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2023 Blog, Blog, Cloud Blog, Featured

Currently, all large enterprises are dealing with multi-cloud providers and the situation is more complicated where M&A has led to multiple organizations integrations and multiple vendors across Infrastructure, Digital, Enterprise Systems, and Collaboration tools bring their own Cloud footprints bundled with services. In this blog, we try to explain the common scenario being faced by large companies and how to create “The Right Way” to adopt a scalable Multi-Cloud Workload Planning and Governance Models.

Customer Needs
The customers facing such challenges usually share with us the following brief:

  • Assess existing workloads on AWS, Azure, GCP for basic health & maturity diagnostics.
  • Suggest a mature Cloud Management & Governance model for ensuring “The Right Way” to use the Cloud for multi-account, secure, and compliant best practices.
  • Recommend a model for future workloads migration and choice of cloud providers for optimal usage and ability to move new workloads to cloud easily.

Primary Business Drivers
Following are the key reasons for customers seeking Multi-Cloud Governance “The Right Way.”

  • Cost optimization and tracking for existing usage.
  • Ability to launch new regions/countries in cloud with easy and secure standardized processes.
  • Bring down cost of ownership on Cloud Assets – Infra/Apps/Managed Services with leverage of Automation and best practices.

Approach Taken
The basic approach followed for helping customers through the multi-cloud maturity models involves a PLAN-BUILD-RUN process as explained below:

Step-1: Planning & Assessment Phase
This involves working with customer teams to finalize the Architecture, Scope, Integration and Validation Needs for Cloud Assessment. The primary activities covered under this phase are following:

  • Coverage Analysis
    • Do a detailed analysis of all three Cloud Providers (AWS, Azure, GCP) and recommend what should be an ongoing strategy for Cloud Provider adoption.
  • Maturity Analysis
    • Do an assessment of current Cloud usage against industry best practices and share the maturity scorecard of customer setup.
  • Security Exposure
    • Find key gaps on security exposure and suggest ways for better governance.
  • Cost Assessment
    • Consolidation and cost optimization to have more efficient cloud adoption.

The foundation for analysis covers Cloud Provider specific analysis based on Well-Architected Frameworks as explained in the figure below:

Step-2: Build & Operationalize Phase
This primarily involves adoption of mature Cloud Governance360 and Well-Architected Models with best practices across key areas.

  • Accounts & Organization Units
  • Guardrails
  • Workloads Migration
  • Monitoring, Testing, Go-Live & Training
  • Documentation, Basic Automation for Infrastructure as Code
  • SAML Integration

The playbook for Build & Operationalize phase is based on Relevance Lab prescriptive model for using Cloud “The Right Way” as explained in the figure below.

Step-3: Ongoing Managed Services Run Phase
Post go-live on-going managed services ensure that the best practices created as part of foundation are implemented and “Automation-First” approach is used for Infrastructure, Governance, Security, Cost Tracking and Proactive Monitoring. Common activities under Run phase cover regular tasks a snapshot of what is provided below:

Daily Activities:

  • Monitoring & Reporting – App & Infra using CloudWatch – Availability, CPU, Memory, Disk Space, Security blocked requests details, Cost using Cost Explorer.
  • Alert acknowledgement and Incident handling.
  • Publish daily report.

Weekly Activities:

  • Check Scan Reports for most recent critical vulnerabilities.
  • Monitor Security Hub for any new critical non-compliances.
  • Plan of action to address the same.

Monthly Activities:

  • Patch Management.
  • Budgets Vs Costs Report.
  • Clean-up of stale/inactive users/accounts.
  • Monthly Metrics.

ServiceOne framework from Relevance Lab provides a mature Managed Services Model.

Sample Assessment Report
The analysis is done across 4 key areas as covered under Plan phase and explained below.

  • Cloud Provider Specific Analysis
    • Workload distribution analysis across all three providers, also mapped to 50+ different Best Practices Questionnaire.
  • 5-Pillars Well-Architected Analysis
    • Architecture & Performance Efficiency, Cost Optimization, Reliability & DR, Operational Excellence & Standardization, Security.
    • Global workloads analyzed across all different environments.
  • Security Findings
    • Identified Environments on Azure with significant exposure that needs fix.
    • Also suggested AWS Security Hub for formal scorecard and specific steps for maturity.
  • Cost Optimization
    • Analyzed costs across Environments, Workloads, and Apps.

