What are PyraCloud Recommendations?
The Recommendations module in PyraCloud is a set of functionalities that facilitate intelligent recommendations and suggestions to optimise, streamline and improve your software environment, be that on premise or the cloud.
Watch our short 2-minute video that walks you through PyraCloud Recommendations and how you can take advantage of these.
The Recommendations module offers recommendations from a variety of sources for e.g. Azure Advisor as well as integrating with SoftwareONE Services to provide bespoke and tailored recommendations that optimise a customer’s software environment.
Additionally, the Recommendations module provides capabilities to track metrics such as realised savings and completed recommendations for example, so these can be further used to track, manage and report on savings opportunities and other key success metrics as well as justify return on investment.
How to Access Recommendations
You can access Recommendations a couple of ways:
Through Dashboards – The Recommendations tile is available as part of both the ‘Software Asset Management’ and ‘Cloud’ dashboard templates. The tiles on these dashboards will navigate you to the appropriate section within the Recommendations module.
For example, clicking on the SLM Recommendations tile in the Software Asset Management Dashboard will navigate you to the Software Lifecycle Management Recommendations. In the Cloud Dashboard, clicking on the Azure Recommendations tile will navigate you to the Azure tab and clicking on AWS Recommendations tile will navigate you to the AWS tab within the Recommendations module.
Below is an example of the SLM Recommendations tile under the Software Asset Management dashboard template:
Below are example of Azure and AWS Recommendation tiles in the Cloud dashboard template:
Through the Menu Item – In the main PyraCloud navigation menu, click on Analyze and then select Recommendations as shown below:
SLM Dashboard Recommendations Tile
The Software Asset Management Dashboard includes the SLM Recommendations tile as part of the template.
|1||SLM Recommendations||This tile provides an overview of recommendations under Software Asset Management. This tile displays key metrics such as:|
Cloud Dashboard Recommendations Tiles
The Cloud dashboard includes the Azure and AWS Recommendations Tiles as part of the pre-defined template.
|1||Azure/AWS Recommendations||This tile provides an overview of recommendations under Cloud Management. This tile displays key metrics such as:|
The Recommendations module comes equipped with multiple views to help you understand and visualise recommendations in various ways. The Summary tab is an analytics-based view that helps you understand how recommendations are associated with various parts of your infrastructure and how they are tracked i.e. potential or completed.
The Summary View is presented through two charts, the Dimension Pie Chart on the right and the Status Bar Chart to the left.
Dimension Pie Chart
The Dimension Pie Chart enables you to understand how recommendations are distributed across dimensions like Provider, Category (Savings, Security, etc), Subscription and Recommendation Type. These options are cumulative which means that you can cumulatively filter across the dimensions (using the drop-down).
Status Bar Chart
The Status Bar Chart enables you to track visualised recommendations across the three status types:
- Active – Recommendations that could be potentially actioned.
- Realised – Recommendations that have been completed.
- Unrealised – Recommendations that have been dismissed.
These two charts interact with each other as you figure out where optimisation opportunities lie, and prioritize which areas you would like to target first.
Operations on the Summary View:
- Filter by clicking on the pie or the bar – Users can interact with the charts by clicking on the pie or bar in question. For e.g. users clicking on the AWS pie will filter recommendations from the AWS provider. The Status bar-chart will also refresh accordingly.
- Filter by clicking on the legend – Users can also filter by clicking on legends at the bottom of the chart. They behave exactly like clicking on the controls as above.
- Filter by using the context menu – Users can also filter by using the context-menu and right clicking on the bar or pie-chart and selecting ‘Filter‘. See below:
- Show Recommendations – Users can choose to view the recommendations for a filtered data set within the Summary View by either:
- Using ‘Show Recommendations’ from the context menu (see above image). This is available on both the pie and bar charts.
The Recommendations module provides recommendations for on premise and cloud environments. All recommendations come with a set of capabilities offered as part of the Recommendations platform. Some of these are:
- Ability to track unread, updated or expiring recommendations.
- Ability to collaborate with your peers and SoftwareONE services through messaging and mentions.
- Ability to upload and retrieve documents or other recommendation-related collateral through attachments.
- Ability to track progress of every recommendation along with notes at every stage of the recommendation.
Let us look at these features in detail –
Unread, Updated and Expiring Recommendations
These three recommendation status flags operate at the tenant level and not at the user level. This means that these flags will be the same across all end-users for a tenant. For e.g. if a recommendation is unread for User A from Tenant T, then that recommendation will show up as unread for User B from Tenant T too.
Unread Recommendations – When a recommendation newly enters the system then it is unread by design until viewed. This means until the user navigates to the recommendation details page by clicking on the recommendation, the recommendation will show up as Unread. The Dashboard Recommendation tiles show the total number of unread recommendations as the Unread Count. Unread recommendations are marked as in the figure below.
