Take back control of your tags with Tailwarden - Part 2

Don't confine yourself to unrealistically strict cloud tagging standards. Instead, focus on remediating swiftly, efficiently, and all in one place.

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In part 1 we explored the importance of having a clear understanding of where your tagging strategy stands at a given point in time. Is it well enforced? Is it additive to your overall cloud management efforts? We looked at how leveraging Tailwarden features like the tags audit and using inventory filters can open up a first window into the current cloud tagging implementation. In this blog post, we will build on those features and talk about the next phase of the tagging execution strategy. Remediation.

Remediate or start from scratch?

In an ideal world, you would rarely be held down by constraints and could start projects from a clean slate. 100% of your time would be spent on writing new code, and new strategies and processes would never have to fight for priority over legacy ways of doing things. Unfortunately though, as many developers and engineers have noticed when joining a new organization, apart from all the fun work, a non-trivial amount of time goes into maintaining already existing code and infrastructure, it’s just the way things are. If you’re lucky, the original developers had maintainability and code longevity in mind, if not, my sincere condolences.

Applicable also to cloud resource tagging strategies, even though, in many cases, it would be desirable from an implementation point of view to start fresh and adopt a brand new approach, this is not always feasible. And since the main aim of this blog post series is to give practical advice applicable to real-world use cases, I feel it’s more appropriate to focus on remediation over scraping your current tagging strategy and starting over. In many cases, the sheer size of enterprise production environments would involve prohibitive amounts of resources, becoming incredibly expensive and a decision the C-Suite is not likely to go for.

Pass me the salt

Cloud engineers, SREs, and FinOps practitioners, regardless of the role, have a series of objectives. Control costs, security concerns, compliance, etc. None easy tasks, especially if your environment spans multiple cloud accounts or providers. By default, cloud providers don’t offer native features to enable cloud tag unification across cloud providers.

At a recent Tailwarden virtual meetup, Alex Jones brought up an interesting analogy that draws parallels between multi-cloud environments and tables in a restaurant. In this analogy, each cloud platform is likened to a unique table, complete with unique tablecloths and salt shakers. The challenge arises when there is a desire to share resources, represented by the salt shakers, among these disparate tables.

To address this challenge, an abstraction is needed, and Tailwarden serves as that unifying layer. Picture each cloud table being brought a bit closer together, and a larger cloth, symbolizing Tailwarden, is draped over both tables. This larger cloth effectively covers and connects the individual tables, allowing for seamless resource sharing and tag unification. Tailwarden acts as a bridge, offering a common interface that spans multiple cloud platforms and simplifies the complexities associated with managing a multi-cloud environment.

Business units, squads, and internal services don’t always fit neatly into provider-segregated buckets. This being the case it’s essential to have a management layer combined with a comprehensive cloud tagging strategy that acts as the ultimate control panel. So many multi-cloud management tasks are made easier by having this level of abstraction. But how can we tie these different cloud providers together and create a unified organizational view? By using virtual tags.

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Implement Virtual Tags

Virtual tags are the Tailwarden layer key/value pair that can be easily attached to cloud resources to bridge the gap between cloud providers and to quickly rescue resources that appear to be untracked and unaccounted for.

Easily add missing critical tags.

In situations where the existing tagging implementation isn't necessarily broken but rather incomplete, virtual tags become a valuable tool for filling in the gaps and patching resources that require tracking. While Tailwarden recognizes two types of tags, provider and virtual, when filtering resources by tags, it takes all tags into account.

Adding virtual tags
Virtual tags will not show up in the target cloud provider so as a manager of your cloud resources you are free to make logical groupings without worrying about interfering with conflicting with tags created by other stakeholders.

Add cross-provider tags

Virtual tags empower you to construct an interconnected tapestry that aligns with your business units, squads, and overall service architecture. When dealing with a service that spans multiple accounts or cloud providers, maintaining visibility over all pertinent resources has never been more accessible and straightforward.

Virtual tags applied to resource in multiple cloud providers

Routinely Reference The Tags Audit

Treat the tags audit widget as the source of truth of your current tags implementation. Be it Virtual or Provider-level tags, easily spot inconsistencies, duplicates, or non-compliant tags. The feature makes it easy to click and zero into the resource to quickly find it inside the cloud provider itself.

Analyze cloud tags

Recommended workflow:

  • Tag your resources in the cloud provider or on Tailwarden using Virtual tags
  • Check the Tags Audit widget to see the current state of your cloud tags
  • Access resources with the same tags applied by clicking on the tags
  • Need to update a resource? Easily access the cloud provider through Tailwarden

Access The Cloud Provider Console In Just One Click

Remediation is preferable over starting from scratch only if it is quicker and easier to execute. It’s crucial that very few obstacles stand in your way from the time to spot an inconsistency to the time it takes to address it. Tailwarden facilitates this process through the resource details view, offering a direct link to the resource in the cloud provider. This enables you to promptly update tags, address naming inconsistencies, or take any other necessary actions directly on the resource.

One click cloud provider access

Don't delay obtaining key insights into your environment waiting for the perfect tagging strategy. Take swift action by updating your cloud resource tags directly on Tailwarden using both provider and virtual tags. Ensure all your business units, squads, services, and environments are thoroughly represented through tags and easily filterable.

Regardless of how long it takes to remediate your current situation, once you've established the desired tags, it's crucial to maintain consistency. But how can you effortlessly monitor and ensure your cloud tags remain in compliance? This topic will be explored in the final installment of this tagging blog post series.

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