Based on the above a final Assessment report is created with recommendations to fix immediate issues while also addressing medium term changes for ongoing maturity. The figure below shows a sample assessment report.

Relevance Lab is a specialist company in cloud adoption and workload planning. Working with 50+ customers on multiple engagements, we have created a mature framework for Multi-Cloud Workload and Governance Assessment. It is built on the foundation of best practices for Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF) and Well-Architected Frameworks (WAF) but enhanced with specific learnings and accelerators based on Goverenance360 and ServiceOne offerings to speed up a transition from un-managed & ad-hoc models to “The Right Way” of multi-cloud foundation.

To know more on how we can help feel free to contact us at

AWS Well-Architected
Microsoft Azure Well-Architected Framework
Google Cloud Architecture Framework
AWS Cloud Adoption Framework (AWS CAF)
Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure
Google Cloud Adoption Framework


2023 Blog, Blog, Cloud Blog, Featured, RLCatalyst Blog

The adoption of Cloud and DevOps has brought changes in large enterprises around the traditional management methodology of Infra, Middleware, and Applications lifecycle. There is a continuous “tension” to achieve the right balance of “security + compliance” vs “agility + flexibility” between Operations and Development teams. For large enterprises with multiple business units and global operations and having distributed assets across multiple cloud providers, these issues are more complex. While there is no “silver bullet” that can solve all these issues, every enterprise needs a broad framework for achieving the right balance.

The broad framework is based on the following criteria:

  • IT teams predominantly define the infrastructure components like images, network designs, security policies, compliance guardrails, standard catalogs etc. based on the organization’s policies and requirements.
  • Application teams have the flexibility to order and consume these components and to manage the post-provisioning lifecycle specific to their needs.

The challenge being faced by larger enterprises using multiple cloud workloads is the lack of a common orchestration portal to enable application teams to have self-service requests and flexible workflows for managing workload configuration and application deployment lifecycle. The standard Cloud management portals from the major cloud providers have automated most of their internal provisioning processes, yet don’t provide customers system-specific solutions or do workload placement across various public and private clouds. In order to serve the needs of Application groups, a portal is needed with the following key functionalities.

  • The self-service portal is controlled via role-based access.
  • Standard catalog of items for Infrastructure Management.
  • Flexible workflow for creating a full lifecycle of configurations management.
  • Microservices-based building blocks for consuming “Infrastructure As A Code” and manage post provisioning lifecycle.
  • Ability to monitor the end-to-end provisioning lifecycle with proper error handling and interventions when needed.
  • Governance and management post-provisioning across multiple workloads and cloud services.

Relevance Lab has come up with a microservices-based automation solution which automates enterprise multi-cloud provisioning, pre and post, provisioning workflows, workload management, mandatory policies, configurations, and security controls. The end-to-end provisioning is automated and made seamless to the user by integrating with ServiceNow, Domain servers, configuration servers and various cloud services. There are multiple microservices developed to handle each stage of the automation, making it highly flexible to extend to any cloud resources. The building blocks of the framework are as shown below:

The IAAC, which is maintained in a source code repository can have the cloud templates for a variety of resources.

Resource Platform Automated Process
Compute – VM/Server VMWare, AWS, Azure, GCP Automated provisioning of VMs and the backup VMs
Compute – DB Server VMWare, AWS, Azure, GCP Automated provisioning of the DB servers and Backup servers – Oracle, PostgresSQL, MSSQL, MySQL, SAP
Compute – HA and DR VMWare, AWS, Azure, GCP Automated provisioning of HA and DR servers
Compute – Application Stack AWS, Azure Automated Provisioning of Application stack using CFTs and ARM templates
Network – VPC AWS, Azure, GCP Automated provisioning of VPCs and subnets
Storage AWS, Azure, GCP Automated provisioning of S3 buckets or Blob storage
Storage – Gateways AWS Automated provisioning of storage gateways
DNS Server AWS, Azure Automated provisioning of DNS servers

Getting Started with Hybrid Cloud Automation – Our Recommendations:

  • Generate standard cloud catalogue and create reusable automated workflows for processes such as approval and access control.
  • To optimize the management of resources, limit the number of blueprints. Specific features can be provisioned in a modular fashion in the base image.
  • Use configuration management tools like Chef/Puppet/Ansible to install various management agents.
  • Use “Infrastructure As A Code” principle to provision infrastructure in an agile fashion. It needs tools like GitHub, Jenkins, and any configuration management tool.