Updated Recommendations – This flag is more relevant for recommendations that are being worked upon as part of a SoftwareONE managed services engagement. If a recommendation has been updated by a SoftwareONE services consultant (a BackOffice user) for e.g. if a new document has been added or a message has been posted to the recommendation or details edited, then the recommendation will be marked with an updated flag to communicate to an end-user that there has been an update on the recommendation. Updated recommendations are marked as in the figure below.
Expiring Recommendations – A recommendation is marked with this flag if the recommendation is set to expire within the next month. This interval is not configurable at the moment. Expiring recommendations are marked as in the figure below.
End-users can collaborate on recommendations with messaging features by clicking on a Recommendation from the grid and then navigating to the Messages tab.
The messaging feature allows stakeholders to participate in a conversation, so multiple collaborators can keep on top of recommendations and their progress. Through the use of the ‘mentions’ feature, users can tag their peers or SoftwareONE services consultants to bring items, to-do lists or issues to their attention.
This is available by typing ‘@’ and then typing the user’s first/last name, before a dropdown arrives to aid in selection. When a user is mentioned in a conversation, then an email is sent to the mentioned user as a notification. These email notifications cannot be turned off.
The Attachments feature allows users to upload documents to a recommendation that can be retrieved for future use. This is available on the Recommendation Details page above the tabbed pane, as in figure below.
Every recommendation can be tracked through its lifecycle with the progress log functionality that can be used to record both progress and notes. End-users can track progress by navigating to the progress log, and add an activity and progress for the recommendation. Adding progress is optional, but adding the activity note is mandatory.
Marking a Recommendation as Complete
All recommendations can be marked as complete from the Recommendation Details page when completed.
When marking a recommendation as complete, user will be asked to provide a completion note (mandatory), and realised savings if the recommendation was of Category ‘Savings’. Once a recommendation has been completed, it is moved from the Active tab on the main page to the Realised tab, and the realised savings from the recommendation are reflected on the Savings tile on the main page.
Dismissing a Recommendation
If a recommendation is not planned to be actioned on, you can dismiss the recommendation. Dismissing or ignoring a recommendation means savings from the tile can be excluded from the total savings potential, and noise can be eliminated.
You can dismiss a recommendation from the Recommendation Details page by clicking on ‘Dismiss’. While dismissing a recommendation, users are asked to provide a reason for the dismissal.
Assigning a Recommendation to an Owner
A recommendation can be assigned to an owner for project tracking purposes. When an owner is assigned to a recommendation, then the owner is sent an email informing him/her that they have been assigned as a recommendation owner. You can assign an owner by editing the recommendation and selecting an owner.
Software Lifecycle Management (SLM) Recommendations are recommendations that are categorised under the following Categories:
- Savings – These recommendations when actioned can enable cost savings.
- Risk – These recommendations help mitigate compliance risk for licenses that seem to come from a non-compliance position.
Software Lifecycle Management Tab
The Software Lifecycle Management tab displays two tiles at the top of the tab that track these two key metrics – Savings and Risk. Both tiles show the potential, realised and unrealised amounts, so you can track their compliance risk posture and savings opportunities at a high-level.
PyraCloud offers recommendations to streamline, optimise and right size cloud environments based on Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services cloud environments.
You will see the appropriate tab(s) for each of these providers if they are configured in the PyraCloud environment. For e.g. if a tenant has been configured for Cloud Spend Management for both AWS and Azure, then you will see four tabs on the Recommendations system – Summary, All, Azure and AWS. If a tenant has only been configured for a provider, then you will see two tabs – Summary and a tab for the provider configured i.e. Azure or AWS.
As mentioned above, the All tab will only be visible if the tenant has been configured with more than one Recommendation Providers i.e. SAM, Azure and AWS.
The All tab aggregates recommendations from the different providers configured. For example, if a tenant has been configured for both Azure and AWS, then the All tab will show recommendations from both providers. This allows you to visualise all opportunities for your organization, be that savings or risk mitigation opportunities, all in one place. You can filter to optimize opportunities by resource tag i.e. business unit / cost center etc across all providers (Azure and AWS) in one place.
All recommendations for Microsoft Azure sit under the Azure tab. This tab displays five tiles at the top. These are:
|1.||Azure Sync Health||This tile provides a status on the sync integration between SAMSimple and PyraCloud. Status values are:|
A tooltip on hover will mention the date of the last successful sync.
|2.||Savings||Provides summary of the total savings opportunity across your Azure environment. A progress bar on the tile shows realised savings compared to the total potential savings on the tile. A tooltip on hover shows a breakdown of savings across the Potential, Realised and Unrealised buckets.|
|3.||Security||Provides the total number of active security recommendations in the system.|
|4.||High Availability||Provides the total number of active high-availability recommendations in the system|
|5.||Performance||Provides the total number of active performance recommendations in the system.|
Below shows a screenshot of the Azure tab:
Recommendation Types for Azure Recommendations
All Azure Recommendations have a Cloud Recommendation Type. For recommendations recommended by Azure, some examples of recommendation types are:
- Buy reserved instances
- Shutdown or resize your virtual machine
- Security Center Recommendations
- Enable Soft Delete
- Enable Backup etc.
