One of the many things that make the cloud an attractive option for companies is that there are hundreds of choices when it comes to service providers. You can easily choose one service provider for your database and then add software as a service package for several other providers.
Multi-cloud is not the same as a hybrid cloud where you combine public and private cloud environments. Multi-cloud is where you have several service providers.
According to IBM, a good majority or about 85 percent of businesses now have a multi-cloud environment. More companies are now using cloud resources and services from a variety of providers. IBM estimates that this number is going to increase to 98 percent within just three years, through 2022.
Wouldn’t that be difficult to manage?
Yes, it will be. But most companies are also using anywhere from two to fifteen hybrid clouds.
Plus, around 59 percent of these companies do not have a multi-cloud strategy. What does it mean? Close to six out of every 10 companies start managing a totally different cloud service or tool when it’s added.
These scenarios can easily lead to two other problems:
- shadow IT and
- cloud sprawl.
Shadow IT involves unauthorized cloud services used by your employees. This means that your organization might be more multi-cloud than you think.
On the other hand, cloud sprawl is when you adopt cloud services quickly and without much scrutiny, which opens your entire organization to security flaws and issues.
Thankfully, you have cloud management platforms that can help you.
What is a cloud management platform?
A cloud management platform is pretty true to its name. It’s a set of integrated tools and software that you can use to control and monitor your cloud resources.
While it can be used for any cloud deployments, cloud management platforms are, more often than not, used in multi-cloud environments. It enables one centralized control for different providers.
What can you expect from it?
- For one, you get service management tools that allow your IT to monitor cloud services. These tools help you plan for the right capacity, deploy workloads, and make sure that you meet performance and availability requirements.
- You also have resource management tools that help you manage cloud resources such as networks, storage, and virtual machines. These tools can help with tagging, resource discovery, automation, orchestration, and provisioning.
- Cloud management platform can also help you to automatically monitor and allocate spending to specific departments or users. These financial management tools also allow you to generate chargeback reports as well as estimate future costs.
- Furthermore, you have tools that allow you to create and established policy-based controls, as well as security. You can use a cloud management platform to secure your resources and files, using identity and access management, encryption, and others.
- You also get other services such as self-service, analytics, and reporting features.
Multi-cloud systems and cloud management platforms
Cloud management platforms will be very crucial to multi-cloud systems. In fact, you can liken it to a beating heart, which pumps blood to the rest of your body.
These platforms will allow businesses like yours to provision cloud resources faster while making it easier to manage at the same time. It can also help in uncovering shadow IT, prevent cloud sprawl, and keeping costs down.
But it’s not only businesses that need cloud management platforms. Partners, such as Microsoft and VMware, are also seeing the benefits in these platforms, and have recently acquired Cloudyn and Cloudhealth, respectively.
In announcing the deal between Microsoft and Cloudyn, Jeremy Winter said that the acquisition would help Azure customers manage and make the most out of their cloud usage.
Winter also elaborates on the challenges that enterprises have when faced with multiple cloud systems. As businesses get more cloud services, it can be difficult to get visibility and monitor costs of their projects.
Optimizing investments and determining usage in the future can also be challenging.
This is why cloud management platforms are needed.
How cloud management platforms can help you stop cloud sprawl
According to fnts, one of the things that you can do to fight cloud sprawl is to conduct regular cloud audits where you can see all applications, virtual machine instances, storage, compute, security, and other resources you have. You should also be able create a cloud policy and automatically implement them.
A cloud management platform can do both. These tools can automate management policies and even find resources for you.
Examples of cloud management platforms
Cloud management platforms may be specific to a certain provider or it may come from a third-party. Aside from VMware and Microsoft, some of the most popular include:
- Embotics vCommander
- Morpheus Data
- Micro Focus
- vRealize Suite
- IBM Cloud Orchestrator
- Cisco CloudCenter
- Red Hat CloudForms
- HPE OneSphere
- BMC Cloud Lifecycle Management
Why should you pay attention to cloud management platforms?
If you are serious about managing your cloud resources, services, and providers, then an easy way to do that is to get the right cloud management platform for your business.
But how do you know that this isn’t just any faddish suite of tools? For one, Gartner has come out with a Magic Quadrant for cloud management platforms.
While the report focused on ranking different service providers, it signals that cloud management platforms are now getting recognized.
Oracle has also taken notice of cloud management platforms. Oracle’s strategic alliances director Stuart Bulley declared so in: Oracle sees the market shift and is committed to helping providers of cloud management platform, as well as multi-cloud specialists.
However, even if Gartner and Oracle haven’t taken notice, these cloud management platforms can help you tremendously in simplifying your cloud environments. Managing cloud resources from one vendor is complicated enough, what more having tools coming from different providers.
The fact that cloud management platforms is looking to be important to the future of multi-cloud environments is just a bonus.
Photo courtesy of Blue Coat Photos.