  • Significantly reduce the Operations cost by reducing the manual effort and proactive monitoring of services using a single platform.
  • Reduced time to market for new cloud services by enabling a single-click deployment of cloud services.

For more details, please feel free to reach out to


2022 Blogs, Blog, Cloud Blog, Featured

Cloud is no longer a “good-to-have” technology but rather a must-have for enterprises. Although cloud-led digital transformation has been a buzzword for years, enterprises had their own pace of cloud adoption. However, the pandemic necessitated the acceleration of cloud adoption. Enterprises are faced with a new normal of operation that requires the speed and agility of the cloud.

In this blog, we will discuss the ground realities and challenges. We will also explore how Relevance Lab (RL) offers the right mix of experience and proven approaches to grow in today’s hyper-agile industry environment.

A Changed Ground Reality
Pandemic has accelerated how organizations look at IT infrastructure spending. It has also permanently changed their cloud strategies & spending habits. Online reports suggest that 38% more companies took a cloud-first approach compared to 2020 with an increased focus on IaaS and PaaS-based approaches.

According to a Gartner online survey, enterprises have preponed their cloud adoption by several years and this is expected to continue in the near future. The survey also predicts that enterprises will spend more on a just-in-time, value-based adoption to match the demands of a hyper-competitive environment.

Migration and modernization with the cloud is a long-term trend, especially for enterprises with a need to scale up. As CAPEX takes a back seat, OPEX is now at the forefront. Cloud as an industry has matured and evolved over a period of time, enabling faster and better adoption with hyper accelerator tools.

Criteria for the Successful Cloud Journey
The success of an enterprise’s cloud adoption journey can be evaluated by setting and measuring against the right KPIs. A successful cloud journey would help an enterprise achieve “business as usual” along with enhanced business outcomes and customer experience. It standardizes the framework for maintainability and traceability, improves security, and optimizes the cost of ownership, as shown in the image below.

Common Cloud Migration Challenges
Planning for and meeting all the criteria of a successful cloud journey has always been an uphill task. Some of the common challenges are:

Large Datasets: Businesses today are dealing with larger and more unstructured datasets than ever before.

Selection of Right Migration Model: Many enterprises, starting their cloud journey, have to choose the right migration model for adoption as per their needs, such as legacy re-write, lift & shift, and everything in between. The decision is based on various different factors like cost, business outlook, etc, and can impact business performance and operations in the longer run.

Change Management for Adopting a New Way of Operation: Cloud migration requires businesses to expand their knowledge at a rapid rate along with real-time analytics & personalization.

Security Framework: The risk of hackers & security attacks is growing across most industries. To keep up with the security while successfully moving to the cloud, enterprises need robust planning and an action list. Also, enterprises must choose a security framework depending on their size, industry, compliance, and governance needs.

Lack of Proper Planning: Rushed application assessments give rise to a lot of gaps that can affect the cloud environment. As a move into the cloud impacts different verticals and businesses as a whole, all stakeholders must be on the same page when it comes to an adoption plan.

Profound Knowledge: Cloud migration requires a dedicated and experienced team to troubleshoot any problems. While building an in-house team is a time-consuming, costly and tumultuous task, working with partners with knowledge branching into different technologies may not be a beneficial idea as well. Enterprises may need a partner with a focused understanding of the cloud migration niche as they will have assimilated knowledge from their engagement with various customers.

Continuous Effort: Cloud is ever-changing with new developments and evolving paradigms. Thus, cloud migration is not a one-time task but rather requires continuous effort to automate and innovate accordingly.

Solutions to Cloud Migration Challenges
Some of the potential solutions that an enterprise can adopt to overcome common challenges of cloud migration are:

  • Reassessing cloud business & IT plans
  • Identify and remediate risks and gaps in data, compliance, and tech stack
  • Detailed migration approaches with self-sufficient virtual ecosystems
  • Helps build, deliver and fail fast
  • Data-driven analysis enables stakeholders to make quick and effective decisions

Planning the solutions requires extensive experience and knowledge to implement. They can reap the benefits of the cloud easily with the combination of the right approach and solution.

How Relevance Lab Helps Businesses Accelerate their Cloud Journey
Relevance Lab (RL) is a specialist company in helping customers adopt cloud “The Right Way”. It covers the full lifecycle of migration, governance, security, monitoring, ITSM integration, app modernization, and DevOps maturity. We leverage a combination of services and products for cloud adoption. Helping customers on a “Plan-Build-Run” transformation, we drive greater velocity of product innovation, global deployment scale, and cost optimization.