Advanced Filters for Azure Recommendations
Azure Recommendations can be filtered by a set of advanced criteria like:
- Category – Possible options are Savings, Security, High Availability and Performance.
- Provider – Possible options are Software Asset Management, Azure.
- Cloud Recommendation Type – as mentioned in section ‘Recommendation Type for Azure Recommendations’.
- Severity – Possible options are High, Medium and Low Impact.
- Resource Name – This is the name of the resource that is associated to the recommendation.
- Resource Group – This is the name of the resource group that the resource associated to the recommendation is a part of.
- Subscription Name – This is the name of the subscription that the resource associated to the recommendation is a part of.
- Resource Tags – These are tags that the resource associated to the recommendation is tagged with.
- Recommended by – Possible options are Azure or SoftwareONE (in case of services-fed recommendations)
Associating Recommendations with Resources
All Azure recommendations that have been Recommended by ‘Azure’ (and not by SoftwareONE services), are automatically associated with resources whether they are virtual machines, storage accounts, databases etc.
For e.g. Recommendations of type ‘SQL DB Advisor recommendations’ are associated with SQL databases that need to be acted on.
The association from a recommendation to a related PyraCloud resource is available in the Related Resources tab on the Recommendation Details page.
PyraCloud provides Recommended Actions for Azure Recommendations. These are actions that need to be performed in order to complete a recommendation.
For e.g. Actions for SQL DB Advisor Recommendations may look like this:
Actions navigate users to the necessary operations with Microsoft Azure.
Completion of Azure Recommendations
PyraCloud can detect the completion of Recommendations in Microsoft Azure. When a recommendation is detected as being completed on Azure, the status on that recommendation will automatically be set to Completed, and the potential savings amount on the recommendations will be set to Realised. When this happens, the recommendation will be moved from the Active tab to the Realised tab, and the realised savings from the recommendation will start to reflect on the Savings tile on the Azure tab.
All recommendations for Amazon Web Services sit under the AWS tab.
The AWS tab displays six tiles at the top. These are:
|1.||Sync Health||This tile provides a status on the sync integration between AWS and PyraCloud. Status values are:|
A tooltip on hover will mention the date of the last successful sync.
|2.||Sync Source||This tile provides sync status for the two AWS sources PyraCloud pulls data from i.e. AWS Trusted Advisor and AWS Cost Explorer. Please see section – AWS Recommendation Sync Sources for more information on these sources.|
AWS Trusted Advisor – Shows a green tick symbol if all accounts have the right AWS support plan required, else shows a warning symbol.
AWS Cost Explorer – Shows a green symbol if all accounts are configured within PyraCloud to download data from AWS Cost Explorer, else shows a warning symbol.
|3.||Savings||Provides summary of the total savings opportunity across your AWS environment. A progress bar on the tile shows realised as compared to the total potential savings on the tile. A tooltip on hover shows a breakdown of savings across the Potential, Realised and Unrealised buckets.|
|4.||Security||Provides the total number of active security recommendations in the system.|
|5.||High Availability||Provides the total number of active high-availability recommendations in the system.|
|6.||Performance||Provides the total number of active performance recommendations in the system.|
The below screenshot shows the AWS tab:
AWS Recommendation Sync Sources
There are two recommendation sources within AWS that PyraCloud pulls recommendation data from. These are AWS Trusted Advisor and AWS Cost Explorer.
AWS Trusted Advisor
AWS Trusted Advisor is a source for recommendation data within AWS, that is available for any environment that is configured with the correct AWS Support Plan i.e Business or Enterprise. AWS Trusted Advisor provides information for various recommendation categories for e.g. Savings, Security, Performance, High Availability, Service Limits etc.
AWS Cost Explorer
AWS Cost Explorer is a source for recommendation data within AWS, that is available to any environment that has Cost Explorer turned on within AWS. PyraCloud is able to fetch Reservation-based recommendations from the Cost Explorer if Cost Explorer is enabled within AWS. These reservation-based recommendations are Reserved Instance (RI) purchase recommendations that could help you reduce your costs.
Please see below section – Troubleshooting synchronization with AWS Trusted Advisor and AWS Cost Explorer, for detailed instructions to troubleshoot / configure.
How do I turn off Cost Explorer recommendations?
