SoftwareOne logo

3.5 min to readCloud ServicesFinOps Services

The importance of centralising tagging in a multi-cloud environment

SoftwareOne blog editorial team
Blog Editorial Team
An image of a glass building against a blue sky.

Multi-cloud environments are complex. Between complicated pricing structures and novel cloud services, enterprises are faced with a huge challenge when it comes to effectively managing these distributed networks.

One solution to these multi-cloud challenges is to enact a consistent and effective tagging strategy. When done correctly, tagging can contribute greatly to cloud spend management efforts. However, properly centralizing tagging efforts isn’t without its challenges. Many organisations have trouble with consistent naming and assigning responsibility.

Read on to learn why centralised tagging is a vital process within cloud spend management efforts and which strategies can help you overcome tagging challenges.

Why practice tagging?

Tagging is an important part of any organisation’s cloud governance strategy. In the context of the cloud, tags are metadata values that contain keys and values to help users organize and make sense of their cloud data. Tagging is essential because it helps to efficiently optimize costs across cloud providers by assigning useful information to any resource within your cloud infrastructure.

By categorizing these cloud resources, your organisation can expect a variety of benefits. Cloud management teams will have a better understanding of cost allocation, opening the door to an effective cost optimisation strategy. In addition to minimizing costs, tagging can improve software compliance by allowing members of the organisation to more effectively find cloud resources no matter where they are in the cloud infrastructure. As well, tagging enables better security across your organisation’s cloud infrastructure by categorizing resources based on their security level.

The key to a successful tagging strategy that can achieve these benefits is defining tagging policies extremely clearly. There should be a consistent set of tags specifically for governance purposes that apply globally. Servers, storage volumes, databases, and load balancers should all be tagged with the name of the provisioning user, as well as the team or department that they belong to. Some organisations may also implement project or application-based tags, depending on their specific demands. This means tags must be applied consistently by all applications and teams. Without a clear, easy-to-understand tagging policy, individuals are bound to use variations of the same tag, complicating and damaging the accuracy of reporting efforts.

Challenges with tagging for cloud spend management

Unfortunately, the intense need for standardisation is a primary challenge when tagging for cloud spend management. By nature, optimizing cloud spend management with tagging requires near-perfection every time. This is a difficult task to ask of multiple teams that not only span across different business units, but across multiple cloud platforms. Team members may make mistakes when categorizing information, or create redundant tags.

Attaining this perfection becomes even more challenging when businesses go through natural changes. For example, imagine if an organisation acquired a smaller competitor, and wanted to make use of their data and information. This presents a huge challenge for central IT teams, since they must find and track existing tags and change them to conform with the present tagging strategy. This can be taxing and expensive for central IT.

Even within an organisation, introducing a new cloud platform can complicate tags significantly. This is because tags behave differently on different platforms, making unity much harder. Because of these significant challenges, organisations need to evaluate tagging strategies very closely.

How to effectively tag for cloud spend management

Although implementing a quality tagging strategy isn’t always simple, tagging is still worth the investment. This is especially true if your organisation is capable of automating processes. It is vital to use a disciplined approach with a strong foundation that includes policies that encourage good tag hygiene.

To create the best tagging policy, be sure to plan a detailed strategic roll-out process. Here are some factors to consider:

1. Define the policy

It is extremely helpful to have a centralised IT team own this process whenever possible, as they will be able to best define a global tagging policy in a consistent way. Don’t forget to get buy-in and feedback from key stakeholders before implementing this policy.

2. Carry out consistent reporting

Organisations should try to report on their tagging efforts on at least a weekly basis. This will help show the current state of the tagging initiative, and allow them to track improvements in tag coverage, making the benefits of your tagging efforts measurable.

3. Alert team members to their obligations

Alerts can be as simple as creating signal emails for team members involved with resources that require tags. This way, no cloud resource will slip through the cracks un-categorised.

4. Implement automation

Once a functional tagging strategy has been implemented and standardised, organisations should consider automating tagging processes. Establish consistent naming conventions to help automatically categorize these tags into silos. Alerting should also be automated as soon as possible.

To ensure that organisations do this process correctly the first time, many opt to utilise Cloud Spend Management Platforms. While these platforms don’t necessarily do all of the heavy lifting, they provide a valuable foundation to build out your cloud optimisation strategy. By creating a well-designed tagging strategy focused around cloud spend management, your organisation will be able to better execute initiatives such as cloud cost reporting, cloud cost optimisation, and cloud security efforts.

A close up of a pink and blue flower.

Getting help with enacting tagging initiatives

Centralised tagging is necessary to implement an effective cloud spend management strategy. Unfortunately, centralised tagging is not simple to execute properly without plenty of prior experience. If you’d like to speak to an expert, contact us today.

Getting help with enacting tagging initiatives

Centralised tagging is necessary to implement an effective cloud spend management strategy. Unfortunately, centralised tagging is not simple to execute properly without plenty of prior experience. If you’d like to speak to an expert, contact us today.


SoftwareOne blog editorial team

Blog Editorial Team

We analyse the latest IT trends and industry-relevant innovations to keep you up-to-date with the latest technology.