If you have a lot of cloud storage to manage, but need help doing so, then you should look into buying a cloud management platform, or CMP. Since CMPs are fairly new to the digital market, you might not be sure exactly what to look for in one. Here are some tips to read up on before purchasing your first CMP.
1. Understand laaS
While it doesn’t take that much skill to learn how to manage your own cloud, a little reading and practice helps. When most organizations start off using a CMP, they usually begin with a SaaS. Known as Software as a Service, these are programs such as Office 365 which make cloud management almost automatic.
However, once you get the hang of things, it’s better to invest in an IaaS, which stands for Infrastructure as a Service. For this, you’ll need a little more experience, but the overall results will be much better than an SaaS. For managing a large hybrid cloud environment, it’s definitely the way to go.
Now that you know IaaS is the type of CMP you’ll be looking into when you make your purchase, let’s move on to the next tip.
2. Know the Options
There are two basic options when it comes to cloud management software. They are cloud providers’ native tools, and third-party CMPs. The way to understand the first is that some CMPs have native, or their own tools for managing the clouds they are set out to take care of. For example, Amazon has its own tools called CloudTrail, which provide the user with an array of options to manage his or her cloud storage.
The second option, third-party CMPs, also known as Cloud Brokerage Services, allow the user a little more flexibility and control when it comes to managing his or her cloud. They are not tied specifically to one IaaS platform. Examples are products like Microsoft’s Operation Management Suite and IBM’s CloudMatrix. This is better for managing multiple environments, whereas a cloud provider’s native tools is better for managing organizations that use a single vendor.
3. Know What Yours Should Include
Though the CMP market is roughly new, it’s a broad one. There’s so much to choose from. Here are a few categories of things you should be looking for on your new CMP.
Cloud management and brokerage of services: This tool utilizes all kinds of resources to manage multiple providers.
Expense management: This software analyzes how much your company is spending on cloud services and compares it to historical averages. It also helps you figure out which tools are not really helping you, so you can get rid of them and save more money.
Operational monitoring: This helps you to monitor who is accessing the cloud, how often, and for what purpose. It monitors your resources and compares them to previous dates, and lets you know how you’re doing.
Governance: Cloud Access Security Brokers, which you’ll find in this category of tools, control which users can access resources within the cloud.
You want to make sure that the cloud management software you’re buying has a good quality mix of these various tools.
4. The Market is Still Young
Because the cloud management software notion is still a relatively new one, most vendors tend to focus on a specific niche or tool to cater to their customers. So, one software might have more usability in the governance category than it does in the expense management category, or vice versa. According to Gartner Research Director Mindy Cancila, “None of the tools do all four of those things across all providers.” To compensate, people are choosing native tools, and filling in the gaps on their own. In the meantime, CMP providers are trying to increase the functionality of their platforms.
Take all these tips into consideration before buying your first Cloud Management Software.