter elements of your cloud environment and see the correct relationships within the cloud, pinpointing exactly which areas may be affected by the breach or malfunction.

This pinpoint accuracy can then drive larger conversations about possible security threats and how to proceed in mitigating the threat. Also, there is no guesswork that usually comes from manually evaluating the many components in a cloud environment.

You can also use visual collaboration solutions to drive discussions about what your cloud could look like in the future. Being able to toggle between the current state of the cloud and the potential future state of the cloud can drive discussions with c-suite decision-makers — this helps ensure any updates to your cloud environment are not accompanied by a waste of resources.

Dusan Nitschneider, senior consultant at Amido, knows the value of cloud collaboration. He and his team work with many companies to provide efficient and innovative cloud native solutions. This means each time they fix a problem for one of their clients, they must explain exactly how they completed this task both internally and externally to clients in a way that’s easy to understand.

According to Nitschneider, each time his team completes a project, he must show cloud architecture diagrams that explain exactly how they built the answer to their clients’ problems. Without a platform that allows real-time, automated visualization, he’d be forced to manually construct these diagrams — which would delay a streamlined collaboration process.

“We would have to spend time recreating artifacts either from memory or going over the code, trying to understand what you’ve actually done and what’s there as part of the hand-off,” Nitschneider said. “Now that we can import our architecture, it saves us a good few days, if not a week, of time. You know that it’s accurate, as opposed to there always being that one thing you miss [when doing it manually].”

Companies operating in a fast-paced cloud environment can’t afford errors or delays in production. Automated, real-time cloud visualization and collaboration helps to reduce mistakes while making collaboration in the cloud environment a more seamless experience.

Lucidecale's custom views.

Lucidscale’s custom views.

Empowering Real-Time Collaboration Has Lasting Effects

Maintaining, updating and troubleshooting your cloud environment is a team effort between IT workers and non-IT personnel. This means working with materials that translate the cloud to a language that all stakeholders can easily understand. When you empower real-time cloud collaboration through visualization, you prepare your business to adjust to an ever-changing digital landscape and the evolving needs of your customers.

The New Stack is a wholly owned subsidiary of Insight Partners, an investor in the following companies mentioned in this article: Real.