Building Mature Cloud Journey
Moving to the cloud opens up numerous opportunities for enterprises. To reap all the benefits of cloud migration, enterprises need a comprehensive strategy focused on building value, speed, resilience, scalability, and agility to optimize business outcomes. Having worked with businesses across the globe for over a decade, our teams have seen a common trend that enterprises are often unaware of unprecedented adoption challenges, the “day-after” surprises and complexities, or the chronology of their occurrence.

This begs the question – how enterprises can overcome such surprises? Relevance Lab helps you answer it with a comprehensive and integrated approach. Combining cloud expertise and experience, we help enterprises overcome any challenge or surprise coming their way. Meeting the current needs of the clients, we help you build a cohesive and well-structured journey. Here are a few ways Relevance Lab helps you achieve it:

1. Assess the Current State & Maturity of the Cloud Journey
Any enterprise must get a clear picture of its current state before they build a cloud strategy. At Relevance Lab, we help clients assess their structures and requirements to identify their current stage on the cloud maturity journey. The cloud maturity model has 5 stages, namely, Legacy, Cloud Ready, Cloud Friendly, Cloud Resilient, and Cloud Native, as shown in the image below. This helps us to adopt the right approach that matches the exact needs of our clients.

Once the current stage is determined after an assessment, RL helps in designing an effective cloud strategy with a comprehensive and integrated approach keeping a balance between cloud adoption and application modernization. We ensure that all elements of cloud adoption move together, i.e, cloud engineering, cloud security, cloud governance & operating model, application strategy, engineering & DevSecOps, and Cloud Architecture, as shown in the image below.

2. Execute & Deliver through a Cross-Functional Collaboration and Gating Process
After the approach is defined and the strategy is designed, workstreams that integrate people, tools, and processes are identified. Cloud adoption excellence is delivered through cross-functional collaboration and gating across workstreams and stages, as shown in the image below.

How We Helped a Publishing Major Migrate “The Right Way”
Let’s explore a detailed account of how we implemented them for a global publishing major to maximize cloud benefits.

The publishing major was heavily reliant on complex legacy applications and outdated tech stack resulting in security & legal liabilities. There was a pressing need to scale IT and Product engineering to meet market demands driven by usage uptick (triggered by pandemic). Another immediate requirement was the need for better data gathering & analytics to enable faster decision making.

Relevance Lab provided an enterprise cloud migration solution with a data-driven plan and collaboration with business stakeholders. A comprehensive framework prioritizing customer-centric applications for scale and security was put in place. RL helped in implementing an integrated approach leveraging cloud-first and secure engineering & deployment practices along with automation to accelerate development, deployment, testing & operations.

To further learn about the details of how RL helped the above global publishing giant, download our case study.

Given the current times, cloud adoption strategy requires a data-backed understanding of the current systems and logical next steps, ensuring business runs as usual. There are many challenges that an enterprise may face throughout its cloud journey. Most of these may come as surprise as teams often are unaware of the chronological order in which the complexities occur.

Relevance Lab, an AWS partner, has an integrated approach and offerings developed through years of experience in delivering successful cloud journeys to clients across all industries and regions. Like the global publishing major discussed in the blog, we have helped clients significantly reduce costs by implementing modernizations backstage parallelly while their businesses run as usual.

To know more about cloud migration or implement the same for your enterprise, feel free to connect with

Cloud Management, Automation, DevOps and AIOps – Key Offerings from Relevance Lab
Relevance Lab Playbooks for Frictionless IT and Business Operations
Leveraging Technology + Consulting Specialization for Products and Solutions


2020 Blog, Blog, Cloud Blog, Featured

Amazon WorkSpaces is a simple to use, cloud based, managed secure Desktop solution. It is a one click deployment product which is available on Windows and Linux operating systems. The main advantage of using Amazon WorkSpaces is as follows.