Cost Explorer recommendations provide reserved instance purchase recommendations for Amazon EC2, Redshift, RDS etc. Turning off these recommendations will mean that you do not have access to these savings-based recommendations. In order to turn off Cost Explorer, this needs to be done at an AWS account level. There is no option to turn Cost Explorer for all AWS accounts in one go.
Troubleshooting synchronization with AWS Trusted Advisor and AWS Cost Explorer
These are the scenarios you could encounter when you access AWS Recommendations –
1. AWS Trusted Advisor and AWS Cost Explorer both show a green tick on the Sync Source tile within the AWS Recommendations tab.
- For AWS Trusted Advisor, this means that all AWS accounts have the right AWS Support plan to download from AWS Trusted Advisor.
- For AWS Cost Explorer, this means that all accounts are enabled within PyraCloud to download from AWS Cost Explorer.
2. AWS Trusted Advisor shows a warning symbol on the Sync Source tile within the AWS Recommendations tab.
- For AWS Trusted Advisor, this means that some or all AWS accounts do not have the right AWS Support plan to download from AWS Trusted Advisor. When clicked on the Sync Source tile, a modal is displayed that shows the account names do not have the right AWS Support plan required. In order to resolve this, please upgrade the support plan on these AWS accounts to AWS Business or AWS Enterprise.
3. AWS Cost Explorer shows a warning symbol on the Sync Source tile within the AWS Recommendations tab.
For AWS Cost Explorer, this means that some or all AWS accounts are not enabled within PyraCloud to download from AWS Cost Explorer. When clicked on the Sync Source tile, a modal is displayed that shows the account names that are not configured i.e. enabled within PyraCloud. In order to resolve this, clicking on each Account name will navigate the user to the appropriate AWS account within Cloud tenant Setup, where you need to disable the configuration.
4. A banner is shown on the recommendations page requesting re-onboarding of AWS account(s)
This means that some or all AWS accounts do not have the right permissions within PyraCloud to download from AWS Cost Explorer. This banner mentions the number of accounts that are missing permission. In order to see which accounts lack permission, please click on the Sync Health tile (This is the first tile from the left which also shows an error symbol like the banner), which will detail which accounts do not have the right permissions.
This article details what permissions are required, and instructions to re-onboard the account(s).
Office365 recommendations are recommendations from SoftwareONE that you can take advantage of. These recommendations will be populated by your SoftwareONE Services Account team, so you can make the best use of your Office 365 environment.
Watch our short 2-minute video below to learn more.
The Office365 tab displays five tiles at the top. These are:
|1.||Savings||Provides summary of the total savings opportunity across your Office365 environment. A progress bar on the tile shows realised as compared to the total potential savings on the tile. A tooltip on hover shows a breakdown of savings across the Potential, Realised and Unrealised buckets.|
|2.||Security||Provides the total number of active security recommendations in the system.|
|3.||Infrastructure Hygiene||Provides the total number of active recommendations around Infrastructure Hygiene in the system.|
|4.||New Feature / Update||Provides the total number of active recommendations around new Office 365 Features.|
|5.||Other||Provides the total number of recommendations around any other category not covered by the ones above.|
Below shows a screenshot of the Office365 tab:
Recommendation Types for Office 365 Recommendations
All Office 365 Recommendations have a Cloud Recommendation Type. Some examples of recommendation types are:
- License Cleanup & Reconciliation (Category – Savings)
- Shared Mailbox Size – Mailbox approaching 50GB (Category – Savings)
- SecureScore Recommendation – Device (Category – Security)
- SecureScore Recommendation – Apps (Category – Security)
- SecureScore Recommendation – Identity (Category – Security)
- SecureScore Recommendation – Data (Category – Security)
- Email Forwarding (Category – Security)
- Empty Groups (Category – Infrastructure Hygiene)
- Inactive Distribution Groups (Category – Infrastructure Hygiene)
- Inactive Mail Recipients (Category – Infrastructure Hygiene)
- Email Archive (Category – Infrastructure Hygiene)
Advanced Filters for Office365 Recommendations
Office 365 Recommendations can be filtered by a set of advanced criteria like:
- Category – Possible options are Savings, Security, Infrastructure Hygiene, New Feature/Update and Other.
- Provider – Possible options are Software Asset Management, Azure, AWS, Office365.
- Cloud Recommendation Type – as mentioned in section ‘Recommendation Type for Office 365 Recommendations’.
- Severity – Possible options are High, Medium and Low Impact.
- Subscription Name – This is the name of the subscription that the recommendation applies to.
- Alert – These are alert status associated with the Recommendation such as Unread, Updated and Expires soon. Please see section ‘Unread, Updated and Expiring Recommendations’ above for more detail on these alert types.
- Owner – This is the name of the person to whom the recommendation can be assigned. Recommendation can be assigned to a member of the SoftwareONE Consultant team working with the customer, or any user within the customer for better tracking and management of the recommendation.