Tagging is a big deal when using public cloud—let’s talk about a few key aspects on this broad topic. Whether an organisation is utilising a single public cloud provider or leveraging the benefits of a multi-cloud strategy, there is a wide variety of resources, services, and costs to manage, analyse, and report on. An important part of this is having a consistent and effective tagging strategy. Tags are metadata values (names and labels given to stuff) that provide identifying information about resources and their purpose. Successfully realising value from tagging has some challenges, starting with simply defining and structuring tags.
Defining Tagging Structure
Defining the tags to be used and how they are structured should be kept simple: look to how your business is already structured and consider the type of questions you are trying to answer, like “How much do we spend on cloud resources to deliver a service?”
Two key answers that should always be answered by tags: WHAT is this resource for and WHO is responsible for it? Here are some typical examples for what tags can identify:
Usage or Function tags
- Identifies what is being delivered by the resource, and any related considerations, associated to common aspects like:
- Common examples: Service, Application, Project, SLA and/or OLA, Environment-type (e.g. development, test, production)
- Identifies the part of a business that the resource is associated to, attributed to typical structures.
- Common examples: Cost Centre, Business Unit or Department, Team, Company (subsidiary/child), Project, Program.
- Identifies security related considerations, often dependent on what the resources are being used for (e.g. application, service, etc.).
- Common examples: Confidentiality level, Compliance status or requirement,
Practical Use of Tags
With a solid tagging strategy in place, your business benefits from valuable visibility and operational capabilities.
Reporting: this broad function includes cost visibility as well as operational status. Well-structured tags provide the ability to generate meaningful and valuable reports, answering key questions like:
- Financial: “How much does it cost us to deliver a service?” and “How much budget has a cost centre consumed year-to-date?”
- Operational: “How is an application performing on its currently deployed resources?” and “What alerts are being generated for a service?”
- Optimisation: “Are we using the lowest-cost options in our development environments?”
Tagging is relatively consistent between providers and there are some differences to be aware of when using multi-cloud.
1. Letter case sensitivity (e.g. ‘ForExample’ vs ‘forexample’) should be consistent and strictly followed. Otherwise, be mindful of the following.
2. Apply no more than 50 tags per resource. This is an AWS and Azure limitation, where GCP allows for 64.
3. Use keys and values with no more than 63 characters. This is a limitation on GCP, while AWS (Key/Value:128/256) and Azure (Key/Value:512/256) allow higher limits.
4. Enforce tags as a policy. These are best applied at the point of deployment/provisioning, whether manual or automatic. Landing Zones, offered by all the public cloud providers, are intuitive and ensure these tagging policies are created and enforced.
5. Apply more tags at the start. You don’t need to limit yourself to just a couple of tags—if you don’t effectively some tags in the future, no harm done.
A successful tagging strategy depends on automation, crucially at the point of provisioning to ensure tags are applied. To support this, good cloud management tooling is important. When considering management tools, look for key functionality such as the ability to apply new tags to existing resources and the ability to filter everything based on tag keys and values.
Kumoco Cloud Manager ensures that you have a successful tagging strategy and offers these key functionalities. Get in touch today for a demo.