  • Easy to provision, Desktop as a Service (DaaS)
  • Provision, de-provision and lifecycle management using your existing ITSM (ServiceNow, Jira Service Desk or Freshservice)
  • Extend your existing On-Premise Desktops/Laptops with the AWS Workspaces and manage it centrally
  • Secured data with reliable, High Availability enabled Desktop solution
  • Cost effective and on-demand flexibility
  • Manage and scale up or scale down based on the business need in a centralized way
  • Accelerate deployment at scale

Need for a secured and effective Cloud End User Computing Model

Amazon WorkSpaces helps in adopting a secure, managed cloud-based virtual desktop model to fulfil your End User Computing (EUC) IT requirement needs. Also, it ensures Organizations move away from the pain of procurement, deployment, and management of a complex environment. The traditional method also has a challenge where the hardware and licenses can be scaled up with additional cost, in case of a need but cannot be scaled down and ends up with unwanted cost in case of seasonal spike. Amazon WorkSpaces help organizations scale up and scale down based on demand and deploy at scale with few click deployment models and with enhanced security of your cloud Desktop. Relevance Lab’s pre-baked solution helps your IT team who has minimal knowledge on AWS adopt DaaS solutions with usage of ITSM platforms or custom Cloud Portal.

Best Practices of Network design for Amazon WorkSpaces

VPC It is recommended to use a separate VPC for your WorkSpaces implementation. This helps us define the required governance and security guardrails by creating traffic separation.
Directory Service Each AWS Directory service build requires a pair of subnets for high availability across Amazon availability zones.
Subnet size Subnet sizes are permanent and cannot be modified and hence need to plan for future capacity. You can define a default security group to your directory services which implies it to all the WorkSpaces under this directory services. Additionally, you can have multiple directory services use the same subnet.
Network Connectivity Whether you are looking for a pure cloud solution for your AWS WorkSpaces or planning to integrate with your existing on-prem setup, AWS helps achieve both using multiple options as below.
Option 1 – Extend your existing directory to the AWS Cloud.
Option 2 – Utilize your existing on-premises Microsoft Active Directory by using AWS directory Service, AD Connector.
Option 3 – Integrate your on-premise server with AD Connector to provide multi-factor authentication (MFA) to your WorkSpaces.
Option 4 -Create a managed directory with AWS Directory Service, Microsoft AD or Simple AD, to manage your users and WorkSpaces.

Observability of AWS WorkSpaces

This deals with managing lifecycle from creation, usage and termination in an optimal manner. This covers following three areas.

  1. Security and Governance
  2. As per AWS best practices, every individual user account should be set up with AWS IAM roles with right permissions and enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) with each account. Different WorkSpaces on the same physical host are isolated from each other through the hypervisor as though they are on separate physical hosts.

  3. Health Monitoring
  4. CloudWatch Metrics for WorkSpaces gives an insight to the overall health and connection status of all WorkSpaces. This can be per Desktop or aggregated for all WorkSpaces within a Directory. Apart from the default metrics, you can also enable additional metrics.

  5. Cost Optimization
  6. AWS WorkSpaces billing is based on usage and there are 2 options to choose by default.

    • AlwaysOn – This is the best option when you are a monthly billing mode, and your usage is typically around 6 to 9 hours a day.
    • AutoStop – This is the ideal option when you are on hourly billing. You can have the WorkSpaces stop after a specified time of inactivity which stops the billing.

One of the best practices is to monitor the usage of the WorkSpaces running mode using Amazon WorkSpaces Cost Optimizer. This solution uses an Amazon CloudWatch event that invokes an AWS Lambda function every 24 hours. This can then convert your WorkSpaces to the most cost-effective model from the next billing cycle. (Hourly to Monthly or Monthly to Hourly) based on your usage pattern.


WorkSpaces provisioning can be automated using your existing ITSM platforms like ServiceNow, Jira, ServiceDesk or Freshservice. There are existing connectors like AWS Service Management Connector and RLCatalyst Service Management Connector providing end to end automation.

AWS Products Used

Relevance Lab is a specalist AWS partner for Desktop as a Service using AWS Workspaces. It has implemented Workspaces with its pre-integrated, secured and matured solutions for its clients using their existing ITSM tools. This has helped customers for a faster adoption of cloud and promoted the cost optimization journey. Relevance Lab’s DaaS solution offering starts with an assessment questionnaire that can help your organizations understand the need to migrate to a secured, scalable and matured solution. Based on the assessment scorecard, we recommend the right solution based on automation, security, governance and compliance model.

This blog refers to the standard Desktop as a Service using AWS Workspaces. In more advanced scenario’s adoption of DaaS also involves additional steps like Storage, Log Monitoring, Security Analytics (SIEM, SOAR), Mail and Office suite options, Container Deployment and Application security signing which will be covered in a separate blog.

For more details or for the assessment questionnaire please reach out to